« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
tion of a greater degree of fixedness than is in lead or copper, he may be said to have a false complex idea, as well as when he joins to those other simple ones the idea of perfect absolute fixedness. For either way, the complex idea of gold being made up of such simple ones as have no union in nature, may be termed false. But if we leave out of this his complex idea, that of fixedness quite, without either actually joining to, or separating of it from the rest in his mind, it is, I think, to be looked on as an inadequate and imperfect idea, rather than a false one; since though it contains not all the simple ideas that are united in nature, yet it puts none together but what do really exist together.
$ 19. Though in compliance with the ordinary way of speaking I have showed in what sense, and upon what ground our ideas may be sometimes called true or false; yet if we will look a little nearer into the matter, in all cases where any idea is called true or false, it is from some judgment that the mind makes, or is supposed to make, that is true or false. For truth or falsehood, being never without some affirmation or negation, express or tacit, it is not to be found but where signs are joined and separated, according to the agreement or disagreement of the things they stand for. The signs we chiefly use are either ideas or words, wherewith we make either mental or verbal propositions. Truth lies in so joining or separating these representatives, as the things they stand for do in themselves agree or disagree; and falsehood in the contrary, as shall be more fully shown hereafter.
§ 20. Any idea then which we have in our minds, whether comformable or not to the existence of things, or to any idea in the minds of other men, cannot properly for this alone be called false. For these representations, if they have nothing in them but what is really
Truth or falsehood al
ways supposes af
firmation or negation.
Ideas in themselves neither true nor false.
existing in things without, cannot be thought false, being exact representations of something; nor yet, if they have any thing in them differing from the reality of things, can they properly be said to be false representations, or ideas of things they do not represent. But the mistake and falsehood is,
§ 21. First, when the mind having any idea, it judges and concludes it the same that is in other men's minds, signified by the same name; or that it is comformable to the ordinary received signification or definition of that word, when indeed it is not which is the most usual mistake in mixed modes, though other ideas also are liable to it. § 22. Secondly, when it having a complex idea made up of such a collection of simple ones as nature never puts together, it judges it to agree to a species of creatures really existing; as when it joins the weight of tin to the colour, fusibility, and fixedness of gold.
But are false, 1. When judged agreeable to another
man's idea, without being so.
2. When judged to agree to real existence, when they do not.
3. When $23. Thirdly, when in its complex idea judged adeit has united a certain number of simple quate, withideas that do really exist together in some out being so. sort of creatures, but has also left out others as much inseparable, it judges this to be a perfect complete idea of a sort of things which really it is not; v. g. having joined the ideas of substance, yellow, malleable, most heavy, and fusible, it takes that complex idea to be the complete idea of gold, when yet its peculiar fixedness and solubility in aqua regia are as inseparable from those other ideas or qualities of that body, as they are one from another.
judged to represent the real
§ 24. Fourthly, the mistake is yet greater, when I judge that this complex idea contains in it the real essence of any body existing, when at least it contains but some few of those properties which flow from its real essence and constitution.
only some few of those properties; for those properties consisting mostly in the active and passive powers it has, in reference to other things, all that are vulgarly known of any one body, of which the complex idea of that kind of things is usually made, are but a very few, in comparison of what a man, that has several ways tried and examined it, knows of that one sort of things: and all that the most expert man knows are but a few, in comparison of what are really in that body, and depend on its internal or essential constitution. The essence of a triangle lies in a very little compass, consists in a very few ideas,-three lines including a space make up that essence, but the properties that flow from this essence a:e more than can be easily known or enumerated. So I imagine it is in substances, their real essences lie in a little compass, though the properties flowing from that internal constitution are endless.
§ 25. To conclude, a man having no Ideas, when notion of any thing without him, but by false. the idea he has of it in his mind (which idea he has a power to call by what name he pleases), he may indeed make an idea neither answering the reason of things, nor agreeing to the idea commonly signified by other people's words; but cannot make a wrong or false idea of a thing, which is no otherwise known to him but by the idea he has of it: v. g. when I frame an idea of the legs, arms, and body of a man, and join to this a horse's head and neck, I do not make a false idea of any thing; because it represents nothing without me. But when I call it a man or Tartar, and imagine it to represent some real being without me, or to be the same idea that others call by the same name; in either of these cases I may err. And upon this account it is, that it comes to be termed a false idea; though indeed the falsehood lies not in the idea, but in that tacit mental proposition wherein a conformity and resemblance is attributed to it, which it has not. But yet, if having framed such an idea in
my mind, without thinking either that existence, or the name man or Tartar, belongs to it, I will call it man or Tartar, I may be justly thought fantastical in the naming, but not erroneous in my judgment; nor the idea any way false.
§ 26. Upon the whole matter, I think, that our ideas, as they are considered by the mind, either in reference to the proper signification of their names, or in reference to the reality of things, may very fitly be called right or wrong ideas, according as they agree or disagree to those patterns to which they are referred. But if any one had rather call them true or false, it is fit he use a liberty, which every one has, to call things by those names he thinks best; though, in propriety of speech, truth or falsehood will, I think, scarce agree to them, but as they, some way or other, virtually contain in them some mental proposition. The ideas that are in a man's mind, simply considered, cannot be wrong, unless complex ones, wherein inconsistent parts are jumbled together. All other ideas are in themselves right, and the knowledge about them right and true knowledge: but when we come to refer them to any thing, as to their patterns and archetypes, then they are capable of being wrong, as far as they disagree with such archetypes.
More properly to be
Of the Association of Ideas.
§ 1. THERE is scarce any one that does not observe something that seems odd to him, and is in itself really extravagant in the opinions, reasonings, and actions of other men. The least flaw of this kind, if at all different from his own, every one is quick-sighted enough to espy in another, and will by the authority of rea
able in most
son forwardly condemn, though he be guilty of much greater unreasonableness in his own tenets and conduct, which he never perceives, and will very hardly, if at all, be convinced of.
§ 2. This proceeds not wholly from selflove, though that has often a great hand in it. Men of fair minds, and not given up to the overweening of self-flattery, are frequently guilty of it; and in many cases one with amazement hears the arguings, and is astonished at the obstinacy of a worthy man, who yields not to the evidence of reason, though laid before him as clear as daylight.
Not wholly from self
§ 3. This sort of unreasonableness is Not from usually imputed to education and preju- education. dice, and for the most part truly enough, though that reaches not the bottom of the disease, nor shows distinctly enough whence it rises or wherein it lies. Education is often rightly assigned for the cause, and prejudice is a good general name for the thing itself; but yet, I think, he ought to look a little farther, who would trace this sort of madness to the root it springs from, and so explain it, as to show whence this flaw has its original in very sober and rational minds, and wherein it consists.
§ 4. I shall be pardoned for calling it A degree of by so harsh a name as madness, when it madness. is considered, that opposition to reason deserves that name, and is really madness; and there is scarce a man so free from it, but that if he should always, on all occasions, argue or do as in some cases he constantly does, would not be thought fitter for Bedlam than civil conversation. I do not here mean when he is under the power of an unruly passion, but in the steady calm course of his life. That which will yet more apologize for this harsh name, and ungrateful imputation on the greatest part of mankind, is, that inquiring a little by the by into the nature of madness, B. ii. c. xi. § 13. I found it to spring from the very same root, and to denend on the
very same cause