Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

| stance

| son of

hefore fluid is become hard and consistent, without cons taining any idea of the action whereby it is done. * Mixed

$. 19. I think I shall not need to remark modes made here, that though power and action make also of other the greatest part of mixed modes, marked ideas, by names, and familiar in the minds and mouths of meji; yet other simple ideas, and their several combinations, are not excluded : much less, I think, will it be neceflary for me to enamerate all the mixed modes, which have been settled, with names to them. That would be to make a dictionary of the greatest part of the words made use of in divinity, ethicks, law, and politicks, and several other sciences. All that is requisite to my present design, is, to show what sort of ideas those are which I call mixed modes, how the mind comes by them, and that they are compositions made up of simple ideas got from sensation and reflec: tionwhich, I suppose, I have done.

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

, CH A P. XXIII, i min for?
of our complex Ideas of Subliances.

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

Ide is of sub. 6. 1. THE mind being as I have stances how

I declared, furnished with a made.

great number of the simple ideas, conveyed in by the senses, as they are found in exterior things, or by reflection on its own operations, takes notice also, that a certain number of these simple ideas go constantly together; which being presumed to belong to one thing, and words being suited to common apprebensions, and made use of for quick dispatch, are called, so united in one subject, by one name: which, by inadvertency, we are apt afterward to talk of, and consider as one simple idea, which indeed is a complication of many ideas together : because, as I have said, not imagining how these simple ideas can subsist by themselves, we aecustoin ourselves to suppose some sub:

stratum

thout stratum wherein they do subsist, and froin which they De do result; which therefore we call substance (1). to 128. 2. So that if any one will examine 11034 himself concerning his notion of pure sub- substance in

stance in general, he will find he has no general.

other idea of it at all, but only a suppositikir tion of he knows not what support of such qualities,

which are capable of producing simple ideas in us; which the best qualities are commonly called accidents. If any one les (Le should be asked, what is the subject wherein colour of

weight

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

(1) This section, which was intended only to show how the indivie duals of distinct species of substances came to be looked upon as simple ideas, and so to have simple names, viz. from the supposed substratum of substance, which was looked upon as the thing itself in which inhered, and from which resulted that complication of ideas, by which it was represented to us, hath been mistaken for an account of the idea of sub, stance in general; and as such, hath been represented in these words ; But how comes the general idea of substance to be framed in our minds? Is this by abstracting and enlarging simple ideas? No: But it is by a complication of many simple ideas together : because, not imagining how these simple ideas can subsist by themselves, we accustom ourselves to suppose some substratum wherein they do subsist, and from whence they do result; which therefore we call substance.' And is this all, indeed, that is to be said for the being of substance, That we accustom Ourselves to suppose a substratum ? Is that custom grounded upon true reason, or not? If not, then accidents or modes must subsist of thein. selves; and these simple ideas need no tortoise to support them : for Sgures and colours, &c. would do well enough of themselves, but for some fancies men have accustomed themselves to.

To which objection of the bishop of Worcester, our author * answers thws : Herein your lordship seems to charge me with two faults: one, That I make the general idea of substance to be framed, not by abstracte ing and enlarging simple ideas, but by a complication of many simple ideas together : the other, as if I had said, the being of substance had no other foundation but the fancies of men.

As to the first of these, I beg leave to remind your lordship, that I say in more places than one, and particularly Book 3. Chap. 3. 5. 6. and Book 1. Chap. 11. $. 9. where, ex professo, I treat of abstraction and general ideas, that they are all made by abstracting, and therefore could pot be understood to mean, that that of substance was made any other way; however my pen might have slipt, or the negligence of expression, where I might have something else than the general idea of substance in view, might make me seem to say so.

That I was not speaking of the general idea of substance in the passage your lordship quotes, is manifest from the title of that chapter, which . * In his first letter to the bishop of Worcester,

[ocr errors]

weight inheres, he would have nothing to say, but the solid extended parts: and if he were demanded, what is it that solidity and extension adhere in, he would not be in a much better case than the Indian before mentioned, who, saying that the world was supported by a great elephant, was asked what the elephant rested on; to which his answer was, a great tortoise. But being again pressed to know what gave support to the broad-backed tortoise, replied, something, he knew not what. And thus here, as in all other cases where

[ocr errors]

bat tha

is, of the complex ideas of substances : and the first section of it, which your lordship cites for those words you have set down.

In which words I do not observe any that deny the general idea of substance to be made by abstracting, nor any that say it is made by a

complication of many simple ideas together. But speaking in that place : of the ideas of distinct substances, such as man, horse, gold, &c. I say

they are made up of certain combinations of simple ideas, which com.
binations are looked upon, each of them, as one simple idea, though they
are many; and we call it by one name of substance, though made up of
modes, from the custom of supposing a substratum, wherein that combi.
nation does subsist. So that in this paragraph I only give an account of
the idea of distinct substances, such as oak, elephant, iron, &c. how,
though they are made up of distinct complications of modes, yet they
are looked on as one idea, called by one name; as making distinct sorts
of substance.
· But that my notion of substance in general, is quite different from these,
and has no such combination of simple ideas in it, is evident from the
immediate following words, where I say, * " The idea of pure substance
o in general, is only a supposition of we know not what support of such
« qualities as are capable of producing simple ideas in us. And these
two I plainly distinguish all along, particularly where I say, 'whatever

therefore be the secret and abstract nature of substance in general, all

the ideas we have of particular distinct substances, are nothing but • several combinations of simple ideas, co-existing in such, though unknown cause of their union, as makes the whole subsist of itself.

The other thing laid to my charge, is, as if I took the being of substance to be doubtful, or rendered it so by the imperfect and ill-grounded idea I have given of it. To which I beg leave to say, that I ground not the being, but the idea of substance, on our accustoming ourselves to suppose some substratum ; for it is of the idea alone I speak there, and not of the being of substance. And having every where affirmed and built upon it, that a man is a substance, I cannot be supposed to question

or doubt of the being of substance, till I can question or doubt of my · own being. Farther, I say, + Sensation convinces us, that there are

iarlo

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

nhantes

we use words without having clear and distinct ideas, we talk like children; who being questioned what such a thing is, which they know not, readily give this satis factory answer, that it is soinething; which in truth signifies no more, when so used either by children or men, but that they know not what; and that the thing they pretend to know and talk of, is what they have no distinct idea of at all, and so are perfectly ignorant of it, and in the dark. The idea then we have, to which we give the general name substance, being nothing but the supposed, but unknown support of those qualities we find existing, which we imagine cannot subsist, “ sine re substante," without something to support

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

, he

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

solid, extended substances; and reflection, that there are thinking ones.' So that, I think, the being of substance is not shaken by what I have said : and if the idea of it should be, yet (the being of things depending not on our ideas) the being of substance would not be at all shaken by my saying, we had but an obscure imperfect idea of it, and that that idea came from our accustoming ourselves to suppose some sub. stratum; or indeed, if I should say, we had no idea of substance at all. For a great many things may be, and are granted to have a being, and be in nature, of which we have no ideas. For example : it cannot be doubted but there are distinct species of separate spirits, of which yes we have no distinct ideas at all; it cannot be questioned but spirits have ways of communicating their thoughts, and yet we have no idea of it at ail.

The being then of substance being safe and secure, notwithstanding any thing I have said, let us see whether the idea of it be not so too. Your lordship asks, with concern, And is this all, indeed, that is to be said for the being (if your lordship please, let it be the idea) of substance, that we accustom ourselves to suppose a substratum ? Is that custoni grounded upon true reason or no? I have said that it is grounded upon this, *• That we cannot conceive how simple ideas of sensible qualities

should subsist alone; and therefore we suppose them to exist in, and to

be supported by some common subject; which support we denote by the 'Aame substance.' Which, I think, is a true reason, because it is the same your lordship grounds the supposition of a substratum on, in this very page; even on the repugnancy to our conceptions, that modes and accidents should subsist by themselves. So that I have the good luck to agree here with your lordship; and consequently conclude, I have your apprubation in this, that the substratum to modes or accidents, which is our idea of substance in general, is founded in this, " that we cannot

conceive how modes or accidents can subsist by themselves,'

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* B. 2. C. 23. $. 4. ,

them, them, we call that support substantia ; which, according to the true import of the word, is in plain English, standing under or upholding (1).

$. §. An obscure and relative idea of sub. Of the sorts of substance,

stance in general being thus made, we come ale to have the ideas of particular sorts of substances, by collecting such combinations of simple ideas, as are by experience and observation of men's senses taken notice of to exist together, and are therefore supposed to flow from the particular internal constitution,

[ocr errors]

· fi) From this paragraph, there hath been raised an objection by the bishop of Worcester, as if our author's doctrine here concerning ideas, had almost discarded substance out of the world : his words in this paragraph, being brought to prove, that he is one of the gentlemen of this new way of reasoning, that have almost discarded substance out of the reasonable part of the world. To which our author replies : * This, my lord, is an accusation, which your lordship will pardon me, if I do not readily know what to plead to, because I do not under. stand what it is almost to discard substance out of the reasonable part of the world. If your lordship means by it, that I deny, or doubt, that there is in the world any such thing as substance, that your lordship will acquit me of, when your lordship looks again into this 23d chapter of the second book, which you have cited more than once; where you will find these words, $. 4. When we talk or think of any particular sort of

corporeal substances, as horse, stone, &c. though the idea we have of reither of them, be but the complication or collection of those several (simple ideas of sensible qualities, which we use to find united in the • thing called horse or stone ; yet, because we cannot conceive how they

should subsist alone, nor one in another, we suppose them existing in, • and supported by some common subject, which support we denote by • the name substance ; though it is certain, we have no clear or distince • idea of that thing we suppose a support.' And again, 5. 5. ' The

same happens concerning the operations of the mind, viz. thinking, « reasoning, fearing, &c. which we considering not to subsist of them. • selves, nor apprehending how they can belong to body, or be produced « by it, we are apt to think these the actions of some other substance, « which we call spirit; whereby yet it is evident, that having no other o idea or notion of matter, but something wherein those many sensible * qualities, which affect our senses, do subsist, by supposing a substance, < wherein thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving, &c. « do subsist, we have as clear a notion of the nature or substance of 6 spirit. as we have of body ; the one being supposed to be (without knowing what it is) the substratum to those simple ideas we have from * In his first letter to that bishop.

« AnteriorContinuar »