Concerning Human Understanding.
BOOK II. OF IDEAS.
. . . [W]e
do not so constantly love what has done us good; because
pleasure operates not so strongly on us as pain, and
because we are not so ready to have hope it will do so again."1a
"The power of perception is that
which we call the Understanding.
which we make the act of the understanding, is of three sorts:--1.
The perception of ideas in our minds. 2. The perception of
the signification of signs. 3. The perception of the [connexion
or repugnancy,] agreement or disagreement, [that there
is between any of our] ideas."1b*
"Good and evil, present
and absent, it is true, work upon the mind. But that which
immediately determines the will, from time to time, to
every voluntary action, is the uneasiness of desire,
fixed on some absent good: either negative, as indolence to one in
pain; or positive, as enjoyment of pleasure."1c*
. . . What it is moves desire?
I answer,--happiness, and that alone."1d
then, in its full extent, is the utmost pleasure we are
capable of, and misery, the utmost pain .
. . Now, because pleasure and pain are produced in us by the
operation of certain objects, either on our minds or our bodies,
and in different degrees; therefore, what has an aptness to
produce pleasure in us is that we call good,
and what is apt to produce pain in us, we call
evil . . ."1e*
. . . [W]e
have the power to suspend the prosecution of this or
that desire; as every one daily may experiment in
himself. This seems to me the source of all liberty; in this seems
to consist that which is (as I think improperly) called
"Liberty, it is plain,
consists in a power to do, or not to do; to do, or
forbear doing as we will."1g*
. . .[S]ince
consciousness always accompanies thinking,
and it is that which makes every one to be what he calls
self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other
thinking things, in this alone consists personal identity,
i.e. the sameness of a rational being: and so far as
this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or
thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; it is the
same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this
present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done."1h
" . . .
This may show us wherein
personal identity consists: not in the identity of
substance, but, . . . in the identity
of consciousness . . ."1i
. . . [W]ithout
consciousness there is no person . . ."1j
OF KNOWLEDGE AND PROBABILITY.
"Knowledge . . .
consists in the
perception of the agreement or disagreement of ideas."2a
. . .
same is the same, and the same is not different,
are truths known in more particular instances, as well as in
those general maxims . . ."2b*
. . .
is; and it is impossible for the same thing to be and not
. . . [M]atter, incogitative
matter and motion, whatever changes it might produce
of figure and bulk, could never produce thought . . ."2d
. . .
is capable of demonstration as well as mathematics."2e*
. . .
Experience here must teach me what reason cannot:
and it is by
trying alone, that I can certainly know, what other
qualities co-exist with those of my complex idea, v. g. whether
that yellow, heavy, fusible body I call gold, be malleable,
or no . . ."2f*
. . . [W]e may in
reason consider these four degrees: the first and
highest is the discovering and finding out of truths; the second,
the regular and methodical disposition of them, and laying them in
clear and fit order, to make their connexion and force be plainly
and easily perceived; the third is the perceiving their connexion;
and the fourth, a making a right conclusion."2g
. . . I ask how
shall anyone distinguish between the delusions of Satan, and the
inspirations of the Holy Ghost? God when he makes the prophet does
not unmake the man. . . Reason must be our last judge and guide
"They who are blind will always
be led by those that see, or else fall into the ditch: and he
is certainly the most subjected, the most enslaved, who is
so in his understanding."1i
. . .
truth cannot contradict another . . ."2j
"Let ever so much probability
hang on one side of a covetous manï¿½s reasoning, and
money on the other; it is easy to foresee which will