Abbildungen der Seite


[ocr errors]

row their simple ideas from the impressions, and can

never go beyond these original perceptions. These Of faculties are as little distinguished from each other by knowledge

and the arrangement of their complex ideas. For, though probability.

it be a peculiar property of the memory to preserve
the original order and position of its ideas, while the
imagination transposes and changes them as it pleases;
yet this difference is not sufficient to distinguish them
in their operation, or make us know the one from the
other; it being impossible to recal the past impres-
sions, in order to compare them with our present ideas,
and see whether their arrangement be exactly similar.
Since therefore the memory is known, neither by the
order of its complex ideas, nor the nature of its simple
ones; it follows, that the difference betwixt it and the
imagination lies in its superior force and vivacity. A
man may indulge his fancy in feigning any past scene
of adventures; nor would there be any possibility of
distinguishing this from a remembrance of a like kind,
were not the ideas of the imagination fainter and more

It frequently happens, that when two men have
been engaged in any scene of action, the one shall re-
member it much better than the other, and shall have
all the difficulty in the world to make his companion
recollect it. He runs over several circumstances in
vain; mentions the time, the place, the company, what
was said, what was done on all sides; till at last he hits
on some lucky circumstance, that revives the whole,
and gives his friend a perfect memory of every thing.
Here the person that forgets, receives at first all the
ideas from the discourse of the other, with the same
circumstances of time and place; though he considers
them as mere fictions of the imagination. But as soon




as the circumstance is mentioned that touches the memory, the very same ideas now appear in a new light, and have, in a manner, a different feeling from what they . Of the

impressions had before. Without any other alteration, beside that

the senses of the feeling, they become immediately ideas of the and

memory memory, and are assented to.

Since therefore the imagination can represent all the same objects that the memory can offer to us, and since those faculties are only distinguished by the different feeling of the ideas they present, it may be proper to consider what is the nature of that feeling. And here I believe every one will readily agree with me, that the ideas of the memory are more strong and lively than those of the fancy.

A painter, who intended to represent a passion or emotion of any kind, would endeavour to get a sight of a person actuated by a like emotion, in order to enliven his ideas, and give them a force and vivacity superior to what is found in those, which are mere fictions of the imagination. The more recent this memory is, the clearer is the idea; and when, after a long interval, he would return to the contemplation of his object, he always finds its idea to be much decayed, if not wholly obliterated. We are frequently in doubt concerning the ideas of the memory, as they become very weak and feeble; and are at a loss to determine whether any image proceeds from the fancy or the memory, when it is not drawn in such lively colours as distinguish that latter faculty. I think I remember such an event, says one; but am not sure. A long tract of time has almost worn it out of my memory, and leaves me uncertain whether or not it be the pure offspring of my fancy.

And as an idea of the memory, by losing its force




[ocr errors]

PART and vivacity, may degenerate to such a degree, as to be

taken for an idea of the imagination; so, on the other

hand, an idea of the imagination may acquire such a knowledge

force and vivacity, as to pass for an idea of the memory, probability and counterfeit its effects on the belief and judgment.

This is noted in the case of liars; who by the frequent repetition of their lies, come at last to believe and remember them, as realities; custom and habit having, in this case, as in many others, the same influence on the mind as nature, and infixing the idea with equal force and vigour.

Thus it appears, that the belief or assent, which always attends the memory and senses, is nothing but the vivacity of those perceptions they present; and that this alone distinguishes them from the imagination. To believe is in this case to feel an immediate impression of the senses, or a repetition of that impression in the memory. 'Tis merely the force and liveliness of the perception, which constitutes the first act of the judgment, and lays the foundation of that reasoning, which we build upon it, when we trace the relation of cause and effect.




'Tis easy to observe, that in tracing this relation, the inference we draw from cause to effect, is not derived merely from a survey of these particular objects, and from such a penetration into their essences as may discover the dependence of the one upon the other. There


Of the

is no object which implies the existence of any other, SECT. if we consider these objects in themselves, and never look beyond the ideas which we form of them. Such

inference an inference would amount to knowledge, and would from the imply the absolute contradiction and impossibility of impression conceiving any thing different. But as all distinct ideas the idea. are separable, ’tis evident there can be no impossibility of that kind. When we pass from a present impression to the idea of any object, we might possibly have separated the idea from the impression, and have substituted any

other idea in its room. 'Tis therefore by experience only that we can infer the existence of one object from that of another. The nature of experience is this. We remember to have had frequent instances of the existence of one species of objects; and also remember, that the individuals of another species of objects have always attended them, and have existed in a regular order of contiguity and succession with regard to them. Thus we remember to have seen that species of object we call flame, and to have felt that species of sensation we call heat. We likewise call to mind their constant conjunction in all past instances.

Without any farther ceremony, we call the one cause, and the other effect, and infer the existence of the one from that of the other. In all those instances from which we learn the conjunction of particular causes and effects, both the causes and effects have been perceived by the senses, and are remembered : but in all cases, wherein we reason concerning them, there is only one perceived or remembered, and the other is supplied in conformity to our past experience.

Thus, in advancing, we have insensibly discovered a new relation betwixt cause and effect when we least




PART expected it, and were entirely employed upon another

subject. This relation is their constant conjunction.

Contiguity and succession are not sufficient to make knowledge

us pronounce any two objects to be cause and effect, probability.

unless we perceive that these two relations are preserved in several instances. We may now see the advantage of quitting the direct survey of this relation, in order to discover the nature of that necessary connexion which makes so essential a part of it. There are hopes, that by this means we may at last arrive at our proposed end; though, to tell the truth, this new, discovered relation of a constant conjunction seems to advance us but very little in our way. For it implies no more than this, that like objects have always been placed in like relations of contiguity and succession ; and it seems evident, at least at first sight, that by this means we can never discover any new idea, and can only multiply, but not enlarge, the objects of our mind. It may be thought, that what we learn not from one object, we can never learn from a hundred, which are all of the same kind, and are perfectly resembling in every circumstance. As our senses show us in one instance two bodies, or motions, or qualities in certain relations of succession and contiguity, so our memory presents us only with a multitude of instances wherein we always find like bodies, motions, or qualities, in like relations. From the mere repetition of any past impression, even to infinity, there never will arise any new original idea, such as that of a necessary connexion ; and the number of impressions has in this case no more effect than if we confined ourselves to one only. But though this reasoning seems just and obvious, yet, as it would be folly to despair too soon, we shall continue the thread of our dis

« ZurückWeiter »