Imágenes de página

only, not been ashamed to publish what a severer in. quiry has suggested. It is not impossible but that some may think my former notions right, and some (as I have already found) these latter, and some neither. I shall not at all wonder at this variety in men's opi. nions ; impartial deductions of reason in controverted points being so rare, and exact ones in abstract notions not so very easy, especially if of any length. And therefore I should think myself not a little beholden to any one, who would upon these, or any other grounds, fairly clear this subject of liberty from any difficulties that may yet remain.

Before I close this chapter, it may perhaps be to our purpose, and help to give us clearer conceptions about power, if we make our thoughts take a little more exact survey of action. I have said above, that we have ideas but of two sorts of action, viz. motion and thinking. These, in truth, though called and counted actions, yet if nearly considered, will not be found to be always perfectly so. For, if I mistake not, there are instances of both kinds, which, upon due consideration, will be found rather passions than actions, and consequently so far the effects barely of passive powers in those subjects, which yet on their accounts are thought agents. For in these instances, the substance that hath motion or thought receives the im ! pression, where it is put into that action purely from without, and so acts merely by the capacity it has to receive such an impression from some external agent; and such a power is not properly an active power, but ca a inere passive capacity in the subject. Sometimes the substance or agent puts itself into action by its own power; and this is properly active power. Whatsoever inodification a substance has, whereby ir produces any effect, that is called action; v. g. a solid substance by motion operates on, or alters the sensible ideas of ano-10 ther substance; and therefore this modification of mountain tion we call action. But yet this motion in that solid POI substance is, when rightly considered, but a passion. se if it received it only from some external agents that the active power of motion is in no substance

which engi

which cannot begin motion in itself, or in another substance, when at rest. So likewise in thinking, a power to receive ideas or thoughts, from the operation of any external substance, is called a power of thinking: but this is but a passive power, or capacity. But to be able to bring into view ideas out of sight at one's own choice, and to compare which of them one thinks fit, this is an active power. This reflection may be of somie use to preserve us from mistakes about powers and actions, which grammar and the common frame of languages may be apt to lead us into; since what is signified by verbs that grammarians call active, does not always signify action : v. g. this proposition, I see the moon, or a star, or I feel the heat of the sun, though expressed by a verb active, does not signify any action in me, whereby I operate on those substances; but the reception of the ideas of light, roundness and heat, wherein I am not active, but barely passive, and cannot in that position of my eyes, or body, avoid receiving them. But when I turn my eyes another way, or remove my body out of the sun. beams, I am properly active; because of my own

choice, by a power within myself, I put myself into that o motion. Such an action is the product of active power.

. 73. And thus I have, in a short draught, given a view of our original ideas, from whence all the rest

are derived, and of which they are made up; which po so if I would consider, as a philosopher, and examine on

on what causes they depend, and of what they are made, e pop I believe they all might be reduced to these very few ODBL primary and original ones, viz. Extension, Solidity, og Mobility, or the power of being moved; which by our

senses we receive from body; Perceptivity, or the protein power of perception, or thinking; Motivity, or the have power of moving; which by reflection we receive from side our minds. I crave leave to make use of these two Campionate new words, to avoid the danger of being mistaken in in the use of those which are equivocal. To which if we to add Existence, Duration, Number; which belong

both to the one and the other; we have, perhaps, all

the original ideas, on which the rest depend. For by .VOL. I.

these, these, I imagine, might be explained the nature of colours, sounds, tastes, smells, and all other ideas we have, if we had but faculties acute enough to perceive the severally modified extensions and motions of these minuté bodies, which produce those several sensations in us. But my present purpose being only to inquire into the knowledge the mind has of things, by those ideas and appearances, which God has fitted iť to receive from them, and how the mind comes bg that knowledge, rather than into their causes, or man ner of production; I shall not, contrary to the design of this essay, set myself to inquire philosophically into the peculiar constitution of bodies, and the configuration of parts, whereby they have the power to produce in us the ideas of their sensible qualities : I shall not enter any farther into that disquisition, it suficing to my purpose 'to observe, that gold or saffron has & power to produce in us the idea of yellow, and snow or milk the idea of white, which we can only have by our sight, without examining the texture of the parts of those bodies, or the particular figures or motion of the particles which rebound from them, to cause in us that particular sensation : though when we go beyond the bare ideas in our minds, and would inquire into their causes, we cannot conceive any thing else to be in any sensible object, whereby it produces differeat ideas in us; but the different bulk, figure, number, texture, and motion of its insensible parts.


Of mixed Modes.

Mixed modes, - 5. 1. H AVING treated of simple what.

11 modes in the foregoing chap

ters, and given several instances of some of the most considerable of them, to show what they allery are, and how we come by them; we are now in the next place to consider those we call mixed modes : slek


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


are the complex ideas we mark by the names Obligation, Drunkenness, a Lye, &c. which consisting of several combinations of simple ideas of different kinds, I have called mixed modes, to distinguish them from the more simple modes, which consist only of simple ideas of the saine kind. These mixed modes being also such combinations of simple ideas, as are not looked upon to be characteristical marks of any real beings that have a steady existence, but scattered and independent ideas put together by the mind, are thereby distinguished from the complex ideas of substances.

§. 2. That the mind, in respect of its simple ideas, is wholly passive, and receives

and receives Made by the

mind. er of them all from the existence and operations

of things, such as sensation or reflection offers them, without being able to make any one idea, experience shows us : but if we attentively consider these ideas I

call mixed modes, we are now speaking of, we shall find mily like their original quite different. The mind often exercises

an active power in making these several combinations :
for it being once furnished with simple ideas, it can
put them together in several compositions, and so
make variety of complex ideas, without examining
Whether they exist so together in nature. And hence
I think it is that these ideas are called notions, as if
they had their original and constant existence more in
the thoughts of men, than in the reality of things; and
to form such ideas, it sufficed, that the mind puts the
parts of them together, and that they were consistent in
the understanding, without considering whether they
had any real being : though I do not deny, but several
of them might be taken from observation, and the ex-
istence of several simple ideas so combined, as they are
pui together in the understanding. For the man who
first framed the idea of hypocrisy, might have either
taken it at first from the observation of one, who made
show of good qualities which he had not, or else have.
framed that idea in his mind, without having any such
pattern to fashion it by: for it is evident, that in the

beginning of languages and societies of men, several of se pare those coinplex ideas, which were consequent to the con

T 2


of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ed old

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

stitutions established amongst them, must needs have been in the minds of men, before they existed any where else: and that many names that stood for such complex ideas were in use, and so those ideas framed, before the combinations they stood for ever existed. Sometimes

§. 3. Indeed now that languages are got by the made, and abound with words standing for explication such combinations, an usual way of getting of their

these complex ideas is by the explication names,

of those terms that stand for them. For consisting of a company of simple ideas combined, they may by words, standing for those simple ideas, be represented to the mind of one who understands those words, though that complex combination of simple ideas were never offered to his mind by the real existence of things. Thus a man may come to have the idea of sacrilege or murder, by enumerating to him the simple ideas which these words stand for, without ever seeing either of them committed. The name §. 4. Every mixed mode consisting of ties the parts many distinct simple ideas, it seems reasonof mixed able to inquire, “whence it has its unity, modes into " and how such a precise multitude tomes one idea. "to make but one idea, since that combi“nation does not always exist together in nature?" To which I answer, it is plain it has its unity from an act of the mind combining those several simple ideas

together, and considering them as one complex one, · consisting of those parts; and the mark of this union,

or that which is looked on generally to complete it, is one name given to that combination. For it is by their names that men commonly regulate their account of their distinct species of mixed modes, seldom allowing or considering any number of simple ideas to make one complex one, but such collections as there be names for. Thus, though the killing of an old man be as fit in nature to be united into one complex idea, as the killing a man's father; yet there being no name standing precisely for the one, as there is the name of parricide to mark the other, it is not taken for a particular com


« AnteriorContinuar »