« AnteriorContinuar »
ridiculous. But it being a contradiction, that two or more should be one, identity and diversity are relations and ways of comparing well-founded, and of use to the understanding. All other things being but
Identity of modes or relations ultimately terminated in substances, the identity and diversity of **
modes. each particular existence of them too will be by the same way determined: only as to things whose existence is in succession, such as are the actions of finite beings, v. g. motion and thought, both which consist in a continued train of succession : concerning their diversity, there can be no question : because each perishing the moment it begins, they cannot exist in different times, or in different places, as permanent beings can at different times exist in distant places; and therefore no motion or thought, considered as at different times, can be the same, each part thereof having a different beginning of existence.
$. 3. From what has been said, it is easy Principium to discover what is so much inquired after, individuatia the principium individuationis; and that, onis. it is plain, is existence itself, which determines a being of any sort to a particular time and place, incominunicable to two beings of the same kind, This, though it seems easier to conceive in siinple substances or modes, yet when reflected on is not more difficult in compound ones, if care be taken to what it is applied: v. g. let us suppose an atom, i. e. a continued body under one immutable superficies, existing in a determined time and place; it is evident that, considered in any instant of its existence, it is in that instant the same with itself. For being at that instant what it is, and nothing else, it is the same, and so must continue as long as its existence is continued ; for so long it will be the same, and no other. In like manner, if two or more atomis be joined together into the same mass, every one of those atoms will be the same, by the foregoing rule : and whilst they exist united together, the mass, consisting of the same atoms, must be the same mass, or the same body, let the parts be ever so differently jumbled. But if one of these atoms be
taken away, or one new one added, it is no longer the same mass, or the same body. In the state of living creatures, their identity depends not on a mass of the same particles, but on something else. For in them the variation of great parcels of matters alter not the identity: an oak growing from a plant to a great free, and then lopped, is still the same oak; and a colt growi up to a horse, sometimes fat, sometimes lean, is all the while the same horse : though in both these cases, there may be a manifest change of the parts; so that truly they are not neither of them the same masses of matter, though they be truly one of them the same oak, and the other the same horse. The reason whereof is, that in these two cases, a mass of matter, and a living body, identity is not applied to the same thing. Identity of
$. 4. We must therefore consider wherein
an oak differs from a mass of matter, and vegetables.
that seeins to me to be in this, that the one is only the cohesion of particles of matter any hov united, the other such a disposition of them as constitutes the parts of an oak; and such an organization of those parts as is fit to receive and distribute nourishment, so as to continue and frame the wood, bark; and leaves, &c. of an oak, in which consists the vege. table life. That being ihen one plant which lias such an organization of parts in one coherent body partaking of one common life, it continues to be the same plant as long as it partakes of the same life, though that life be communicated to new particles of matter vitally united to the living plant, in a like continued organization conformable to that sort of plants. For this organization being at any one instant in any one collection of matter, is in that particular concrete distinguished from all other, and is that individual life which existing constantly from that moment both forwards and backwards, in the same continuity-of insen. sibly succeeding parts united to the living body of the plant, it has that identity, which makes the same plant, and all the parts of it parts of the same plant, during all the time that they exist united in that continued orga
nization, which is fit to convey that common life to all the parts so united.
$. 5. The case is not so much different Identity of in brutes, but that any one may hence see animals. what makes an animal, and continues it the same. Something we have like this in machines, and may serve to illustrate it. For example, what is a watch ? It is plain it is nothing but a fit organization, or construction of parts to a certain end, which when a sufficient force is added to it, it is capable to attain. If we would suppose this machine one continued body, all whose organized parts were repaired, increased or diminished by a constant addition or separation of in, sensible parts, with one common life, we should have something very much like the body of an animal; with this difference, that in an animal the fitness of the organization, and the motion wherein life consists, begin together, the motion coming from within ; but in machines, the force coming sensibly from without, is often away when the organ is in order, and well fitted to receive it. * §. 6. This also shows wherein the iden- Identity of țity of the same man consists : viz. in no- man. thing but a participation of the same continued life, by constantly flecting particles of matter, in succession vitally united to the same organized body. He that shall place the identity of man in any thing else, but like that of other animals in one fitly organized body, taken in any one instant, and from thence continued under one organization of life in several successively fleeting particles of matter united to it, will find it hard to make an embryo, one of years, mad and sober, the same man, by any supposition, that will not make it possible for Seth, Ismael, Socrates, Pilate, St. Austin, and Cæsar Borgia, to be the same man. For if the identity of soul alone makes the same man, and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the same individual spirit may not be united to different bodies, it will be possible that those men living in distant ages, and of different tempers, may have been the same man: which way of speaking must be, from a very strange
use of the word man, applied to an idea, out of which body and shape are excluded. And that way of speaking would agree yet worse with the notions of those philosophers who allow of transmigration, and are of opinion that the souls of men may, for their miscarriages, be detruded into the bodies of beasts, as fit habitations, with organs suited to the satisfaction of their brutal inclinations. But yet I think, no-body could he be sure that the soul of Heliogabalus were in one of his hogs, would yet say that hog were a man or Heliogabalus.
$. 7. It is not therefore unity of subIdentity suited to the
he stance that comprehends all sorts of idenidea.
tity, or will determine it in every case :
but to conceive and judge of it ariglit, we must consider what idea the word it is applied to stands for; it being one thing to be the same substance, another the same man, and a third the same person, if person, man, and substance are three names standing for three different ideas; for such as is the idea belonging to that name, such must be the identity: which, if it had been a little more carefully attended to, would possibly have prevented a great deal of that confusion, which often occurs about this matter, with no small seeming difficulties, especially concerning personal identity, which therefore we shall in the next place a little consider.
$. 8. An animal is a living organized ante body; and consequently the same animal, as 'we have observed, is the same continued life communicated to different particles of matter, as they happen successively to be united to that organized living body. And whatever is talked of other definitions, ingenuous observation puts it past doubt, that the idea in our minds, of which the sound man in our mouths is the sign, is nothing else but of an animal of such a certain form ; since I think I may be confident, that whoever should see a creature of his own shape and make, though it had no more reason all its life than a cat or a parrot, would call him still a man; or whoever should hear a cat or a parrot discourse, reason and
philosophize, would call or think it nothing but a cat or a parrot ; and say, the one was a dull irrational man, and the other a very intelligent rational parrot. A relation we have in an author of great note is sufficient to countenance the supposition of a rational parrot. His words are*:
" I had a mind to know from prince Maurice's own “ mouth the account of a common, but much credited “ story, that I heard so often from many others, of " an old parrot he had in Brazil during his govern“ ment there, that spoke, and asked, and answered “ common questions like a reasonable creature : so that “ those of his train there generally concluded it to be “ witchery or possession; and one of his chaplains, who " lived long afterwards in Holland, would never from " that time endure a parrot, but said, they all had a “ devil in them. I had heard many particulars of this “ story, and assevered by people hard to be discredited, “ which made me ask prince Maurice what there was “ of it. He said, with his usual plainness and dryness “ in talk, there was something true, but a great deal “ false of what had been reported. I desired to know “ of him what there was of the first? He told me short " and coldly, that he had heard of such an old parrot " when he had been at Brazil; and though he believed
nothing of it, and it was a good way off, yet he had “ so much curiosity as to send for it: that it was a very “ great and a very old one, and when it came first ." into the room where the prince was, with a great “ many Dutchmen about him, it said presently, What "a company of white men are here! They asked it “ what it thought that man was, pointing to the prince ? “ It answered, soine general or other; when they " brought it close to him, he asked it, † D'ou venez
* Memoirs of what passed in Christendom from 1672 to 1679, p. __+ Whence come ye? It answered, From Marinnan. The Prince, To whom do you belong? The parrot, To a Portuguese. Prince, What do you there? Parrot, I look after the chickens. The Prince laughed and said, You look after the chickens! The parrot answered, Yes, I, and I know well enough how to do it.
“ vous ?