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II.

Of

PART that 'tis very natural for us to draw such a consequence;

which is an evident instance of that very principle,

which I endeavour to explain. the ideas of

When I received the relations of resemblance, contispace and time quity, and causation, as principles of union among ideas,

without examining into their causes, 'twas more in prosecution of my first maxim, that we must in the end rest contented with experience, than for want of something specious and plausible, which I might have displayed on that subject. 'Twould have been easy to have made an imaginary dissection of the brain, and have shown, why, upon our conception of any idea, the animal spirits run into all the contiguous traces, and rouze up the other ideas that are related to it. But though I have neglected any advantage, which I might have drawn from this topic in explaining the relations of ideas, I am afraid I must here have recourse to it, in order to account for the mistakes that arise from these relations. I shall therefore observe, that as the mind is endowed with a power of exciting any idea it pleases ; whenever it despatches the spirits into that region of the brain, in which the idea is placed; these spirits always excite the idea, when they run precisely into the proper traces, and rummage that cell, which belongs to the idea. But as their motion is seldom direct, and naturally turns a little to the one side or the other; for this reason the animal spirits, falling into the contiguous traces, present other related ideas, in lieu of that which the mind desired at first to survey. This change we are not always sensible of; but continuing still the same train of thought, make use of the related idea, which is presented to us, and employ it in our reasons ing, as if it were the same with what we demanded, This is the cause of many mistakes and sophisms in

V.

philosophy; as will naturally be imagined, and as it

SECT. would be easy to show, if there was occasion.

Of the three relations above-mentioned that of re- The same semblance is the most fertile source of error; and in

subject

continued. deed there are few mistakes in reasoning, which do not borrow largely from that origin. Resembling ideas are not only related together, but the actions of the mind, which we employ in considering them, are so little different, that we are not able to distinguish them. This last circumstance is of great consequence; and we may in general observe, that wherever the actions of the mind in forming any two ideas are the same or resembling, we are very apt to confound these ideas, and take the one for the other. Of this we shall see many instances in the progress of this treatise. But though resemblance be the relation, which most readily produces a mistake in ideas, yet the others of causation and contiguity may also concur in the same influence. We might produce the figures of poets and orators, as sufficient proofs of this, were it as usual as it is reasonable, in metaphysical subjects, to draw our arguments from that quarter. But lest metaphysicians should esteem this below their dignity, I shall borrow a proof from an observation, which may be made on most of their own discourses, viz. that 'tis usual for men to use words for ideas, and to talk instead of thinking in their reasonings. We use words for ideas, because they are commonly so closely connected, that the mind easily mistakes them And this likewise is the reason, why we substitute the idea of a distance, which is not considered either as visible or tangible, in the room of extension, which is nothing but a composition of visible or tangible points disposed in a certain order. In causing this mistake there concur both the

II.

Of the ideas of

space and time.

PART relations of causation and resemblance. CAs the first

species of distance is found to be convertible into the second, 'tis in this respect a kind of cause; and the similarity of their manner of affecting the senses, and diminishing every quality, forms the relation of resemblance

After this chain of reasoning and explication of my principles, I am now prepared to answer all the objections that have been offered, whether derived from metaphysics or mechanics. The frequent disputes concerning a vacuum, or extension without matter, prove not the reality of the idea, upon which the dispute turns; there being nothing more common, than to see men deceive themselves in this particular; especially when, by means of any close relation, there is another idea presented, which may be the occasion of their mistake. We may

make almost the same answer to the second objection, derived from the conjunction of the ideas of rest and annihilation. When every thing is annihilated in the chamber, and the walls continue immovable, the chamber must be conceived much in the same manner as at present, when the air that fills it is not an object of the senses. This annihilation leaves to the eye that fictitious distance, which is discovered by the different parts of the organ that are affected, and by the degrees of light and shade; and to the feeling, that which consists in a sensation of motion in the hand, or other member of the body. In vain should we search

any

farther. On whichever side we turn this subject, we shall find that these are the only impressions such an object can produce after the supposed annihilation; and it has already been remarked, that impressions can give rise to no ideas, but to such as resemble them.

V.

Since a body interposed betwixt two others may be SECT. . supposed to be annihilated, without producing any change upon such as lie on each hand of it, 'tis easily The same conceived, how it may be created anew, and yet pro- continued, duce as little alteration. Now the motion of a body has much the same effect as its creation. The distant bodies are no more affected in the one case, than in the other. This suffices to satisfy the imagination, and proves there is no repugnance in such a motion. Af terwards experience comes in play to persuade us that two bodies, situated in the manner above described, have really such a capacity of receiving body betwixt them, and that there is no obstacle to the conversion of the invisible and intangible distance into one that is visible and tangible. However natural that conversion may seem, we cannot be sure it is practicable, before we have had experience of it.

Thus I seem to have answered the three objections above mentioned; though at the same time I am sensible, that few will be satisfied with these answers, but will immediately propose new objections and difficulties. 'Twill probably be said, that my reasoning makes nothing to the matter in hand, and that I explain only the manner in which objects affect the senses, without endeavouring to account for their real nature and operations. Though there be nothing visible or tangible interposed betwixt two bodies, yet we find by experience, that the bodies may be placed in the same manner, with regard to the eye, and require the same motion of the hand in passing from one to the other, as if divided by something visible and tangible. This invisible and intangible distance is also found by experience to contain a capacity of receiving body, or of becoming visible and tangible. Here is the whole of my

11.

Of

and time.

PART system; and in no part of it have I endeavoured to

explain the cause, which separates bodies after this

manner, and gives them a capacity of receiving others the ideas of space

betwixt them, without any impulse or penetration.

I answer this objection, by pleading guilty, and by confessing that my intention never was to penetrate into the nature of bodies, or explain the secret causes of their operations. (For, besides that this belongs not to my present purpose, I am afraid, that such an enterprise is beyond the reach of human understanding, and that we can never pretend to know body otherwise than by those external properties, which discover themselves to the senses. As to those who attempt any thing farther, I cannot approve of their ambition, till I see, in some one instance at least, that they have met with success. But at present I content myself with knowing perfectly the manner in which objects affect my senses, and their connexions with each other, as far as experience informs me of them. This suffices for the conduct of life; and this also suffices for my philosophy, which pretends only to explain the nature and causes of our perceptions, or impressions and ideas. *

• As long as we confine our speculations to the appearances of objects to our senses, without entering into disquisitions concerning their real nature and operations, we are safe from all difficulties, and can never be embarrassed by any question. Thus, if it be asked, if the invisible and intangible distance, interposed betwixt two objects, be something or nothing: 'tis easy to answer, that it is something, viz. a property of the objects, which affect the senses after such a particular manner. If it be asked, whether two objects, having such a distance betwixt them, touch or not: it may be answered, that this depends upon the definițion of the word touch. If objects be said to touch, when there is nothing sensible interposed betwixt them, these objects touch: If objects be said to touch, when their images strike contiguous parts of the eye, and when the band feels both objects successively, without any interposed motion, these objects do

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