Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed]

able visions in the fancy; judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in separating carefully, one from another, ideas, wherein can be found the least difference; thereby to avoid being misled by similitude, and by affinity to take one thing for another. This is a way of proceeding quite contrary to metaphor and allusion, wherein for the most part lies that entertainment and pleasantry of wit, which strikes so lively on the fancy, and therefore is so acceptable to all people; because its beauty appears at first sight, and there is required no labour of thought to examine what truth or reason there is in it. The mind, without looking any farther, rests satisfied with the agreeableness of the picture, and the gaiety of the fancy: and it is a kind of an affront to go about to examine it by the severe rules of truth and good reason; whereby it appears, that it consists in something that is not perfectly conformable to them.'

Clearness §. To the well distinguishing our alone hin- ideas, it chiefly contributes, that they be ders confu- clear and determinate: and where they are S10n- so, it will not breed any confusion or mis

take about them, though the senses should (as sometimes they do) convey them from the same object differently, on different occasions, and so seem to err. For though a man in a fever should from sugar have a bitter taste, which at another time would produce a sweet one; yet the idea of bitter in that man's mind, would be as clear and distinct from the idea of sweet, as if he had tasted only gall. Nor does it make any more confusion between the two ideas of sweet and bitter, that the same sort of body produces at one time one, and at another time another idea by the taste, than it makes a confusion in two ideas of white and sweet, or white and round, that the same piece of sugar produces them both in the mind at the same time. And the ideas of orange-colour and azure, that are produced in the rrind by the same parcel of the infusion of lignum nephiiticum, are no less distinct ideas, than those of the same colours, taken from tw© very different bodies.

§. 4. The comparing them one with another, in respect of extent, degrees, time, Comparing. place, or any other circumstances, is another operation of the mind about its ideas, and is that upon which depends all that large tribe of ideas, comprehended under relations; which of how vast an extent it is, I shall have occasion to consider hereafter.

§. 5. How far brutes partake in this faculty, is not easy to determine; I imagine Brutescom., ', _/ . . % °c pare but lm- they have it not in any great degree: tor perfectiy. though they probably have several ideas distinct enough, yet it seems to me to be the prerogative of human understanding, when it has sufficiently distinguished any ideas, so as to perceive them to be perfectly different, and so consequently two, to cast about and consider in what circumstances they are capable to be compared: and therefore, I think, beasts compare not their ideas farther than some sensible circumstances annexed to the objects themselves. The other power of comparing, which may be observed in men, belonging to general ideas, and useful only to abstract reasonings, we may probably conjecture beasts have not.

§. 6. The next operation we may observe Compoundin the mind about its ideas, is composition; ing» whereby it puts together several of those simple ones it has received from sensation and reflection, and combines them into complex ones. Under this of composition maybe reckoned also that of enlarging; Avherein though the composition does not so much appear as in more complex ones, yet it is nevertheless a putting several ideas together, though of the same kind. Thus by adding several units together, we make the idea of a dozen; and putting together the repeated ideas of several perches, we frame that of a furlong.

§. 7. In this also, I suppose, brutes come Brutes comfar short of men: for though they take in, pound but and retain together several combinations of llttle. .simple ideas, as possibly the shape, smell, and voice of his master make up the complex idea a dog has of him, distinct marks whereby he knows him; yet I do not think they do of themselves ever compound them, and make complex ideas. And perhaps even where we think they have complex ideas, it is only one simple one that directs them in the knowledge of several things, which possibly they distinguish less by their sight than we imagine: for I have been credibly informed that a bitch will nurse, play with, and be fond of young foxes, as much as, and in place of, her pup. pies; if you can but get them once to suck her so long-, that her milk may go through them. And those animals, which have a numerous brood of young ones at once, appear not to have any knowledge of their number: for though they are mightily concerned for any of their young that are taken from them whilst they are in sight or hearing; yet if one or two of them be stolen from them in their absence, or without noise, they appear not to miss them, or to have any sense that their number is lessened.

[graphic]

Naming. §. &m When children have, by repeated sensations, got ideas fixed in their memories, they begin by degrees to learn the use of signs. And when they have got the skill to apply the organs of speech to the framing of articulate sounds, they begin to make use of words, to signify their ideas to others. These verbal signs they sometimes borrow from others, and sometimes make themselves, as one may observe among the new and unusual names children often give to things in the first use of language. Abstraction. $• 9- The use of words then being to stand as outward marks of our internal ideas, and those ideas being taken from particular things, if every particular idea that we take in should have a distinct name, names must be endless. To prevent this, the mind makes the particular ideas, received from particular objects, to become general; which is done by considering them as they are in the mind, such appearances, separate from all other existences, and the circumstances of real existence, as time, place, or any other concomitant ideas. This is called abstraction, whereby ideas, taken from particular beings, become general representatives of all of the same kind, and their names general names, applicable to whatever exists conformable to such abstract ideas. Such precise naked appearances in the mind, without considering how, whence, or with what others they came there, the understanding lays up (with names commonly annexed to them) as the standard to rank real existences into sorts, as they agree with these patterns, and to denominate them accordingly. Thus the same colour being observed to-day in chalk or snow, which the mind yesterday received from milk, it considers that appearance alone, makes it a representative of all of that kind; and having given it the name whiteness, it by that sound signifies the same quality, wheresoever to be imagined or met with: and fhus universals, whether ideas or terms, are made.

§.10. If it may be doubted, whether Bmteg ab_ beasts compound and enlarge their ideas 8tractnot. that way to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas, is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes, and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to. For it is evident we observe no footsteps in them of making use of general signs for universal ideas; from which we have reason to imagine, that they have not the faculty of abstracting, or making general ideas, since they have no use of words, or any other general signs.

§•11. Nor can it be imputed to their want of fit organs to frame articulate sounds, that they have no use or knowledge of general words; since many of them, we find, can fashion such sounds, and pronounce words distinctly enough, but never with any such application. And on the other side, men, who through some defect in the organs want words, yet fail not to express their universal ideas by signs, which serve them instead of general words; a faculty which we see beasts come short in. And therefore I think we may suppose, that it is in this that the species of brutes are discriminated

« EdellinenJatka »