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acquainted with colours of all kinds, excepting one
Here, therefore, is a proposition, which not only seems, in itself, simple and intelligible; but, if a proper use were made of it, might render every dispute equal. ly intelligible, and banish all that jargon, which has fo long taken poffeffion of metaphysical reasonings, and drawn such disgrace upon them. All ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally faint and obscure : The Vol. II.
mind has but a fender hold of them : They are ape to be confounded with other resembling ideas : And when we have often employ'd any term, tho’without a distinct meaning, we are apt to imagine that it has a determinate idea, annex'd to it. On the contrary, all impressions, that is, all sensations, either outward or inward, are strong and sensible : The limits betwixt them are more exactly determin'd : Nor is it eafy to fall into any error or mistake with regard to them. When we entertain therefore any suspicion, that a philosophical term is employ'd without any meaning or idea (as is but too frequent) we need but enquire, from what impression is that suppos'd idea deriv'd? And if it be impossible to aflign any, this will serve to confirm our suspicion. By bringing ideas into so clear a light, we may reasonably hope to remove all dispute, which may arise, concerning their nature and reality *.
• 'Tis proba hle, that no more was meant by those, who deny'd innate ideas, than that all ideas were copies of our impressions; tho' it must be confess’d, that the terms which they employ'd were not chofen with such caution, nor fo exactly defin'd as to prevent all mistakes about their doctrine. For what is meant by innate? If innate be equivalent to na. tural, then all the perceptions and ideas of the mind muft be allow'd to be innate or natural, in whatever sense we take the latter word, whether in opposition to what is uncommen, artificial, or miraculous. If by innate be meant, cotemporary to our birth, the dispute seems to be frivolous ; nor it it worth while to enquire at what time thinking be gins, whether before, at, or after our birth. Again, the word, idca, seems to be commonly taken in a very loose
fenfe, even by Mr. Locke himself, as standing for any of our perceptions, our sensations and passions, as well as thoughts. Now in this sense, I should desire to know, what can be meant by asserting, that self-love, or resentment of injuries, or the passion betwixt the sexes is not innate?
But admitting these terms, impresions and ideas, in the sense above explain'd, and understanding by innate what is original or copy'd from no precedent perception, then may we affert, that all our impressions are innate, and our ideas not innate.
To be ingenuous, I must own it to be my opinion, that Mr. Locke was betray'd into this queftion by the schoolmen, who making use of undefin d terms, draw out their disputes to a tedious length, without ever touching the point in queltion. Alike ambiguity and circumlocution seem to run thro' all that great philosopher's reasonings on this subject,
ESSA Y III.
Of the AssociATION of IDEAS.
S T IS evident, that there is a principle of con:
nexion betwixt the different thoughts or ideas of the mind, and that in their appearance to the memory or imagination, they introduce each other with a certain degree of method and regularity. In our more serious thinking or discoarse, this is to ob. fervable, that any particular thought, which breaks in upon this regular trad or chain of ideas, is immediately remark'd and rejected. And even in our wildest and most wandering reveries, nay in our very dreams, we fall find, if we reflect, that the imagination ran not altogether at adventures, but that there was still a connexion upheld among the different ideas, which succeeded each other. Were the loosef and freeft conversation to be transcrib'd, there would immediately be observ'd something, which connected is in all its transitions. Or where this is wanting, the person, who broke the thread of discourse, might