Rabu, 21 November 2007

salam untuk pak adian husaini , mumpung masih muda mari kita belajar terus!

Coleteh hati

Mengapa bukan langsung menulis? Malah asik dengan mencari referensi? Mengapa masih tergoda dengan urgensi dan bukan yang penting dan deadline? Mungkin karena setan, atau karena tema menarik, menyedot perhatian, atau karena ada sesuatu yang baru, padahal itu bisa ditangguhkan, mengapa menjadi tidak fokus, ada selalu keinginan untuk berpindah dari yang terpenting kepada yang penting? Mengapa hati tidak bisa dijaga supaya tetap konsisten?

Setiap momen penuh kegagalan,ketidak sempurnaan, tapi kita jangan terluka oleh hal yang kecil. Jam-per jam dalam hidup tidak bisa kita masuki dengan penuh persiapan dan maksimal tapi sebetulnya kita sedang mengejaknya.

Ada kegembiraan palsu yang diciptakan oleh nafsu atau setan, yaitu kesenangan palsu yagn membuat kita tercengkram, terpesona sehingga lupa tuhan. Ma dza waja man faqadaka wa ma dza faqada man wajadaka? Stasion peralihan hari demi hari, jam perjam minggu perminggu, bulan perbulan tahun demi tahun penuh dengan dinamika, hati-hati ?!

Manusia persis tahu apa yang wajib dilakukan harian, mingguannya? Tapi kenapa ia masih lalai? Lupa dan sibuk dengan cita-cita dan angan-angan, yang terpenting ia lupakan. Itulah fantasia setan dan nafsu, yang menyeret kita menjadi anak-anak cengeng yang ingin dinina bobokan oleh mainan, mainan karir, uang, jabatan, popularitas, pujian, kesan, diistimewakan, disepesialkan dan kesenangan ?hati-hati!

Apa yagn harus dilakuakn mingguan? Solat khusyu dan tepat waktu, puasa mingguan atau bulanan (untuk mensucikan niat dan jiwa), melemahkan hasrat, menghindari hal yang haram dilihat, didengar, dirasa, diperspsi dan haram dilakukan, menjauhi yang syubhat, istigfar sebanyak-banyaknya dnegan ikhlas, selesaikan urusan dengan manusia, hutang kepada allah dan hutang kepada manusia, dan aktif sosial demi sesama baik itu dnegan ilmu, sedekah atau tangan dan tenaga dan pikiran, jangan diam di rumah terus?

Tetapi sampai detik ini, manuisa tidak melakukanya?

Tentang Berkeley dan bukunya

Irish philosopher and Bishop in the Irish Anglican church, he is considered along with Locke and Hume to be one of the great Empiricists. A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin at the age of 19, he was elected to the college as a fellow by 1707, and was made Dean of Derry College in 1724. Most of his writing was done between 1707 and 1713.

His major works include his notebooks: Philosophical Commentaries(1707-08), and the books: &127;Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision(1709), Principles of Human Knowledge(1710), Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous(1713), his Latin work, De Motu(1721), and three later works-- Alciphron(1734), The Analyst(1734), and A Defense of Free Thinking in Mathematics(1744).

Berkeley's earliest work, Vision was primarily a psychological explanation of sight, bordering on early philosophical significance. His Principles was perhaps his most influential work, dealing with such doctrines as abstract general ideas and his own idea of 'Berkeleyan Idealism.' He suggested that if an object is not perceived, it does not exist. Berkeley challenged Locke's assertions in his Essay, arguing that general abstraction, as it is suggested by Locke and even Plato is wrong. He asserts that some abstracted ideas are impossible objects, and that these are not necessary parts of learning and used language.(This is the principle impetus for Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.) Berekeley's Idealism comes out of this theory: he rests his ideas of metaphysical realism, absolute spave, and absolute motion and time upon his assertions about abstract ideas.

In his Dialogues Berkeley argues that sensible qualities are ideas. He defends common sense, calls representative realism false, and argues for a positive conception of epistemology. Lastly, he argues against the existence of matter on the grounds that we have no sensible idea of it. He supports the idea that we learn about the existence and nature of ordinary physical objects by means of perception

George Berkeley (1685–1753). Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

The First Dialogue

PHILONOUS. Good morrow, Hylas: I did not expect to find you abroad so early.

Hylas. It is indeed something unusual; but my thoughts were so taken up with a subject I was discoursing of last night, that finding I could not sleep, I resolved to rise and take a turn in the garden.

Phil. It happened well, to let you see what innocent and agreeable pleasures you lose every morning. Can there be a pleasanter time of the day, or a more delightful season of the year? That purple sky, those wild but sweet notes of birds, the fragrant bloom upon the trees and flowers, the gentle influence of the rising sun, these and a thousand nameless beauties of nature inspire the soul with secret transports; its faculties too being at this time fresh and lively, are fit for those meditations, which the solitude of a garden and tranquillity of the morning naturally dispose us to. But I am afraid I interrupt your thoughts: for you seemed very intent on something.

Hyl. It is true, I was, and shall be obliged to you if you will permit me to go on in the same vein; not that I would by any means deprive myself of your company, for my thoughts always flow more easily in conversation with a friend, than when I am alone: but my request is, that you would suffer me to impart my reflexions to you.

4

Phil. With all my heart, it is what I should have requested myself if you had not prevented me.

Hyl. I was considering the odd fate of those men who have in all ages, through an affectation of being distinguished from the vulgar, or some unaccountable turn of thought, pretended either to believe nothing at all, or to believe the most extravagant things in the world. This however might be borne, if their paradoxes and scepticism did not draw after them some consequences of general disadvantage to mankind. But the mischief lieth here; that when men of less leisure see them who are supposed to have spent their whole time in the pursuits of knowledge professing an entire ignorance of all things, or advancing such notions as are repugnant to plain and commonly received principles, they will be tempted to entertain suspicions concerning the most important truths, which they had hitherto held sacred and unquestionable.

Phil. I entirely agree with you, as to the ill tendency of the affected doubts of some philosophers, and fantastical conceits of others. I am even so far gone of late in this way of thinking, that I have quitted several of the sublime notions I had got in their schools for vulgar opinions. And I give it you on my word; since this revolt from metaphysical notions to the plain dictates of nature and common sense, I find my understanding strangely enlightened, so that I can now easily comprehend a great many things which before were all mystery and riddle.

Hyl. I am glad to find there was nothing in the accounts I heard of you.

8

Phil. Pray, what were those?

Hyl. You were represented, in last night’s conversation, as one who maintained the most extravagant opinion that ever entered into the mind of man, to wit, that there is no such thing as material substance in the world.

Phil. That there is no such thing as what philosophers call material substance, I am seriously persuaded: but, if I were made to see anything absurd or sceptical in this, I should then have the same reason to renounce this that I imagine I have now to reject the contrary opinion.

Hyl. What I can anything be more fantastical, more repugnant to Common Sense, or a more manifest piece of Scepticism, than to believe there is no such thing as matter?

12

Phil. Softly, good Hylas. What if it should prove that you, who hold there is, are, by virtue of that opinion, a greater sceptic, and maintain more paradoxes and repugnances to Common Sense, than I who believe no such thing?

Hyl. You may as soon persuade me, the part is greater than the whole, as that, in order to avoid absurdity and Scepticism, I should ever be obliged to give up my opinion in this point.

Phil. Well then, are you content to admit that opinion for true, which upon examination shall appear most agreeable to Common Sense, and remote from Scepticism?

Hyl. With all my heart. Since you are for raising disputes about the plainest things in nature, I am content for once to hear what you have to say.

16

Phil. Pray, Hylas, what do you mean by a sceptic?

Hyl. I mean what all men mean—one that doubts of everything.

Phil. He then who entertains no doubts concerning some particular point, with regard to that point cannot be thought a sceptic.

Hyl. I agree with you.

20

Phil. Whether doth doubting consist in embracing the affirmative or negative side of a question?

Hyl. In neither; for whoever understands English cannot but know that doubting signifies a suspense between both.

Phil. He then that denies any point, can no more be said to doubt of it, than he who affirmeth it with the same degree of assurance.

Hyl. True.

24

Phil. And, consequently, for such his denial is no more to be esteemed a sceptic than the other.

Hyl. I acknowledge it.

Phil. How cometh it to pass then, Hylas, that you pronounce me a sceptic, because I deny what you affirm, to wit, the existence of Matter? Since, for aught you can tell, I am as peremptory in my denial, as you in your affirmation.

Hyl. Hold, Philonous, I have been a little out in my definition; but every false step a man makes in discourse is not to be insisted on. I said indeed that a sceptic was one who doubted of everything; but I should have added, or who denies the reality and truth of things.

28

Phil. What things? Do you mean the principles and theorems of sciences? But these you know are universal intellectual notions, and consequently independent of Matter. The denial therefore of this doth not imply the denying them.

Hyl. I grant it. But are there no other things? What think you of distrusting the senses, of denying the real existence of sensible things, or pretending to know nothing of them. Is not this sufficient to denominate a man a sceptic?

Phil. Shall we therefore examine which of us it is that denies the reality of sensible things, or professes the greatest ignorance of them; since, if I take you rightly, he is to be esteemed the greatest sceptic?

Hyl. That is what I desire.

32

Phil. What mean you by Sensible Things?

Hyl. Those things which are perceived by the senses. Can you imagine that I mean anything else?

Phil. Pardon me, Hylas, if I am desirous clearly to apprehend your notions, since this may much shorten our inquiry. Suffer me then to ask you this farther question. Are those things only perceived by the senses which are perceived immediately? Or, may those things properly be said to be sensible which are perceived mediately, or not without the intervention of others?

36

Hyl. I do not sufficiently understand you.

Phil. In reading a book, what I immediately perceive are the letters; but mediately, or by means of these, are suggested to my mind the notions of God, virtue, truth, &c. Now, that the letters are truly sensible things, or perceived by sense, there is no doubt: but I would know whether you take the things suggested by them to be so too.

Hyl. No, certainly: it were absurd to think God or virtue sensible things; though they may be signified and suggested to the mind by sensible marks, with which they have an arbitrary connexion.

Phil. It seems then, that by sensible things you mean those only which can be perceived immediately by sense?

40

Hyl. Right.

Phil. Doth it not follow from this, that though I see one part of the sky red, and another blue, and that my reason doth thence evidently conclude there must be some cause of that diversity of colours, yet that cause cannot be said to be a sensible thing, or perceived by the sense of seeing?

Hyl. It doth.

Phil. In like manner, though I hear variety of sounds, yet I cannot be said to hear the causes of those sounds?

44

Hyl. You cannot.

Phil. And when by my touch I perceive a thing to be hot and heavy, I cannot say, with any truth or propriety, that I feel the cause of its heat or weight?

Hyl. To prevent any more questions of this kind, I tell you once for all, that by sensible things I mean those only which are perceived by sense; and that in truth the senses perceive nothing which they do not perceive immediately: for they make no inferences. The deducing therefore of causes or occasions from effects and appearances, which alone are perceived by sense, entirely relates to reason.

Phil. This point then is agreed between us—That sensible things are those only which are immediately perceived by sense. You will farther inform me, whether we immediately perceive by sight anything beside light, and colours, and figures; or by hearing, anything but sounds; by the palate, anything beside tastes; by the smell, beside odours; or by the touch, more than tangible qualities.

48

Hyl. We do not.

Phil. It seems, therefore, that if you take away all sensible qualities, there remains nothing sensible?

Hyl. I grant it.

Phil. Sensible things therefore are nothing else but so many sensible qualities, or combinations of sensible qualities?

52

Hyl. Nothing else.

Phil. Heat then is a sensible thing?

Hyl. Certainly.

Phil. Doth the reality of sensible things consist in being perceived? or, is it something distinct from their being perceived, and that bears no relation to the mind?

56

Hyl. To exist is one thing, and to be perceived is another.

Phil. I speak with regard to sensible things only. And of these I ask, whether by their real existence you mean a subsistence exterior to the mind, and distinct from their being perceived?

Hyl. I mean a real absolute being, distinct from, and without any relation to, their being perceived.

Phil. Heat therefore, if it be allowed a real being, must exist without the mind?

60

Hyl. It must.

Phil. Tell me, Hylas, is this real existence equally compatible to all degrees of heat, which we perceive; or is there any reason why we should attribute it to some, and deny it to others? And if there be, pray let me know that reason.

Hyl. Whatever degree of heat we perceive by sense, we may be sure the same exists in the object that occasions it.

Phil. What! the greatest as well as the least?

64

Hyl. I tell you, the reason is plainly the same in respect of both. They are both perceived by sense; nay, the greater degree of heat is more sensibly perceived; and consequently, if there is any difference, we are more certain of its real existence than we can be of the reality of a lesser degree.

Phil. But is not the most vehement and intense degree of heat a very great pain?

Hyl. No one can deny it.

Phil. And is any unperceiving thing capable of pain or pleasure?

68

Hyl. No, certainly.

Phil. Is your material substance a senseless being, or a being endowed with sense and perception?

Hyl. It is senseless without doubt.

Phil. It cannot therefore be the subject of pain?

72

Hyl. By no means.

Phil. Nor consequently of the greatest heat perceived by sense, since you acknowledge this to be no small pain?

Hyl. I grant it.

Phil. What shall we say then of your external object; is it a material substance, or no?

76

Hyl. It is a material substance with the sensible qualities inhering in it.

Phil. How then can a great heat exist in it, since you own it cannot in a material substance? I desire you would clear this point.

Hyl. Hold, Philonous, I fear I was out in yielding intense heat to be a pain. It should seem rather, that pain is something distinct from heat, and the consequence or effect of it.

Phil. Upon putting your hand near the fire, do you perceive one simple uniform sensation, or two distinct sensations?

80

Hyl. But one simple sensation.

Phil. Is not the heat immediately perceived?,

Hyl. It is.

Phil. And the pain?

84

Hyl. True.

Phil. Seeing therefore they are both immediately perceived at the same time, and the fire affects you only with one simple or uncompounded idea, it follows that this same simple idea is both the intense heat immediately perceived, and the pain; and, consequently, that the intense heat immediately perceived is nothing distinct from a particular sort of pain.

Hyl. It seems so.

Phil. Again, try in your thoughts, Hylas, if you can conceive a vehement sensation to be without pain or pleasure.

88

Hyl. I cannot.

Phil. Or can you frame to yourself an idea of sensible pain or pleasure in general, abstracted from every particular idea of heat, cold, tastes, smells? &c.

Hyl. I do not find that I can.

Phil. Doth it not therefore follow, that sensible pain is nothing distinct from those sensations or ideas, in an intense degree?

92

Hyl. It is undeniable; and, to speak the truth, I begin to suspect a very great heat cannot exist but in a mind perceiving it.

Phil. What! are you then in that sceptical state of suspense, between affirming and denying?

Hyl. I think I may be positive in the point. A very violent and painful heat cannot exist without the mind.

Phil. It hath not therefore according to you, any real being?

96

Hyl. I own it.

Phil. Is it therefore certain, that there is no body in nature really hot?

Hyl. I have not denied there is any real heat in bodies. I only say, there is no such thing as an intense real heat.

Phil. But, did you not say before that all degrees of heat were equally real; or, if there was any difference, that the greater were more undoubtedly real than the lesser?

100

Hyl. True: but it was because I did not then consider the ground there is for distinguishing between them, which I now plainly see. And it is this: because intense heat is nothing else but a particular kind of painful sensation; and pain cannot exist but in a perceiving being; it follows that no intense heat can really exist in an unperceiving corporeal substance. But this is no reason why we should deny heat in an inferior degree to exist in such a substance.

Phil. But how shall we be able to discern those degrees of heat which exist only in the mind from those which exist without it?

Hyl. That is no difficult matter. You know the least pain cannot exist unperceived; whatever, therefore, degree of heat is a pain exists only in the mind. But, as for all other degrees of heat, nothing obliges us to think the same of them.

Phil. I think you granted before that no unperceiving being was capable of pleasure, any more than of pain.

104

Hyl. I did.

Phil. And is not warmth, or a more gentle degree of heat than what causes uneasiness, a pleasure?

Hyl. What then?

Phil. Consequently, it cannot exist without the mind in an unperceiving substance, or body.

108

Hyl. So it seems.

Phil. Since, therefore, as well those degrees of heat that are not painful, as those that are, can exist only in a thinking substance; may we not conclude that external bodies are absolutely incapable of any degree of heat whatsoever?

Hyl. On second thoughts, I do not think it so evident that warmth is a pleasure as that a great degree of heat is a pain.

Phil. I do not pretend that warmth is as great a pleasure as heat is a pain. But, if you grant it to be even a small pleasure, it serves to make good my conclusion.

112

Hyl. I could rather call it an indolence. It seems to be nothing more than a privation of both pain and pleasure. And that such a quality or state as this may agree to an unthinking substance, I hope you will not deny.

Phil. If you are resolved to maintain that warmth, or a gentle degree of heat, is no pleasure, I know not how to convince you otherwise than by appealing to your own sense. But what think you of cold?

Hyl. The same that I do of heat. An intense degree of cold is a pain; for to feel a very great cold, is to perceive a great uneasiness: it cannot therefore exist without the mind; but a lesser degree of cold may, as well as a lesser degree of heat.

Phil. Those bodies, therefore, upon whose application to our own, we perceive a moderate degree of heat, must be concluded to have a moderate degree of heat or warmth in them; and those, upon whose application we feel a like degree of cold, must be thought to have cold in them.

116

Hyl. They must.

Phil. Can any doctrine be true that necessarily leads a man into an absurdity?

Hyl. Without doubt it cannot.

Phil. Is it not an absurdity to think that the same thing should be at the same time both cold and warm?

120

Hyl. It is.

Phil. Suppose now one of your hands hot, and the other cold, and that they are both at once put into the same vessel of water, in an intermediate state; will not the water seem cold to one hand, and warm to the other?

Hyl. It will.

Phil. Ought we not therefore, by your principles, to conclude it is really both cold and warm at the same time, that is, according to your own concession, to believe an absurdity?

124

Hyl. I confess it seems so.

Phil. Consequently, the principles themselves are false, since you have granted that no true principle leads to an absurdity.

Hyl. But, after all, can anything be more absurd than to say, there is no heat in the fire?

Phil. To make the point still clearer; tell me whether, in two cases exactly alike, we ought not to make the same judgment?

128

.Hyl. We ought.

Phil. When a pin pricks your finger, doth it not rend and divide the fibres of your flesh?

Hyl. It doth.

Phil. And when a coal burns your finger, doth it any more?

132

Hyl. It doth not.

Phil. Since, therefore, you neither judge the sensation itself occasioned by the pin, nor anything like it to be in the pin; you should not, conformably to what you have now granted, judge the sensation occasioned by the fire, or anything like it, to be in the fire.

Hyl. Well, since it must be so, I am content to yield this point, and acknowledge that heat and cold are only sensations existing in our minds. But there still remain qualities enough to secure the reality of external things.

Phil. But what will you say, Hylas, if it shall appear that the case is the same with regard to all other sensible qualities, and that they can no more be supposed to exist without the mind, than heat and cold?

136

Hyl. Then indeed you will have done something to the purpose; but that is what I despair of seeing proved.

Phil. Let us examine them in order. What think you of tastes—do they exist without the mind, or no?

Hyl. Can any man in his senses doubt whether sugar is sweet, or wormwood bitter?

Phil. Inform me, Hylas. Is a sweet taste a particular kind of pleasure or pleasant sensation, or is it not?

140

Hyl. It is.

Phil. And is not bitterness some kind of uneasiness or pain?

Hyl. I grant it.

Phil. If therefore sugar and wormwood are unthinking corporeal substances existing without the mind, how can sweetness and bitterness, that is, Pleasure and pain, agree to them?

144

Hyl. Hold, Philonous, I now see what it was delude time. You asked whether heat and cold, sweetness at were not particular sorts of pleasure and pain; to which simply, that they were. Whereas I should have thus distinguished:—those qualities, as perceived by us, are pleasures or pair existing in the external objects. We must not therefore conclude absolutely, that there is no heat in the fire, or sweetness in the sugar, but only that heat or sweetness, as perceived by us, are not in the fire or sugar. What say you to this?

Phil. I say it is nothing to the purpose. Our discourse proceeded altogether concerning sensible things, which you defined to be, the things we immediately perceive by our senses. Whatever other qualities, therefore, you speak of as distinct from these, I know nothing of them, neither do they at all belong to the point in dispute. You may, indeed, pretend to have discovered certain qualities which you do not perceive, and assert those insensible qualities exist in fire and sugar. But what use can be made of this to your present purpose, I am at a loss to conceive. Tell me then once more, do you acknowledge that heat and cold, sweetness and bitterness (meaning those qualities which are perceived by the senses), do not exist without the mind?

Hyl. I see it is to no purpose to hold out, so I give up the cause as to those mentioned qualities. Though I profess it sounds oddly, to say that sugar is not sweet.

Phil. But, for your farther satisfaction, take this along with you: that which at other times seems sweet, shall, to a distempered palate, appear bitter. And, nothing can be plainer than that divers persons perceive different tastes in the same food; since that which one man delights in, another abhors. And how could this be, if the taste was something really inherent in the food?

148

Hyl. I acknowledge I know not how.

Phil. In the next place, odours are to be considered. And, with regard to these, I would fain know whether what hath been said of tastes doth not exactly agree to them? Are they not so many pleasing or displeasing sensations?

Hyl. They are.

Phil. Can you then conceive it possible that they should exist in an unperceiving thing?

152

Hyl. I cannot.

Phil. Or, can you imagine that filth and ordure affect those brute animals that feed on them out of choice, with the same smells which we perceive in them?

Hyl. By no means.

Phil. May we not therefore conclude of smells, as of the other forementioned qualities, that they cannot exist in any but a perceiving substance or mind?

156

Hyl. I think so.

Phil. Then as to sounds, what must we think of them: are they accidents really inherent in external bodies, or not?

Hyl. That they inhere not in the sonorous bodies is plain from hence: because a bell struck in the exhausted receiver of an air-pump sends forth no sound. The air, therefore, must be thought the subject of sound.

Phil. What reason is there for that, Hylas?

160

Hyl. Because, when any motion is raised in the air, we perceive a sound greater or lesser, according to the air’s motion; but without some motion in the air, we never hear any sound at all.

Phil. And granting that we never hear a sound but when some motion is produced in the air, yet I do not see how you can infer from thence, that the sound itself is in the air.

Hyl. It is this very motion in the external air that produces in the mind the sensation of sound. For, striking on the drum of the ear, it causeth a vibration, which by the auditory nerves being communicated to the brain, the soul is thereupon affected with the sensation called sound.

Phil. What! is sound then a sensation?

164

Hyl. I tell you, as perceived by us, it is a particular sensation in the mind.

Phil. And can any sensation exist without the mind?

Hyl. No, certainly.

Phil. How then can sound, being a sensation, exist in the air, if by the air you mean a senseless substance existing without the mind?

168

Hyl. You must distinguish, Philonous, between sound as it is perceived by us, and as it is in itself; or (which is the same thing) between the sound we immediately perceive, and that which exists without us. The former, indeed, is a particular kind of sensation, but the latter is merely a vibrative or undulatory motion the air.

Phil. I thought I had already obviated that distinction, by answer I gave when you were applying it in a like case before. But, to say no more of that, are you sure then that sound is really nothing but motion?

Hyl. I am.

Phil. Whatever therefore agrees to real sound, may with truth be attributed to motion?

172

Hyl. It may.

Phil. It is then good sense to speak of motion as of a thing that is loud, sweet, acute, or grave.

Hyl. I see you are resolved not to understand me. Is it not evident those accidents or modes belong only to sensible sound, or sound in the common acceptation of the word, but not to sound in the real and philosophic sense; which, as I just now told you, is nothing but a certain motion of the air?

Phil. It seems then there are two sorts of sound—the one vulgar, or that which is heard, the other philosophical and real?

176

Hyl. Even so.

Phil. And the latter consists in motion?

Hyl. I told you so before.

Phil. Tell me, Hylas, to which of the senses, think you, the idea of motion belongs? to the hearing?

180

Hyl. No, certainly; but to the sight and touch.

Phil. It should follow then, that, according to you, real sounds may possibly be seen or felt, but never heard.

Hyl. Look you, Philonous, you may, if you please, make a jest of my opinion, but that will not alter the truth of things. I own, indeed, the inferences you draw me into sound something oddly; but common language, you know, is framed by, and for the use of the vulgar: we must not therefore wonder if expressions adapted to exact philosophic notions seem uncouth and out of the way.

Phil. Is it come to that? I assure you, I imagine myself to have gained no small point, since you make so light of departing from common phrases and opinions; it being a main part of our inquiry, to examine whose notions are widest of the common road, and most repugnant to the general sense of the world. But, can you think it no more than a philosophical paradox, to say that real sounds are never heard, and that the idea of them is obtained by some other sense? And is there nothing in this contrary to nature and the truth of things?

184

Hyl. To deal ingenuously, I do not like it. And, after the concessions already made, I had as well grant that sounds too have no real being without the mind.

Phil. And I hope you will make no difficulty to acknowledge the same of colours.

Hyl. Pardon me: the case of colours is very different. Can anything be plainer than that we see them on the objects?

Phil. The objects you speak of are, I suppose, corporeal Substances existing without the mind?

188

Hyl. They are.

Phil. And have true and real colours inhering in them?

Hyl. Each visible object hath that colour which we see in it.

Phil. How! is there anything visible but what we perceive by sight?

192

Hyl. There is not.

Phil. And, do we perceive anything by sense which we do not perceive immediately?

Hyl. How often must I be obliged to repeat the same thing? I tell you, we do not.

Phil. Have patience, good Hylas; and tell me once more, whether there is anything immediately perceived by the senses, except sensible qualities. I know you asserted there was not; but I would now be informed, whether you still persist in the same opinion.

196

Hyl. I do.

Phil. Pray, is your corporeal substance either a sensible quality, or made up of sensible qualities?

Hyl. What a question that is! who ever thought it was?

Phil. My reason for asking was, because in saying, each visible object hath that colour which we see in it, you make visible objects to be corporeal substances; which implies either that corporeal substances are sensible qualities, or else that there is something besides sensible qualities perceived by sight: but, as this point was formerly agreed between us, and is still maintained by you, it is a clear consequence, that your corporeal substance is nothing distinct from sensible qualities.

200

Hyl. You may draw as many absurd consequences as you please, and endeavour to perplex the plainest things; but you shall never persuade me out of my senses. I clearly understand my own meaning.

Phil. I wish you would make me understand it too. But, since you are unwilling to have your notion of corporeal substance examined, I shall urge that point no farther. Only be pleased to let me know, whether the same colours which we see exist in external bodies, or some other.

Hyl. The very same.

Phil. What! are then the beautiful red and purple we see on yonder clouds really in them? Or do you imagine they have in themselves any other form than that of a dark mist or vapour?

204

Hyl. I must own, Philonous, those colours are not really in the clouds as they seem to be at this distance. They are only apparent colours.

Phil. Apparent call you them? how shall we distinguish these apparent colours from real?

Hyl. Very easily. Those are to be thought apparent which, appearing only at a distance, vanish upon a nearer approach.

Phil. And those, I suppose, are to be thought real which are discovered by the most near and exact survey.

208

Hyl. Right.

Phil. Is the nearest and exactest survey made by the help of a microscope, or by the naked eye?

Hyl. By a microscope, doubtless.

Phil. But a microscope often discovers colours in an object different from those perceived by the unassisted sight. And, in case we had microscopes magnifying to any assigned degree, it is certain that no object whatsoever, viewed through them, would appear in the same colour which it exhibits to the naked eye.

212

Hyl. And what will you conclude from all this? You cannot argue that there are really and naturally no colours on objects: because by artificial managements they may be altered, or made to vanish.

Phil. I think it may evidently be concluded from your own concessions, that all the colours we see with our naked eyes are only apparent as those on the clouds, since they vanish upon a more close and accurate inspection which is afforded us by a microscope. Then’ as to what you say by way of prevention: I ask you whether the real and natural state of an object is better discovered by a very sharp and piercing sight, or by one which is less sharp?

Hyl. By the former without doubt.

Phil. Is it not plain from Dioptrics that microscopes make the sight more penetrating, and represent objects as they would appear to the eye in case it were naturally endowed with a most exquisite sharpness?

216

Hyl. It is.

Phil. Consequently the microscopical representation is to be thought that which best sets forth the real nature of the thing, or what it is in itself. The colours, therefore, by it perceived are more genuine and real than those perceived otherwise.

Hyl. I confess there is something in what you say.

Phil. Besides, it is not only possible but manifest, that there actually are animals whose eyes are by nature framed to perceive those things which by reason of their minuteness escape our sight. What think you of those inconceivably small animals perceived by glasses? must we suppose they are all stark blind? Or, in case they see, can it be imagined their sight hath not the same use in preserving their bodies from injuries, which appears in that of all other animals? And if it hath, is it not evident they must see particles less than their own bodies; which will present them with a far different view in each object from that which strikes our senses? Even our own eyes do not always represent objects to us after the same manner. In the jaundice every one knows that all things seem yellow. Is it not therefore highly probable those animals in whose eyes we discern a very different texture from that of ours, and whose bodies abound with different humours, do not see the same colours in every object that we do? From all which, should it not seem to follow that all colours are equally apparent, and that none of those which we perceive are really inherent in any outward object?

220

Hyl. It should.

Phil. The point will be past all doubt, if you consider that, in case colours were real properties or affections inherent in external bodies, they could admit of no alteration without some change wrought in the very bodies themselves: but, is it not evident from what hath been said that, upon the use of microscopes, upon a change happening in the burnouts of the eye, or a variation of distance, without any manner of real alteration in the thing itself, the colours of any object are either changed, or totally disappear? Nay, all other circumstances remaining the same, change but the situation of some objects, and they shall present different colours to the eye. The same thing happens upon viewing an object in various degrees of light. And what is more known than that the same bodies appear differently coloured by candle-light from what they do in the open day? Add to these the experiment of a prism which, separating the heterogeneous rays of light, alters the colour of any object, and will cause the whitest to appear of a deep blue or red to the naked eye. And now tell me whether you are still of opinion that every body hath its true real colour inhering in it; and, if you think it hath, I would fain know farther from you, what certain distance and position of the object, what peculiar texture and formation of the eye, what degree or kind of light is necessary for ascertaining that true colour, and distinguishing it from apparent ones.

Hyl. I own myself entirely satisfied, that they are all equally apparent, and that there is no such thing as colour really inhering in external bodies, but that it is altogether in the light. And what confirms me in this opinion is, that in proportion to the light colours are still more or less vivid; and if there be no light, then are there no colours perceived. Besides, allowing there are colours on external objects, yet, how is it possible for us to perceive them? For no external body affects the mind, unless it acts first on our organs of sense. But the only action of bodies is motion; and motion cannot be communicated otherwise than by impulse. A distant object therefore cannot act on the eye; nor consequently make itself or its properties perceivable to the soul. Whence it plainly follows that it is immediately some contiguous substance, which, operating on the eye, occasions a perception of colours: and such is light.

Phil. Howl is light then a substance?

224

Hyl.. I tell you, Philonous, external light is nothing but a thin fluid substance, whose minute particles being agitated with a brisk motion, and in various manners reflected from the different surfaces of outward objects to the eyes, communicate different motions to the optic nerves; which, being propagated to the brain, cause therein various impressions; and these are attended with the sensations of red, blue, yellow, &c.

Phil. It seems then the light doth no more than shake the optic nerves.

Hyl. Nothing else.

Phil. And consequent to each particular motion of the nerves, the mind is affected with a sensation, which is some particular colour.

228

Hyl. Right.

Phil. And these sensations have no existence without the mind.

Hyl. They have not.

Phil. How then do you affirm that colours are in the light; since by light you understand a corporeal substance external to the mind?

232

Hyl. Light and colours, as immediately perceived by us, I grant cannot exist without the mind. But in themselves they are only the motions and configurations of certain insensible particles of matter.

Phil. Colours then, in the vulgar sense, or taken for the immediate objects of sight, cannot agree to any but a perceiving substance.

Hyl. That is what I say.

Phil. Well then, since you give up the point as to those sensible qualities which are alone thought colours by all mankind beside, you may hold what you please with regard to those invisible ones of the philosophers. It is not my business to dispute about them; only I would advise you to bethink yourself, whether, considering the inquiry we are upon, it be prudent for you to affirm—the red and blue which we see are not real colours, but certain unknown motions and figures which no man ever did or can see are truly so. Are not these shocking notions, and are not they subject to as many ridiculous inferences, as those you were obliged to renounce before in the case of sounds?

236

Hyl. I frankly own, Philonous, that it is in vain to longer. Colours, sounds, tastes, in a word all those termed secondary qualities, have certainly no existence without the mind. But by this acknowledgment I must not be supposed to derogate, the reality of Matter, or external objects; seeing it is no more than several philosophers maintain, who nevertheless are the farthest imaginable from denying Matter. For the clearer understanding of this, you must know sensible qualities are by philosophers divided into Primary and Secondary. The former are Extension, Figure, Solidity, Gravity, Motion, and Rest; and these they hold exist really in bodies. The latter are those above enumerated; or, briefly, all sensible qualities beside the Primary; which they assert are only so many sensations or ideas existing nowhere but in the mind. But all this, I doubt not, you are apprised of. For my part, I have been a long time sensible there was such an opinion current among philosophers, but was never thoroughly convinced of its truth until now.

Phil. You are still then of opinion that extension and figures are inherent in external unthinking substances?

Hyl. I am.

Phil. But what if the same arguments which are brought against Secondary Qualities will hold good against these also?

240

Hyl. Why then I shall be obliged to think, they too exist only in the mind.

Phil. Is it your opinion the very figure and extension which you perceive by sense exist in the outward object or material substance?

Hyl. It is.

244

Phil. Have all other animals as good grounds to think the same of the figure and extension which they see and feel?

Hyl. Without doubt, if they have any thought at all.

Phil. Answer me, Hylas. Think you the senses were bestowed upon all animals for their preservation and well-being in life? or were they given to men alone for this end?

Hyl. I make no question but they have the same use in all other animals.

248

Phil. If so, is it not necessary they should be enabled by them to perceive their own limbs, and those bodies which are capable of harming them?

Hyl. Certainly.

Phil. A mite therefore must be supposed to see his own foot, and things equal or even less than it, as bodies of some considerable dimension; though at the same time they appear to you scarce discernible, or at best as so many visible points?

Hyl. I cannot deny it.

252

Phil. And to creatures less than the mite they will seem yet larger?

Hyl. They will.

Phil. Insomuch that what you can hardly discern will to another extremely minute animal appear as some huge mountain?

Hyl. All this I grant.

256

Phil. Can one and the same thing be at the same time in itself of different dimensions?

Hyl. That were absurd to imagine.

Phil. But, from what you have laid down it follows that both the extension by you perceived, and that perceived by the mite itself, as likewise all those perceived by lesser animals, are each of them the true extension of the mite’s foot; that is to say, by your own principles you are led into an absurdity.

Hyl. There seems to be some difficulty in the point.

260

Phil. Again, have you not acknowledged that no real inherent property of any object can be changed without some change in the thing itself?

Hyl. I have.

Phil. But, as we approach to or recede from an object, the visible extension varies, being at one distance ten or a hundred times greater than another. Doth it not therefore follow from hence likewise that it is not really inherent in the object?

Hyl. I own I am at a loss what to think.

264

Phil. Your judgment will soon be determined, if you will venture to think as freely concerning this quality as you have done concerning the rest. Was it not admitted as a good argument, that neither heat nor cold was in the water, because it seemed warm to one hand and cold to the other?

Hyl. It was.

Phil. Is it not the very same reasoning to conclude, there is no extension or figure in an object, because to one eye it shall seem little, smooth, and round, when at the same time it appears to the other, great, uneven, and regular?

Hyl. The very same. But does this latter fact ever happen?

268

Phil. You may at any time make the experiment, by looking with one eye bare, and with the other through a microscope.

Hyl. I know not how to maintain it; and yet I am loath to give up extension, I see so many odd consequences following upon such a concession.

Phil. Odd, say you? After the concessions already made, I hope you will stick at nothing for its oddness. [ 1 But, on the other hand, should it not seem very odd, if the general reasoning which includes all other sensible qualities did not also include extension? If it be allowed that no idea, nor anything like an idea, can exist in an unperceiving substance, then surely it follows that no figure, or mode of extension, which we can either perceive, or imagine, or have any idea of, can be really inherent in Matter; not to mention the peculiar difficulty there must be in conceiving a material substance, prior to and distinct from extension to be the substratum of extension. Be the sensible quality what it will—figure, or sound, or colour, it seems alike impossible it should subsist in that which doth not perceive it.]

Hyl. I give up the point for the present, reserving still a right to retract my opinion, in case I shall hereafter discover any false step in my progress to it.

272

Phil. That is a right you cannot be denied. Figures and extension being despatched, we proceed next to motion. Can a real motion in any external body be at the same time very swift and very slow?

Hyl. It cannot.

Phil. Is not the motion of a body swift in a reciprocal proportion to the time it takes up in describing any given space? Thus a body that describes a mile in an hour moves three times faster than it would in case it described only a mile in three hours.

Hyl. I agree with you.

276

Phil. And is not time measured by the succession of ideas in our minds?

Hyl. It is.

Phil. And is it not possible ideas should succeed one another twice as fast in your mind as they do in mine, or in that of some spirit of another kind?

Hyl. I own it.

280

Phil. Consequently the same body may to another seem to perform its motion over any space in half the time that it doth to you. And the same reasoning will hold as to any other proportion: that is to say, according to your principles (since the motions perceived are both really in the object) it is possible one and the same body shall be really moved the same way at once, both very swift and very slow. How is this consistent either with common sense, or with what you just now granted?

Hyl. I have nothing to say to it.

Phil. Then as for solidity; either you do not mean any sensible quality by that word, and so it is beside our inquiry: or if you do, it must be either hardness or resistance. But both the one and the other are plainly relative to our senses: it being evident that what seems hard to one animal may appear soft to another, who hath greater force and firmness of limbs. Nor is it less plain that the resistance I feel is not in the body.

Hyl. I own the very sensation of resistance, which is all you immediately perceive, is not in the body; but the cause of that sensation is.

284

Phil. But the causes of our sensations are not things immediately perceived, and therefore are not sensible. This point I thought had been already determined.

Hyl. I own it was; but you will pardon me if I seem a little embarrassed: I know not how to quit my old notions.

Phil. To help you out, do but consider that if extension be once acknowledged to have no existence without the mind, the same must necessarily be granted of motion, solidity, and gravity; since they all evidently suppose extension. It is therefore superfluous to inquire particularly concerning each of them. In denying extension, you have denied them all to have any real existence.

Hyl. I wonder, Philonous, if what you say be true, why those philosophers who deny the Secondary Qualities any real existence should yet attribute it to the Primary. If there is no difference between them, how can this be accounted for?

288

Phil. It is not my business to account for every opinion of the philosophers. But, among other reasons which may be assigned for this, it seems probable that pleasure and pain being rather annexed to the former than the latter may be one. Heat and cold, tastes and smells, have something more vividly pleasing or disagreeable than the ideas of extension, figure, and motion affect us with. And, it being too visibly absurd to hold that pain or pleasure can be in an unperceiving substance, men are more easily weaned from believing the external existence of the Secondary than the Primary Qualities. You will be satisfied there is something in this, if you recollect the difference you made between an intense and more moderate degree of heat; allowing the one a real existence, while you denied it to the other. But, after all, there is no rational ground for that distinction; for, surely an indifferent sensation is as truly a sensation as one more pleasing or painful; and consequently should not any more than they be supposed to exist in an unthinking subject.

Hyl. It is just come into my head, Philonous, that I have somewhere heard of a distinction between absolute and sensible extension. Now, though it be acknowledged that great and small, consisting merely in the relation which other extended beings have to the parts of our own bodies, do not really inhere in the substances themselves; yet nothing obliges us to hold the same with regard to absolute extension, which is something abstracted from great and small, from this or that particular magnitude or figure. So likewise as to motion; swift and slow are altogether relative to the succession of ideas in our own minds. But, it doth not follow, because those modifications of motion exist not without the mind, that therefore absolute motion abstracted from them doth not.

Phil. Pray what is it that distinguishes one motion, or one part of extension, from another? Is it not something sensible, as some degree of swiftness or slowness, some certain magnitude or figure peculiar to each?

Hyl. I think so.

292

Phil. These qualities, therefore, stripped of all sensible properties, are without all specific and numerical differences, as the schools call them.

Hyl. They are.

Phil. That is to say, they are extension in general, and motion in general.

Hyl. Let it be so.

296

Phil. But it is a universally received maxim that Everything which exists is particular. How then can motion in general, or extension in general, exist in any corporeal substance?

Hyl. I will take time to solve your difficulty.

Phil. But I think the point may be speedily decided. Without doubt you can tell whether you are able to frame this or that idea. Now I am content to put our dispute on this issue. If you can frame in your thoughts a distinct abstract idea of motion or extension, divested of all those sensible modes, as swift and slow, great and small, round and square, and the like, which are acknowledged to exist only in the mind, I will then yield the point you contend for. But if you cannot, it will be unreasonable on your side to insist any longer upon what you have no notion of.

Hyl. To confess ingenuously, I cannot.

300

Phil. Can you even separate the ideas of extension and motion from the ideas of all those qualities which they who make the distinction term secondary?

Hyl. What! is it not an easy matter to consider extension and motion by themselves, abstracted from all other sensible qualities? Pray how do the mathematicians treat of them?

Phil. I acknowledge, Hylas, it is not difficult to form general propositions and reasonings about those qualities, without mentioning any other; and, in this sense, to consider or treat of them abstractedly. But, how doth it follow that, because I can pronounce the word motion by itself, I can form the idea of it in my mind exclusive of body? or, because theorems may be made of extension and figures, without any mention of great or small, or any other sensible mode or quality, that therefore it is possible such an abstract idea of extension, without any particular size or figure, or sensible quality, 2 should be distinctly formed, and apprehended by the mind? Mathematicians treat of quantity, without regarding what other sensible. qualities it is attended with, as being altogether indifferent to their demonstrations. But, when laying aside the words, they contemplate the bare ideas, I believe you will find, they are not the pure abstracted ideas of extension.

Hyl. But what say you to pure intellect? May not abstracted ideas be framed by that faculty?

304

Phil. Since I cannot frame abstract ideas at all, it is plain I cannot frame them by the help of pure intellect; whatsoever faculty you understand by those words. Besides, not to inquire into the nature of pure intellect and its spiritual objects, as virtue, reason, God, or the like, thus much seems manifest—that sensible things are only to be perceived by sense, or represented by the imagination. Figures, therefore, and extension, being originally perceived by sense, do not belong to pure intellect: but, for your farther satisfaction, try if you can frame the idea of any figure, abstracted from all particularities of size, or even from other sensible qualities.

Hyl. Let me think a little—I do not find that I can.

Phil. And can you think it possible that should really exist in nature which implies a repugnancy in its conception?

Hyl. By no means.

308

Phil. Since therefore it is impossible even for the mind to disunite the ideas of extension and motion from all other sensible qualities, doth it not follow, that where the one exist there necessarily the other exist likewise?

Hyl. It should seem so.

Phil. Consequently, the very same arguments which you admitted as conclusive against the Secondary Qualities are, without any farther application of force, against the Primary too. Besides, if you will trust your senses, is it not plain all sensible qualities coexist, or to them appear as being in the same place? Do they ever represent a motion, or figure, as being divested of all other visible and tangible qualities?

Hyl. You need say no more on this head. I am free to own, if there be no secret error or oversight in our proceedings hitherto, that all sensible qualities are alike to be denied existence without the mind. But, my fear is that I have been too liberal in my former concessions, or overlooked some fallacy or other. In short, I did not take time to think.

312

Phil. For that matter, Hylas, you may take what time you please in reviewing the progress of our inquiry. You are at liberty to recover any slips you might have made, or offer whatever you have omitted which makes for your first opinion.

Hyl. One great oversight I take to be this—that I did not sufficiently distinguish the object from the sensation. Now, though this latter may not exist without the mind, yet it will not thence follow that the former cannot.

Phil. What object do you mean? the object of the senses?

Hyl. The same.

316

Phil. It is then immediately perceived?

Hyl. Right.

Phil. Make me to understand the difference between what is immediately perceived and a sensation.

Hyl. The sensation I take to be an act of the mind perceiving; besides which, there is something perceived; and this I call the object. For example, there is red and yellow on that tulip. But then the act of perceiving those colours is in me only, and not in the tulip.

320

Phil. What tulip do you speak of? Is it that which you see?

Hyl. The same.

Phil. And what do you see beside colour, figure, and extension?

Hyl. Nothing.

324

Phil. What you would say then is that the red and yellow are coexistent with the extension; is it not?

Hyl. That is not all; I would say they have a real existence without the mind, in some unthinking substance.

Phil. That the colours are really in the tulip which I see is manifest. Neither can it be denied that this tulip may exist independent of your mind or mine; but, that any immediate object of the senses,—that is, any idea, or combination of ideas—should exist in an unthinking substance, or exterior to all minds, is in itself an evident contradiction. Nor can I imagine how this follows from what you said just now, to wit, that the red and yellow were on the tulip you saw, since you do not pretend to see that unthinking substance.

Hyl. You have an artful way, Philonous, of diverting our inquiry from the subject.

328

Phil. I see you have no mind to be pressed that way. To return then to your distinction between sensation and object; if I take you right, you distinguish in every perception two things, the one an action of the mind, the other not.

Hyl. True.

Phil. And this action cannot exist in, or belong to, any unthinking thing; but, whatever beside is implied in a perception may?

Hyl. That is my meaning.

332

Phil. So that if there was a perception without any act of the mind, it were possible such a perception should exist in an unthinking substance?

Hyl. I grant it. But it is impossible there should be such a perception.

Phil. When is the mind said to be active?

Hyl. When it produces, puts an end to, or changes, anything.

336

Phil. Can the mind produce, discontinue, or change anything, but by an act of the will?

Hyl. It cannot.

Phil. The mind therefore is to be accounted active in its perceptions so far forth as volition is included in them?

Hyl. It is.

340

Phil. In plucking this flower I am active; because I do it by the motion of my hand, which was consequent upon my volition; so likewise in applying it to my nose. But is either of these smelling?

Hyl. No.

Phil. I act too in drawing the air through my nose; because my breathing so rather than otherwise is the effect of my volition. But neither can this be called smelling: for, if it were, I should smell every time I breathed in that manner?

Hyl. True.

344

Phil. Smelling then is somewhat consequent to all this?

Hyl. It is.

Phil. But I do not find my will concerned any farther. Whatever more there is—as that I perceive such a particular smell, or any smell at all—this is independent of my will, and therein I am altogether passive. Do you find it otherwise with you, Hylas?

Hyl. No, the very same.

348

Phil. Then, as to seeing, is it not in your power to open your eyes, or keep them shut; to turn them this or that way?

Hyl. Without doubt.

Phil. But, doth it in like manner depend on your will that in looking on this flower you perceive white rather than any other colour? Or, directing your open eyes towards yonder part of the heaven, can you avoid seeing the sun? Or is light or darkness the effect of your volition?

Hyl. No, certainly.

352

Phil. You are then in these respects altogether passive?

Hyl. I am.

Phil. Tell me now, whether seeing consists in perceiving light and colours, or in opening and turning the eyes?

Hyl. Without doubt, in the former.

356

Phil. Since therefore you are in the very perception of light and colours altogether passive, what is become of that action you were speaking of as an ingredient in every sensation? And, doth it not follow from your own concessions, that the perception of light and colours, including no action in it, may exist in an unperceiving substance? And is not this a plain contradiction?

Hyl. I know not what to think of it.

Phil. Besides, since you distinguish the active and passive in every perception, you must do it in that of pain. But how is it possible that pain, be it as little active as you please, should exist in an unperceiving substance? In short, do but consider the point, and then confess ingenuously, whether light and colours, tastes, sounds, &c. are not all equally passions or sensations in the soul. You may indeed call them external objects, and give them in words what subsistence you please. But, examine your own thoughts, and then tell me whether it be not as I say?

Hyl. I acknowledge, Philonous, that, upon a fair observation of what passes in my mind, I can discover nothing else but that I am a thinking being, affected with variety of sensations; neither is it possible to conceive how a sensation should exist in an unperceiving substance. But then, on the other hand, when I look on sensible things in a different view, considering them as so many modes and qualities, I find it necessary to suppose a material substratum, without which they cannot be conceived to exist.

360

Phil. Material substratum call you it? Pray, by which of your senses came you acquainted with that being?

Hyl. It is not itself sensible; its modes and qualities only being perceived by the senses.

Phil. I presume then it was by reflexion and reason you obtained the idea of it?

364

Hyl. I do not pretend to any proper positive idea of it. However, I conclude it exists, because qualities cannot be conceived to exist without a support.

Phil. It seems then you have only a relative notion of it, or that you conceive it not otherwise than by conceiving the relation it bears to sensible qualities?

Hyl. Right.

Phil. Be pleased therefore to let me know wherein that relation consists.

368

Hyl. Is it not sufficiently expressed in the term substratum, or substance?

Phil. If so, the word substratum should import that it is spread under the sensible qualities or accidents?

Hyl. True.

Phil. And consequently under extension?

372

Hyl. I own it.

Phil. It is therefore somewhat in its own nature entirely distinct from extension?

Hyl. I tell you, extension is only a mode, and Matter is something that supports modes. And is it not evident the thing supported is different from the thing supporting?

Phil. So that something distinct from, and exclusive of, extension is supposed to be the substratum of extension?

376

Hyl. Just so.

Phil. Answer me, Hylas. Can a thing be spread without extension? or is not the idea of extension necessarily included in spreading?

Hyl. It is.

Phil. Whatsoever therefore you suppose spread under anything must have in itself an extension distinct from the extension of that thing under which it is spread?

380

Hyl. It must.

Phil. Consequently, every corporeal substance, being the substratum of extension, must have in itself another extension, by which it is qualified to be a substratum: and so on to infinity. And I ask whether this be not absurd in itself, and repugnant to what you granted just now, to wit, that the substratum was something distinct from and exclusive of extension?

Hyl. Aye but, Philonous, you take me wrong. I do not mean that Matter is spread in a gross literal sense under extension. The word substratum is used only to express in general the same thing with substance.

Phil. Well then, let us examine the relation implied in the term substance. Is it not that it stands under accidents?

384

Hyl. The very same.

Phil. But, that one thing may stand under or support another, must it not be extended?

Hyl. It must.

Phil. Is not therefore this supposition liable to the same absurdity with the former?

388

Hyl. You still take things in a strict literal sense. That is not fair, Philonous.

Phil. I am not for imposing any sense on your words: you are at liberty to explain them as you please. Only, I beseech you, make me understand something by them. You tell me Matter supports or stands under accidents. How! is it as your legs support your body?

Hyl. No; that is the literal sense.

Phil. Pray let me know any sense, literal or not literal, that you understand it in.—How long must I wait for an answer, Hylas?

392

Hyl. I declare I know not what to say. I once thought I understood well enough what was meant by Matter’s supporting accidents. But now, the more I think on it the less can I comprehend it: in short I find that I know nothing of it.

Phil. It seems then you have no idea at all, neither relative nor positive, of Matter; you know neither what it is in itself, nor what relation it bears to accidents?

Hyl. I acknowledge it.

Phil. And yet you asserted that you could not conceive how qualities or accidents should really exist, without conceiving at the same time a material support of them?

396

Hyl. I did.

Phil. That is to say, when you conceive the real existence of qualities, you do withal conceive Something which you cannot conceive?

Hyl. It was wrong, I own. But still I fear there is some fallacy or other. Pray what think you of this? It is just come into my head that the ground of all our mistake lies in your treating of each quality by itself. Now, I grant that each quality cannot singly subsist without the mind. Colour cannot without extension, neither can figure without some other sensible quality. But, as the several qualities united or blended together form entire sensible things, nothing hinders why such things may not be supposed to exist without the mind.

Phil. Either, Hylas, you are jesting, or have a very bad memory. Though indeed we went through all the qualities by name one after another, yet my arguments or rather your concessions, nowhere tended to prove that the Secondary Qualities did not subsist each alone by itself; but, that they were not at all without the mind. Indeed, in treating of figure and motion we concluded they could not exist without the mind, because it was impossible even in thought to separate them from all secondary qualities, so as to conceive them existing by themselves. But then this was not the only argument made use of upon that occasion. But (to pass by all that hath been hitherto said, and reckon it for nothing, if you will have it so) I am content to put the whole upon this issue. If you can conceive it possible for any mixture or combination of qualities, or any sensible object whatever, to exist without the mind, then I will grant it actually to be so.

400

Hyl. If it comes to that the point will soon be decided. What more easy than to conceive a tree or house existing by itself, independent of, and unperceived by, any mind whatsoever? I do at this present time conceive them existing after that manner.

Phil. How say you, Hylas, can you see a thing which is at the same time unseen?

Hyl. No, that were a contradiction.

Phil. Is it not as great a contradiction to talk of conceiving a thing which is unconceived?

404

Hyl. It is.

Phil. The, tree or house therefore which you think of is conceived by you?

Hyl. How should it be otherwise?

Phil. And what is conceived is surely in the mind?

408

Hyl. Without question, that which is conceived is in the mind.

Phil. How then came you to say, you conceived a house or tree existing independent and out of all minds whatsoever?

Hyl. That was I own an oversight; but stay, let me consider what led me into it.—It is a pleasant mistake enough. As I was thinking of a tree in a solitary place, where no one was present to see it, methought that was to conceive a tree as existing unperceived or unthought of; not considering that I myself conceived it all the while. But now I plainly see that all I can do is to frame ideas in my own mind. I may indeed conceive in my own thoughts the idea of a tree, or a house, or a mountain, but that is all. And this is far from proving that I can conceive them existing out of the minds of all Spirits.

Phil. You acknowledge then that you cannot possibly conceive how any one corporeal sensible thing should exist otherwise than in the mind?

412

Hyl. I do.

Phil. And yet you will earnestly contend for the truth of that which you cannot so much as conceive?

Hyl. I profess I know not what to think; but still there are some scruples remain with me. Is it not certain I see things at a distance? Do we not perceive the stars and moon, for example, to be a great way off? Is not this, I say, manifest to the senses?

Phil. Do you not in a dream too perceive those or the like objects?

416

Hyl. I do.

Phil. And have they not then the same appearance of being distant?

Hyl. They have.

Phil. But you do not thence conclude the apparitions in a dream to be without the mind?

420

Hyl. By no means.

Phil. You ought not therefore to conclude that sensible objects are without the mind, from their appearance, or manner wherein they are perceived.

Hyl. I acknowledge it. But doth not my sense deceive me in those cases?

Phil. By no means. The idea or thing which you immediately perceive, neither sense nor reason informs you that it actually exists without the mind. By sense you only know that you are affected with such certain sensations of light and colours, &c. And these you will not say are without the mind.

424

Hyl. True: but, beside all that, do you not think the sight suggests something of outness or distance?

Phil. Upon approaching a distant object, do the visible size and figure change perpetually, or do they appear the same at all distances?

Hyl. They are in a continual change.

Phil. Sight therefore doth not suggest, or any way inform you, that the visible object you immediately perceive exists at a distance, or will be perceived when you advance farther onward; there being a continued series of visible objects succeeding each other during the whole time of your approach.

428

Hyl. It doth not; but still I know, upon seeing an object, what object I shall perceive after having passed over a certain distance: no matter whether it be exactly the same or no: there is still something of distance suggested in the case.

Phil. Good Hylas, do but reflect a little on the point, and then tell me whether there be any more in it than this: from the ideas you actually perceive by sight, you have by experience learned to collect what other ideas you will (according to the standing order of nature) be affected with, after such a certain succession of time and motion.

Hyl. Upon the whole, I take it to be nothing else.

Phil. Now, is it not plain that if we suppose a man born blind was on a sudden made to see, he could at first have no experience of what may be suggested by sight?

432

Hyl. It is.

Phil. He would not then, according to you, have any notion of distance annexed to the things he saw; but would take them for a new set of sensations, existing only in his mind?

Hyl. It is undeniable.

Phil. But, to make it still more plain: is not distance a line turned endwise to the eye?

436

Hyl. It is.

Phil. And can a line so situated be perceived by sight?

Hyl. It cannot.

Phil. Doth it not therefore follow that distance is not properly and immediately perceived by sight?

440

Hyl. It should seem so.

Phil. Again, is it your opinion that colours are at a distance?

Hyl. It must be acknowledged they are only in the mind.

Phil. But do not colours appear to the eye as coexisting in the same place with extension and figures?

444

Hyl. They do.

Phil. How can you then conclude from sight that figures exist without, when you acknowledge colours do not; the sensible appearance being the very same with regard to both?

Hyl. I know not what to answer.

Phil. But, allowing that distance was truly and immediately perceived by the mind, yet it would not thence follow it existed out of the mind. For, whatever is immediately perceived is an idea: and can any idea exist out of the mind?

448

Hyl. To suppose that were absurd: but, inform me, Philonous, can we perceive or know nothing beside our ideas?

Phil. As for the rational deducing of causes from effects, that is beside our inquiry. And, by the senses you can best tell whether you perceive anything which is not immediately perceived. And I ask you, whether the things immediately perceived are other than your own sensations or ideas? You have indeed more than once, in the course of this conversation, declared yourself on those points; but you seem, by this last question, to have departed from what you then thought.

Hyl. To speak the truth, Philonous, I think there are two kinds of objects:—the one perceived immediately, which are likewise called ideas; the other are real things or external objects, perceived by the mediation of ideas, which are their images and representations. Now, I own ideas do not exist without the mind; but the latter sort of objects do. I am sorry I did not think of this distinction sooner; it would probably have cut short your discourse.

Phil. Are those external objects perceived by sense or by some other faculty?

452

Hyl. They are perceived by sense.

Phil. Howl Is there any thing perceived by sense which is not immediately perceived?

Hyl. Yes, Philonous, in some sort there is. For example, when I look on a picture or statue of Julius Cæsar, I may be said after a manner to perceive him (though not immediately) by my senses.

Phil. It seems then you will have our ideas, which alone are immediately perceived, to be pictures of external things: and that these also are perceived by sense, inasmuch as they have a conformity or resemblance to our ideas?

456

Hyl. That is my meaning.

Phil. And, in the same way that Julius Cæsar, in himself invisible, is nevertheless perceived by sight; real things, in themselves imperceptible, are perceived by sense.

Hyl. In the very same.

Phil. Tell me, Hylas, when you behold the picture of Julius Cæsar, do you see with your eyes any more than some colours and figures, with a certain symmetry and composition of the whole?

460

Hyl. Nothing else.

Phil. And would not a man who had never known anything of Julius Cæsar see as much?

Hyl. He would.

Phil. Consequently he hath his sight, and the use of it, in as perfect a degree as you?

464

Hyl. I agree with you.

Phil. Whence comes it then that your thoughts are directed to the Roman emperor, and his are not? This cannot proceed from the sensations or ideas of sense by you then perceived; since you acknowledge you have no advantage over him in that respect. It should seem therefore to proceed from reason and memory: should it not?

Hyl. It should.

Phil. Consequently, it will not follow from that instance that anything is perceived by sense which is not, immediately perceived. Though I grant we may, in one acceptation, be said to perceive sensible things mediately by sense: that is, when, from a frequently perceived connexion, the immediate perception of ideas by one sense suggests to the mind others, perhaps belonging to another sense, which are wont to be connected with them. For instance, when I hear a coach drive along the streets, immediately I perceive only the sound; but, from the experience I have had that such a sound is connected with a coach, I am said to hear the coach. It is nevertheless evident that, in truth and strictness, nothing can be heard but sound; and the coach is not then properly perceived by sense, but suggested from experience. So likewise when we are said to see a red-hot bar of iron; the solidity and heat of the iron are not the objects of sight, but suggested to the imagination by the colour and figure which are properly perceived by that sense. In short, those things alone are actually and strictly perceived by any sense, which would have been perceived in case that same sense had then been first conferred on us. As for other things, it is plain they are only suggested to the mind by experience, grounded on former perceptions. But, to return to your comparison of Cæsar’s picture, it is plain, if you keep to that, you must hold the real things, or archetypes of our ideas, are not perceived by sense, but by some internal faculty of the soul, as reason or memory. I would therefore fain know what arguments you can draw from reason for the existence of what you call real things or material objects. Or, whether you remember to have seen them formerly as they are in themselves; or, if you have heard or read of any one that did.

468

Hyl. I see, Philonous, you are disposed to raillery; but that will never convince me.

Phil. My aim is only to learn from you the way to come at the knowledge of material beings. Whatever we perceive is perceived immediately or mediately: by sense, or by reason and reflexion. But, as you have excluded sense, pray shew me what reason you have to believe their existence; or what medium you can possibly make use of to prove it, either to mine or your own understanding.

Hyl. To deal ingenuously, Philonous, now I consider the point, I do not find I can give you any good reason for it. But, thus much seems pretty plain, that it is at least possible such things may really exist. And, as long as there is no absurdity in supposing them, I am resolved to believe as I did, till you bring good reasons to the contrary.

Phil. What! Is it come to this, that you only believe the existence of material objects, and that your belief is founded barely on the possibility of its being true? Then you will have me bring reasons against it: though another would think it reasonable the proof should lie on him who holds the affirmative. And, after all, this very point which you are now resolved to maintain, without any reason, is in effect what you have more than once during this discourse seen good reason to give up. But, to pass over all this; if I understand you rightly, you say our ideas do not exist without the mind, but that they are copies, images, or representations, of certain originals that do?

472

Hyl. You take me right.

Phil. They are then like external things?

Hyl. They are.

Phil. Have those things a stable and permanent nature, independent of our senses; or are they in a perpetual change, upon our producing any motions in our bodies—suspending, exerting, or altering, our faculties or organs of sense?

476

Hyl. Real things, it is plain, have a fixed and real nature, which remains the same notwithstanding any change in our senses, or in the posture and motion of our bodies; which indeed may affect the ideas in our minds, but it were absurd to think they had the same effect on things existing without the mind.

Phil. How then is it possible that things perpetually fleeting and variable as our ideas should be copies or images of anything fixed and constant? Or, in other words, since all sensible qualities, as size, figure, colour, &c., that is, our ideas, are continually changing, upon every alteration in the distance, medium, or instruments of sensation; how can any determinate material objects be properly represented or painted forth by several distinct things, each of which is so different from and unlike the rest? Or, if you say it resembles some one only of our ideas, how shall we be able to distinguish the true copy from all the false ones?

Hyl. I profess, Philonous, I am at a loss. I know not what to say to this.

Phil. But neither is this all. Which are material objects in themselves—perceptible or imperceptible?

480

Hyl. Properly and immediately nothing can be perceived but ideas. All material things, therefore, are in themselves insensible, and to be perceived only by our ideas.

Phil. Ideas then are sensible, and their archetypes or originals insensible?

Hyl. Right.

Phil. But how can that which is sensible be like that which is insensible? Can a real thing, in itself invisible, be like a colour; or a real thing, which is not audible, be like a sound? In a word, can anything be like a sensation or idea, but another sensation or idea?

484

Hyl. I must own, I think not.

Phil. Is it possible there should be any doubt on the point? Do. you not perfectly know your own ideas?

Hyl. I know them perfectly; since what I do not perceive or know can be no part of my idea.

Phil. Consider, therefore, and examine them, and then tell me if there be anything in them which can exist without the mind: or if you can conceive anything like them existing without the mind.

488

Hyl. Upon inquiry, I find it is impossible for me to conceive or understand how anything but an idea can be like an idea. And it is most evident that no idea can exist without the mind.

Phil. You are therefore, by your principles, forced to deny the reality of sensible things; since you made it to consist in an absolute existence exterior to the mind. That is to say, you are a downright sceptic. So I have gained my point, which was to shew your principles led to Scepticism.

Hyl. For the present I am, if not entirely convinced, at least silenced.

Phil. I would fain know what more you would require in order to a perfect conviction. Have you not had the liberty of explaining yourself all manner of ways? Were any little slips in discourse laid hold and insisted on? Or were you not allowed to retract or reinforce anything you had offered, as best served your purpose? Hath not everything you could say been heard and examined with all the fairness imaginable? In a word have you not in every point been convinced out of your own mouth? And, if you can at present discover any flaw in any of your former concessions, or think of any remaining subterfuge, any new distinction, colour, or comment whatsoever, why do you not produce it?

492

Hyl. A little patience, Philonous. I am at present so amazed to see myself ensnared, and as it were imprisoned in the labyrinths you have drawn me into, that on the sudden it cannot be expected I should find my way out. You must give me time to look about me and recollect myself.

Phil. Hark; is not this the college bell?

Hyl. It rings for prayers.

Phil. We will go in then, if you please, and meet here again tomorrow morning. In the meantime, you may employ your thoughts on this morning’s discourse, and try if you can find any fallacy in it, or invent any new means to extricate yourself.

496

Hyl. Agreed.

Note 1. What follows, within brackets, is not contained in the first and second editions. [back]

Note 2. ‘Size or figure, or sensible quality’—‘size, colour, &c,’ in the first and second editions. [back]

The Second Dialogue

HYLAS. I beg your pardon, Philonous, for not meeting you sooner. All this morning my head was so filled with our late conversation that I had not leisure to think of the time of the day, or indeed of anything else.

Philonous. I am glad you were so intent upon it, in hopes if there were any mistakes in your concessions, or fallacies in my reasonings from them, you will now discover them to me.

Hyl. I assure you I have done nothing ever since I saw you but search after mistakes and fallacies, and, with that view, have minutely examined the whole series of yesterday’s discourse: but all in vain, for the notions it led me into, upon review, appear still more clear and evident; and, the more I consider them, the more irresistibly do they force my assent.

Phil. And is not this, think you, a sign that they are genuine, that they proceed from nature, and are conformable to right reason? Truth and beauty are in this alike, that the strictest survey sets them both off to advantage; while the false lustre of error and disguise cannot endure being reviewed, or too nearly inspected.

4

Hyl. I own there is a great deal in what you say. Nor can any one be more entirely satisfied of the truth of those odd consequences, so long as I have in view the reasonings that lead to them. But, when these are out of my thoughts, there seems, on the other hand, something so satisfactory, so natural and intelligible, in the modern way of explaining things that, I profess, I know not how to reject it.

Phil. I know not what way you mean.

Hyl. I mean the way of accounting for our sensations or ideas.

8

Phil. How is that?

Hyl. It is supposed the soul makes her residence in some part of the brain, from which the nerves take their rise, and are thence extended to all parts of the body; and that outward objects, by the different impressions they make on the organs of sense, communicate certain vibrative motions to the nerves; and these being filled with spirits propagate them to the brain or seat of the soul, which, according to the various impressions or traces thereby made in the brain, is variously affected with ideas.

Phil. And call you this an explication of the manner whereby we are affected with ideas?

Hyl. Why not, Philonous? Have you anything to object against it?

12

Phil. I would first know whether I rightly understand your hypothesis. You make certain traces in the brain to be the causes or occasions of our ideas. Pray tell me whether by the brain you mean any sensible thing.

Hyl. What else think you I could mean?

Phil. Sensible things are all immediately perceivable; and those things which are immediately perceivable are ideas; and these exist only in the mind. Thus much you have, if I mistake not, long since agreed to.

Hyl. I do not deny it.

16

Phil. The brain therefore you speak of, being a sensible thing, exists only in the mind. Now, I would fain know whether you think it reasonable to suppose that one idea or thing existing in the mind occasions all other ideas. And, if you think so, pray how do you account for the origin of that primary idea or brain itself?

Hyl. I do not explain the origin of our ideas by that brain which is perceivable to sense—this being itself only a combination of sensible ideas—but by another which I imagine.

Phil. But are not things imagined as truly in the mind as things perceived?

Hyl. I must confess they are.

20

Phil. It comes, therefore, to the same thing; and you have been all this while accounting for ideas by certain motions or impressions of the brain; that is, by some alterations in an idea, whether sensible or imaginable it matters not.

Hyl. I begin to suspect my hypothesis.

Phil. Besides spirits, all that we know or conceive are our own ideas. When, therefore, you say all ideas are occasioned by impressions in the brain, do you conceive this brain or no? If you do, then you talk of ideas imprinted in an idea causing that same idea, which is absurd. If you do not conceive it, you talk unintelligibly, instead of forming a reasonable hypothesis.

Hyl. I now clearly see it was a mere dream. There is nothing in it.

24

Phil. You need not be much concerned at it; for after all, this way of explaining things, as you called it, could never have satisfied any reasonable man. What connexion is there between a motion in the nerves, and the sensations of sound or colour in the mind? Or how is it possible these should be the effect of that?

Hyl. But I could never think it had so little in it as now it seems to have.

Phil. Well then, are you at length satisfied that no sensible things have a real existence; and that you are in truth an arrant sceptic?

Hyl. It is too plain to be denied.

Phil. Look! are not the fields covered with a delightful verdure? Is there not something in the woods and groves, in the rivers and clear springs, that soothes, that delights, that transports the soul? At the prospect of the wide and deep ocean, or some huge mountain whose top is lost in the clouds, or of an old gloomy forest, are not our minds filled with a pleasing horror? Even in rocks and deserts is there not an agreeable wildness? How sincere a pleasure is it to behold the natural beauties of the earth! To preserve and renew our relish for them, is not the veil of night alternately drawn over her face, and doth she not change her dress with the seasons? How aptly are the elements disposed! What variety and use [ 1 in the meanest productions of nature]! What delicacy, what beauty, what contrivance, in animal and vegetable bodies! How exquisitely are all things suited, as well to their particular ends, as to constitute opposite parts of the whole! And, while they mutually aid and support, do they not also set off and illustrate each other? Raise now your thoughts from this ball of earth to all those glorious luminaries that adorn the high arch of heaven. The motion and situation of the planets, are they not admirable for use and order? Were those (miscalled erratic) globes once known to stray, in their repeated journeys through the pathless void? Do they not measure areas round the sun ever proportioned to the times? So fixed, so immutable are the laws by which the unseen Author of nature actuates the universe. How vivid and radiant is the lustre of the fixed stars! How magnificent and rich that negligent profusion with which they appear to be scattered throughout the whole azure vault! Yet, if you take the telescope, it brings into your sight a new host of stars that escape the naked eye. Here they seem contiguous and minute, but to a nearer view immense orbs of light at various distances, far sunk in the abyss of space. Now you must call imagination to your aid. The feeble narrow sense cannot descry innumerable worlds revolving round the central fires; and in those worlds the energy of an all-perfect. Mind displayed in endless forms. But, neither sense nor imagination are big enough to comprehend the boundless extent, with all its glittering furniture. Though the labouring mind exert and strain each power to its utmost reach, there still stands out ungrasped a surplusage immeasurable. Yet all the vast bodies that compose this mighty frame, how distant and remote soever, are by some secret mechanism, some Divine art and force, linked in a mutual dependence and intercourse with each other; even with this earth, which was almost slipt from my thoughts and lost in the crowd of worlds. Is not the whole system immense, beautiful, glorious beyond expression and beyond thought! What treatment, then, do those philosophers deserve, who would deprive these noble and delightful scenes of all reality? How should those Principles be entertained that lead us to think all the visible beauty of the creation a false imaginary glare? To be plain, can you expect this Scepticism of yours will not be thought extravagantly absurd by all men of sense?

Hyl. Other men may think as they please; but for your part you have nothing to reproach me with. My comfort is, you are as much a sceptic as I am.

Phil. There, Hylas, I must beg leave to differ from you.

32

Hyl. What! Have you all along agreed to the premises, and do you now deny the conclusion, and leave me to maintain those paradoxes by myself which you led me into? This surely is not fair.

Phil. I deny that I agreed with you in those notions that led to Scepticism. You indeed said the reality of sensible things consisted in an absolute existence out of the minds of spirits, or distinct from their being perceived. And pursuant to this notion of reality, you are obliged to deny sensible things any real existence: that is, according to your own definition, you profess yourself a sceptic. But I neither said nor thought the reality of sensible things was to be defined after that manner. To me it is evident for the reasons you allow of, that sensible things cannot exist otherwise than in a mind or spirit. Whence I conclude, not that they have no real existence, but that, seeing they depend not on my thought, and have all existence distinct from being perceived by me, there must be some other Mind wherein they exist. As sure, therefore, as the sensible world really exists, so sure is there an infinite omnipresent Spirit who contains and supports it.

Hyl. What! This is no more than I and all Christians hold; nay, and all others too who believe there is a God, and that He knows and comprehends all things.

Phil. Aye, but here lies the difference. Men commonly believe that all things are known or perceived by God, because they believe the being of a God; whereas I, on the other side, immediately and necessarily conclude the being of a God, because all sensible things must be perceived by Him.

36

Hyl. But, so long as we all believe the same thing, what matter is it how we come by that belief?

Phil. But neither do we agree in the same opinion. For philosophers, though they acknowledge all corporeal beings to be perceived by God, yet they attribute to them an absolute subsistence distinct from their being perceived by any mind whatever; which I do not. Besides, is there no difference between saying, There is a God, therefore He perceives all things; and saying, Sensible things do really exist; and, if they really exist, they are necessarily perceived by an infinite Mind: therefore there is an infinite Mind or God? This furnishes you with a direct and immediate demonstration, from a most evident principle, of the being of a God. Divines and philosophers had proved beyond all controversy, from the beauty and usefulness of the several parts of the creation, that it was the workmanship of God. But that—setting aside all help of astronomy and natural philosophy, all contemplation of the contrivance, order, and adjustment of things—an infinite Mind should be necessarily inferred from the bare existence of the sensible world, is an advantage to them only who have made this easy reflexion: that the sensible world is that which we perceive by our several senses; and that nothing is perceived by the senses beside ideas; and that no idea or archetype of an idea can exist otherwise than in a mind. You may now, without any laborious search into the sciences, without any subtlety of reason, or tedious length of discourse, oppose and baffle the most strenuous advocate for Atheism. Those miserable refuges, whether in an eternal succession of unthinking causes and effects, or in a fortuitous concourse of atoms; those wild imaginations of Vanini, Hobbes, and Spinoza: in a word, the whole system of Atheism, is it not entirely overthrown, by this single reflexion on the repugnancy included in supposing the whole, or any part, even the most rude and shapeless, of the visible world, to exist without a mind? Let any one of those abettors of impiety but look into his own thoughts, and there try if he can conceive how so much as a rock, a desert, a chaos, or confused jumble of atoms; how anything at all, either sensible or imaginable, can exist independent of a Mind, and he need go no farther to be convinced of his folly. Can anything be fairer than to put a dispute on such an issue, and leave it to a man himself to see if he can conceive, even in thought, what he holds to be true in fact, and from a notional to allow it a real existence?

Hyl. It cannot be denied there is something highly serviceable to religion in what you advance. But do you not think it looks very like a notion entertained by some eminent moderns, of seeing all things in God?

Phil. I would gladly know that opinion: pray explain it to me.

40

Hyl. They conceive that the soul, being immaterial, is incapable of being united with material things, so as to perceive them in themselves; but that she perceives them by her union with the substance of God, which, being spiritual, is therefore purely intelligible, or capable of being the immediate object of a spirit’s thought. Besides the Divine essence contains in it perfections correspondent to each created being; and which are, for that reason, proper to exhibit or represent them to the mind.

Phil. I do not understand how our ideas, which are things altogether passive and inert, can be the essence, or any part (or like any part) of the essence or substance of God, who is an impassive, indivisible, pure, active being. Many more difficulties and objections there are which occur at first view against this hypothesis; but I shall only add that it is liable to all the absurdities of the common hypothesis, in making a created world exist otherwise than in the mind of a Spirit. Besides all which it hath this peculiar to itself; that it makes that material world serve to no purpose. And, if it pass for a good argument against other hypotheses in the sciences, that they suppose Nature, or the Divine wisdom, to make something in vain, or do that by tedious roundabout methods which might have been performed in a much more easy and compendious way, what shall we think of that hypothesis which supposes the whole world made in vain?

Hyl. But what say you? Are not you too of opinion that we see all things in God? If I mistake not, what you advance comes near it.

Phil. [ 2 Few men think; yet all have opinions. Hence men’s opinions are superficial and confused. It is nothing strange that tenets which in themselves are ever so different, should nevertheless be confounded with each other, by those who do not consider them attentively. I shall not therefore be surprised if some men imagine that I run into the enthusiasm of Malebranche; though in truth I am very remote from it. He builds on the most abstract general ideas, which I entirely disclaim. He asserts an absolute external world, which I deny. He maintains that we are deceived by our senses, and know not the real natures or the true forms and figures of extended beings; of all which I hold the direct contrary. So that upon the whole there are no Principles more fundamentally opposite than his and mine. It must be owned thaT] I entirely agree with what the holy Scripture saith, “That in God we live and move and have our being.” But that we see things in His essence, after the manner above set forth, I am far from believing. Take here in brief my meaning:—It is evident that the things I perceive are my own ideas, and that no idea can exist unless it be in a mind: nor is it less plain that these ideas or things by me perceived, either themselves of their archetypes, exist independently of my mind, since I know myself not to be their author, it being out of my power to determine at pleasure what particular ideas I shall be affected with upon opening my eyes or ears: they must therefore exist in some other Mind, whose Will it is they should be exhibited to me. The things, I say, immediately perceived are ideas or sensations, call them which you will. But how can any idea or sensation exist in, or be produced by, anything but a mind or spirit? This indeed is inconceivable. And to assert that which is inconceivable is to talk nonsense: is it not?

44

Hyl. Without doubt.

Phil. But, on the other hand, it is very conceivable that they should exist in and be produced by a spirit; since this is no more than I daily experience in myself, inasmuch as I perceive numberless ideas; and, by an act of my will, can form a great variety of them, and raise them up in my imagination: though, it must be confessed, these creatures of the fancy are not altogether so distinct, so strong, vivid, and permanent, as those perceived by my senses—which latter are called real things. From all which I conclude, there is a Mind which affects me every moment with all the sensible impressions I perceive. And, from the variety, order, and manner of these, I conclude the Author of them to be wise, powerful, and good, beyond comprehension. Mark it well; I do not say, I see things by perceiving that which represents them in the intelligible Substance of God. This I do not understand; but I say, the things by me perceived are known by the understanding, and produced by the will of an infinite Spirit. And is not all this most plain and evident? Is there any more in it than what a little observation in our own minds, and that which passeth in them, not only enables us to conceive, but also obliges us to acknowledge.

Hyl. I think I understand you very clearly; and own the proof you give of a Deity seems no less evident than it is surprising. But, allowing that God is the supreme and universal Cause of all things, yet, may there not be still a Third Nature besides Spirits and Ideas? May we not admit a subordinate and limited cause of our ideas? In a word, may there not for all that be Matter?

Phil. How often must I inculcate the same thing? You allow the things immediately perceived by sense to exist nowhere without the mind; but there is nothing perceived by sense which is not perceived immediately: therefore there is nothing sensible that exists without the mind. The Matter, therefore, which you still insist on is something intelligible, I suppose; something that may be discovered by reason, and not by sense.

48

Hyl. You are in the right.

Phil. Pray let me know what reasoning your belief of Matter is grounded on; and what this Matter is, in your present sense of it.

Hyl. I find myself affected with various ideas, whereof I know I am not the cause; neither are they the cause of themselves, or of one another, or capable of subsisting by themselves, as being altogether inactive, fleeting, dependent beings. They have therefore some cause distinct from me and them: of which I pretend to know no more than that it is the cause of my ideas. And this thing, whatever it be, I call Matter.

Phil. Tell me, Hylas, hath every one a liberty to change the current proper signification attached to a common name in any language? For example, suppose a traveller should tell you that in a certain country men pass unhurt through the fire; and, upon explaining himself, you found he meant by the word fire that which others call water. Or, if he should assert that there are trees that walk upon two legs, meaning men by the term trees. Would you think this reasonable?

52

Hyl. No; I should think it very absurd. Common custom is the standard of propriety in language. And for any man to affect speaking improperly is to pervert the use of speech, and can never serve to a better purpose than to protract and multiply disputes where there is no difference in opinion.

Phil. And doth not Matter, in the common current acceptation of the word, signify an extended, solid, moveable, unthinking, inactive Substance?

Hyl. It doth.

Phil. And, hath it not been made evident that no such substance can possibly exist? And, though it should be allowed to exist, yet how can that which is inactive be a cause; or that which is unthinking be a cause of thought? You may, indeed, if you please, annex to the word Matter a contrary meaning to what is vulgarly received; and tell me you understand by it, an unextended, thinking, active being, which is the cause of our ideas. But what else is this than to play with words, and run into that very fault you just now condemned with so much reason? I do by no means find fault with your reasoning, in that you collect a cause from the phenomena: but I deny that the cause deducible by reason can properly be termed Matter.

56

Hyl. There is indeed something in what you say. But I am afraid you do not thoroughly comprehend my meaning. I would by no means be thought to deny that God, or an infinite Spirit, is the Supreme Cause of all things. All I contend for is, that, subordinate to the Supreme Agent, there is a cause of a limited and inferior nature, which concurs in the production of our ideas, not by any act of will, or spiritual efficiency, but by that kind of action which belongs to Matter, viz. motion.

Phil. I find you are at every turn relapsing into your old exploded conceit, of a moveable, and consequently an extended, substance, existing without the mind. What! Have you already forgotten you were convinced; or are you willing I should repeat what has been said on that head? In truth this is not fair dealing in you, still to suppose the being of that which you have so often acknowledged to have no being. But, not to insist farther on what has been so largely handled, I ask whether all your ideas are not perfectly passive and inert, including nothing of action in them.

Hyl. They are.

Phil. And are sensible qualities anything else but ideas?

60

Hyl. How often have I acknowledged that they are not.

Phil. But is not motion a sensible quality?

Hyl. It is.

Phil. Consequently it is no action?

64

Hyl. I agree with you. And indeed it is very plain that when I stir my finger, it remains passive; but my will which produced the motion is active.

Phil. Now, I desire to know, in the first place, whether, motion being allowed to be no action, you can conceive any action besides volition: and, in the second place, whether to say something and conceive nothing be not to talk nonsense: and, lastly, whether, having considered the premises, you do not perceive that to suppose any efficient or active Cause of our ideas, other than Spirit, is highly absurd and unreasonable?

Hyl. I give up the point entirely. But, though Matter may not be a cause, yet what hinders its being an instrument, subservient to the supreme Agent in the production of our ideas?

Phil. An Instrument say you; pray what may be the figure, springs, wheels, and motions, of that instrument?

68

Hyl. Those I pretend to determine nothing of, both the substance and its qualities being entirely unknown to me.

Phil. What? You are then of opinion it is made up of unknown parts, that it hath unknown motions, and an unknown shape?

Hyl. I do not believe that it hath any figure or motion at all, being already convinced, that no sensible qualities can exist in an unperceiving substance.

Phil. But what notion is it possible to frame of an instrument void of all sensible qualities, even extension itself?

72

Hyl. I do not pretend to have any notion of it.

Phil. And what reason have you think this unknown, this inconceivable Somewhat doth exist? Is it that you imagine God cannot act as well without it; or that you find by experience the use of some such thing, when you form ideas in your own mind?

Hyl. You are always teasing me for reasons of my belief. Pray what reasons have you not to believe it?

Phil. It is to me a sufficient reason not to believe the existence of anything, if I see no reason for believing it. But, not to insist on reasons for believing, you will not so much as let me know what it is you would have me believe; since you say you have no manner of notion of it. After all, let me entreat you to consider whether it be like a philosopher, or even like a man of common sense, to pretend to believe you know not what, and you know not why.

76

Hyl. Hold, Philonous. When I tell you Matter is an instrument, I do not mean altogether nothing. It is true I know not the particular kind of instrument; but, however, I have some notion of instrument in general, which I apply to it.

Phil. But what if it should prove that there is something, even in the most general notion of instrument, as taken in a distinct sense from cause, which makes the use of it inconsistent with the Divine attributes?

Hyl. Make that appear and I shall give up the point.

Phil. What mean you by the general nature or notion of instrument?

80

Hyl. That which is common to all particular instruments composeth the general notion.

Phil. Is it not common to all instruments, that they are applied to the doing those things only which cannot be performed by the mere act of our wills? Thus, for instance, I never use an instrument to move my finger, because it is done by a volition. But I should use one if I were to remove part of a rock, or tear up a tree by the roots. Are you of the same mind? Or, can you shew any example where an instrument is made use of in producing an effect immediately depending on the will of the agent?

Hyl. I own I cannot.

Phil. How therefore can you suppose that an All-perfect Spirit, on whose Will all things have an absolute and immediate dependence, should need an instrument in his operations, or, not needing it, make use of it? Thus it seems to me that you are obliged to own the use of a lifeless inactive instrument to be incompatible with the infinite perfection of God; that is, by your own confession, to give up the point.

84

Hyl. It doth not readily occur what I can answer you.

Phil. But, methinks you should be ready to own the truth, when it has been fairly proved to you. We indeed, who are beings of finite powers, are forced to make use of instruments. And the use of an instrument sheweth the agent to be limited by rules of another’s prescription, and that he cannot obtain his end but in such a way, and by such conditions. Whence it seems a clear consequence, that the supreme unlimited agent useth no tool or instrument at all. The will of an Omnipotent Spirit is no sooner exerted than executed, without the application of means; which, if they are employed by inferior agents, it is not upon account of any real efficacy that is in them, or necessary aptitude to produce any effect, but merely in compliance with the laws of nature, or those conditions prescribed to them by the First Cause, who is Himself above all limitation or prescription whatsoever.

Hyl. I will no longer maintain that Matter is an instrument. However, I would not be understood to give up its existence neither; since, notwithstanding what hath been said, it may still be an occasion.

Phil. How many shapes is your Matter to take? Or, how often must it be proved not to exist, before you are content to part with it? But, to say no more of this (though by all the laws of disputation I may justly blame you for so frequently changing the signification of the principal term)—I would fain know what you mean by affirming that matter is an occasion, having already denied it to be a cause. And, when you have shewn in what sense you understand occasion, pray, in the next place, be pleased to shew me what reason induceth you to believe there is such an occasion of our ideas?

88

Hyl. As to the first point: by occasion I mean an inactive unthinking being, at the presence whereof God excites ideas in our minds.

Phil. And what may be the nature of that inactive unthinking being?

Hyl. I know nothing of its nature.

Phil. Proceed then to the second point, and assign some reason why we should allow an existence to this inactive, unthinking, unknown thing.

92

Hyl. When we see ideas produced in our minds, after an orderly and constant manner, it is natural to think they have some fixed and regular occasions, at the presence of which they are excited.

Phil. You acknowledge then God alone to be the cause of our ideas, and that He causes them at the presence of those occasions.

Hyl. That is my opinion.

Phil. Those things which you say are present to God, without doubt He perceives.

96

Hyl. Certainly; otherwise they could not be to Him an occasion of acting.

Phil. Not to insist now on your making sense of this hypothesis, or answering all the puzzling questions and difficulties it is liable to: I only ask whether the order and regularity observable in the series of our ideas, or the course of nature, be not sufficiently accounted for by the wisdom and power of God; and whether it doth not derogate from those attributes, to suppose He is influenced, directed, or put in mind, when and what He is to act, by an unthinking substance? And, lastly, whether, in case I granted all you contend for, it would make anything to your purpose; it not being easy to conceive how the external or absolute existence of an unthinking substance, distinct from its being perceived, can be inferred from my allowing that there are certain things perceived by the mind of God, which are to Him the occasion of producing ideas in us?

Hyl. I am perfectly at a loss what to think, this notion of occasion seeming now altogether as groundless as the rest.

Phil. Do you not at length perceive that in all these different acceptations of Matter, you have been only supposing you know not what, for no manner of reason, and to no kind of use?

100

Hyl. I freely own myself less fond of my notions since they have been so accurately examined. But still, methinks, I have some confused perception that there is such a thing as Matter.

Phil. Either you perceive the being of Matter immediately or mediately. If immediately, pray inform me by which of the senses you perceive it. If mediately, let me know by what reasoning it is inferred from those things which you perceive immediately. So much for the perception. Then for the Matter itself, I ask whether it is object, substratum, cause, instrument, or occasion? You have already pleaded for each of these, shifting your notions, and making Matter to appear sometimes in one shape, then in another. And what you have offered hath been disapproved and rejected by yourself. If you have anything new to advance I would gladly bear it.

Hyl. I think I have already offered all I had to say on those heads. I am at a loss what more to urge.

Phil. And yet you are loath to part with your old prejudice. But, to make you quit it more easily, I desire that, beside what has been hitherto suggested, you will farther consider whether, upon supposition that Matter exists, you can possibly conceive how you should be affected by it. Or, supposing it did not exist, whether it be not evident you might for all that be affected with the same ideas you now are, and consequently have the very same reasons to believe its existence that you now can have.

104

Hyl. I acknowledge it is possible we might perceive all things just as we do now, though there was no Matter in the world; neither can I conceive, if there be Matter, how it should produce any idea in our minds. And, I do farther grant you have entirely satisfied me that it is impossible there should be such a thing as Matter in any of the foregoing acceptations. But still I cannot help supposing that there is Matter in some sense or other. What that is I do not indeed pretend to determine.

Phil. I do not expect you should define exactly the nature of that unknown being. Only be pleased to tell me whether it is a Substance; and if so, whether you can suppose a Substance without accidents; or, in case you suppose it to have accidents or qualities, I desire you will let me know what those qualities are, at least what is meant by Matter’s supporting them?

Hyl. We have already argued on those points. I have no more to say to them. But, to prevent any farther questions, let me tell you I at present understand by Matter neither substance nor accident, thinking nor extended being, neither cause, instrument, nor occasion, but Something entirely unknown, distinct from all these.

Phil. It seems then you include in your present notion of Matter nothing but the general abstract idea of entity.

108

Hyl. Nothing else; save only that I super-add to this general idea the negation of all those particular things, qualities, or ideas, that I perceive, imagine, or in anywise apprehend.

Phil. Pray where do you suppose this unknown Matter to exist?

Hyl. Oh Philonous! now you think you have entangled me; for, if I say it exists in place, then you will infer that it exists in the mind, since it is agreed that place or extension exists only in the mind. But I am not ashamed to own my ignorance. I know not where it exists; only I am sure it exists not in place. There is a negative answer for you. And you must expect no other to all the questions you put for the future about Matter.

Phil. Since you will not tell me where it exists, be pleased to inform me after what manner you suppose it to exist, or what you mean by its existence?

112

Hyl. It neither thinks nor acts, neither perceives nor is perceived.

Phil. But what is there positive in your abstracted notion of its existence?

Hyl. Upon a nice observation, I do not find I have any positive notion or meaning at all. I tell you again, I am not ashamed to own my ignorance. I know not what is meant by its existence, or how it exists.

Phil. Continue, good Hylas, to act the same ingenuous part, and tell me sincerely whether you can frame a distinct idea of Entity in general, prescinded from and exclusive of all thinking and corporeal beings, all particular things whatsoever.

116

Hyl. Hold, let me think a little—I profess, Philonous, I do not find that I can. At first glance, methought I had some dilute and airy notion of Pure Entity in abstract; but, upon closer attention, it hath quite vanished out of sight. The more I think on it, the more am I confirmed in my prudent resolution of giving none but negative answers, and not pretending to the least degree of any positive knowledge or conception of Matter, its where, its how, its entity, or anything belonging to it.

Phil. When, therefore, you speak of the existence of Matter, you have not any notion in your mind?

Hyl. None at all.

Phil. Pray tell me if the case stands not thus:—At first, from a belief of material substance, you would have it that the immediate objects existed without the mind; then that they are archetypes; then causes; next instruments; then occasions: lastly something in general, which being interpreted proves nothing. So Matter comes to nothing. What think you, Hylas, is not this a fair summary of your whole proceeding?

120

Hyl. Be that as it will, yet I still insist upon it, that our not being able to conceive a thing is no argument against its existence.

Phil. That from a cause, effect, operation, sign, or other circumstance, there may reasonably be inferred the existence of a thing not immediately perceived; and that it were absurd for any man to argue against the existence of that thing, from his having no direct and positive notion of it, I freely own. But, where there is nothing of all this; where neither reason nor revelation induces us to believe the existence of a thing; where we have not even a relative notion of it; where an abstraction is made from perceiving and being perceived, from Spirit and idea: lastly, where there is not so much as the most inadequate or faint idea pretended to—I will not indeed thence conclude against the reality of any notion, or existence of anything; but my inference shall be, that you mean nothing at all; that you employ words to no manner of purpose, without any design or signification whatsoever. And I leave it to you to consider how mere jargon should be treated.

Hyl. To deal frankly with you, Philonous, your arguments seem in themselves unanswerable; but they have not so great an effect on me as to produce that entire conviction, that hearty acquiescence, which attends demonstration. I find myself relapsing into an obscure surmise of I know not what, matter.

Phil. But, are you not sensible, Hylas, that two things must concur to take away all scruple, and work a plenary assent in the mind? Let a visible object be set in never so clear a light, yet, if there is any imperfection in the sight, or if the eye is not directed towards it, it will not be distinctly seen. And though a demonstration be never so well grounded and fairly proposed, yet, if there is withal a stain of prejudice, or a wrong bias on the understanding, can it be expected on a sudden to perceive clearly, and adhere firmly to the truth? No; there is need of time and pains: the attention must be awakened and detained by a frequent repetition of the same thing placed oft in the same, oft in different lights. I have said it already, and find I must still repeat and inculcate, that it is an unaccountable licence you take, in pretending to maintain you know not what, for you know not what reason, to you know not what purpose. Can this be paralleled in any art or science, any sect or profession of men? Or is there anything so barefacedly groundless and unreasonable to be met with even in the lowest of common conversation? But, perhaps you will still say, Matter may exist; though at the same time you neither know what is meant by Matter, or by its existence. This indeed is surprising, and the more so because it is altogether voluntary [ 3 and of your own head], you not being led to it by any one reason; for I challenge you to shew me that thing in nature which needs Matter to explain or account for it.

124

Hyl. The reality of things cannot be maintained without supposing the existence of Matter. And is not this, think you, a good reason why I should be earnest in its defence?

Phil. The reality of things! What things? sensible or intelligible?

Hyl. Sensible things.

Phil. My glove for example?

128

Hyl. That, or any other thing perceived by the senses.

Phil. But to fix on some particular thing. Is it not a sufficient evidence to me of the existence of this glove, that I see it, and feel it, and wear it? Or, if this will not do, how is it possible I should be assured of the reality of this thing, which I actually see in this place, by supposing that some unknown thing, which I never did or can see, exists after an unknown manner, in an unknown place, or in no place at all? How can the supposed reality of that which is intangible be a proof that anything tangible really exists? Or, of that which is invisible, that any visible things, or, in general of anything which is imperceptible, that a perceptible exists? Do but explain this and I shall think nothing too hard for you.

Hyl. Upon the whole, I am content to own the existence of matter is highly improbable; but the direct and absolute impossibility of it does not appear to me.

Phil. But granting Matter to be possible, yet, upon that account merely, it can have no more claim to existence than a golden mountain, or a centaur.

132

Hyl. I acknowledge it; but still you do not deny it is possible; and that which is possible, for aught you know, may actually exist.

Phil. I deny it to be possible; and have, if I mistake not, evidently proved, from your own concessions, that it is not. In the common sense of the word Matter, is there any more implied than an extended, solid, figured, moveable substance, existing without the mind? And have not you acknowledged, over and over, that you have seen evident reason for denying the possibility of such a substance?

Hyl. True, but that is only one sense of the term Matter.

Phil. But is it not the only proper genuine received sense? And, if Matter, in such a sense, be proved impossible, may it not be thought with good grounds absolutely impossible? Else how could anything be proved impossible? Or, indeed, how could there be any proof at all one way or other, to a man who takes the liberty to unsettle and change the common signification of words?

136

Hyl. I thought philosophers might be allowed to speak more accurately than the vulgar, and were not always confined to the common acceptation of a term.

Phil. But this now mentioned is the common received sense among philosophers themselves. But, not to insist on that, have you, not been allowed to take Matter in what sense you pleased? And have you not used this privilege in the utmost extent; sometimes entirely changing, at others leaving out, or putting into the definition of it whatever, for the present, best served your design, contrary to all the known rules of reason and logic? And hath not this shifting, unfair method of yours spun out our dispute to an unnecessary length; Matter having been particularly examined, and by your own confession refuted in each of those senses? And can any more be required to prove the absolute impossibility of a thing, than the proving it impossible in every particular sense that either you or any one else understands it in?

Hyl. But I am not so thoroughly satisfied that you have proved the impossibility of Matter, in the last most obscure abstracted and indefinite sense.

Phil. When is a thing shewn to be impossible?

140

Hyl. When a repugnancy is demonstrated between the ideas comprehended in its definition.

Phil. But where there are no ideas, there no repugnancy can be demonstrated between ideas?

Hyl. I agree with you.

Phil. Now, in that which you call the obscure indefinite sense of the word Matter, it is plain, by your own confession, there was included no idea at all, no sense except an unknown sense; which is the same thing as none. You are not, therefore, to expect I should prove a repugnancy between ideas, where there are no ideas; or the impossibility of Matter taken in an unknown sense, that is, no sense at all. My business was only to shew you meant nothing; and this you were brought to own. So that, in all your various senses, you have been shewed either to mean nothing at all, of, if anything, an absurdity. And if this be not sufficient to prove the impossibility of a thing, I desire you will let me know what is.

144

Hyl. I acknowledge you have proved that Matter is impossible; nor do I see what more can be said in defence of it. But, at the same time that I give up this, I suspect all my other notions. For surely, none could be more seemingly evident than this once was: and yet it now seems as false and absurd as ever it did true before. But I think we have discussed the point sufficiently for the present. The remaining part of the day I would willingly spend in running over in my thoughts the several heads of this morning’s conversation, and tomorrow shall be glad to meet you here again about the same time.

Phil. I will not fail to attend you.

Note 1. “In stones and minerals”—in first and second editions. [back]

Note 2. The passage within brackets first appeared in the third edition. [back]

Note 3. Omitted in last edition. [back]

George Berkeley (1685–1753). Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

The Third Dialogue

PHILONOUS. 1 Tell me, Hylas, what are the fruits of yesterday’s meditation? Has it confirmed you in the same mind you were in at parting? or have you since seen cause to change your opinion?

Hylas. Truly my opinion is that all our opinions are alike vain and uncertain. What we approve to-day, we condemn to-morrow. We keep a stir about knowledge, and spend our lives in the pursuit of it, when, alas! we know nothing all the while: nor do I think it possible for us ever to know anything in this life. Our faculties are too narrow and too few. Nature certainly never intended us for speculation.

Phil. What! Say you we can know nothing, Hylas?

Hyl. There is not that single thing in the world whereof we can know the real nature, or what it is in itself.

4

Phil. Will you tell me I do not really know what fire or water is?

Hyl. You may indeed know that fire appears hot, and water fluid; but this is no more than knowing what sensations are produced in your own mind, upon the application of fire and water to your organs of sense. Their internal constitution, their true and real nature, you are utterly in the dark as to that.

Phil. Do I not know this to be a real stone that I stand on, and that which I see before my eyes to be a real tree?

Hyl. Know? No, it is impossible you or any man alive should know it. All you know is, that you have such a certain idea or appearance in your own mind. But what is this to the real tree or stone? I tell you that colour, figure, and hardness, which you perceive, are not the real natures of those things, or in the least like them. The same may be said of all other real things, or corporeal substances, which compose the world. They have none of them anything of themselves, like those sensible qualities by us perceived. We should not therefore pretend to affirm or know anything of them, as they are in their own nature.

8

Phil. But surely, Hylas, I can distinguish gold, for example, from iron: and how could this be, if I knew not what either truly was?

Hyl. Believe me, Philonous, you can only distinguish between your own ideas. That yellowness, that weight, and other sensible qualities, think you they are really in the gold? They are only relative to the senses, and have no absolute existence in nature. And in pretending to distinguish the species of real things, by the appearances in your mind, you may perhaps act as wisely as he that should conclude two men were of a different species, because their clothes were not of the same colour.

Phil. It seems, then, we are altogether put off with the appearances of things, and those false ones too. The very meat I eat, and the cloth I wear, have nothing in them like what I see and feel.

Hyl. Even so.

12

Phil. But is it not strange the whole world should be thus imposed on, and so foolish as to believe their senses? And yet I know not how it is, but men eat, and drink, and sleep, and perform all the offices of life, as comfortably and conveniently as if they really knew the things they are conversant about.

Hyl. They do so: but you know ordinary practice does not require a nicety of speculative knowledge. Hence the vulgar retain their mistakes, and for all that make a shift to bustle through the affairs of life. But philosophers know better things.

Phil. You mean, they know that they know nothing.

Hyl. That is the very top and perfection of human knowledge.

16

Phil. But are you all this while in earnest, Hylas; and are you seriously persuaded that you know nothing real in the world? Suppose you are going to write, would you not call for pen, ink, and paper, like another man; and do you not know what it is you call for?

Hyl. How often must I tell you, that I know not the real nature of any one thing in the universe? I may indeed upon occasion make use of pen, ink, and paper. But what any one of them is in its own true nature, I declare positively I know not. And the same is true with regard to every other corporeal thing. And, what is more, we are not only ignorant of the true and real nature of things, but even of their existence. It cannot be denied that we perceive such certain appearances or ideas; but it cannot be concluded from thence that bodies really exist. Nay, now I think on it, I must, agreeably to my former concessions, farther declare that it is impossible any real corporeal thing should exist in nature.

Phil. You amaze me. Was ever anything more wild and extravagant than the notions you now maintain: and is it not evident you are led into all these extravagances by the belief of material substance? This makes you dream of those unknown natures in everything. It is this occasions your distinguishing between the reality and sensible appearances of things. It is to this you are indebted for being ignorant of what everybody else knows perfectly well. Nor is this all: you are not only ignorant of the true nature of everything, but you know not whether anything really exists, or whether there are any true natures at all; forasmuch as you attribute to your material beings an absolute or external existence, wherein you suppose their reality consists. And, as you are forced in the end to acknowledge such an existence means either a direct repugnancy, or nothing at all, it follows that you are obliged to pull down your own hypothesis of material Substance, and positively to deny the real existence of any part of the universe. And so you are plunged into the deepest and most deplorable scepticism that ever man was. Tell me, Hylas, is it not as I say?

Hyl. I agree with you. Material substance was no more than an hypothesis; and a false and groundless one too. I will no longer spend my breath in defence of it. But whatever hypothesis you advance, or whatsoever scheme of things you introduce in its stead, I doubt not it will appear every whit as false: let me but be allowed to question you upon it. That is, suffer me to serve you in your own kind, and I warrant it shall conduct you through as many perplexities and contradictions, to the very same state of scepticism that I myself am in at present.

20

Phil. I assure you, Hylas, I do not pretend to frame any hypothesis at all. I am of a vulgar cast, simple enough to believe my senses, and leave things as I find them. To be plain, it is my opinion that the real things are those very things I see, and feel, and perceive by my senses. These I know; and, finding they answer all the necessities and purposes of life, have no reason to be solicitous about any other unknown beings. A piece of sensible bread, for instance, would stay my stomach better than ten thousand times as much of that insensible, unintelligible, real bread you speak of. It is likewise my opinion that colours and other sensible qualities are on the objects. I cannot for my life help thinking that snow is white, and fire hot. You indeed, who by snow and fire mean certain external, unperceived, unperceiving substances, are in the right to deny whiteness or heat to be affections inherent in them. But I, who understand by those words the things I see and feel, am obliged to think like other folks. And, as I am no sceptic with regard to the nature of things, so neither am I as to their existence. That a thing should be really perceived by my senses, and at the same time not really exist, is to me a plain contradiction; since I cannot prescind or abstract, even in thought, the existence of a sensible thing from its being perceived. Wood, stones, fire, water, flesh, iron, and the like things, which I name and discourse of, are things that I know. And I should not have known them but that I perceived them by my senses; and things perceived by the senses are immediately perceived; and things immediately perceived are ideas; and ideas cannot exist without the mind; their existence therefore consists in being perceived; when, therefore, they are actually perceived there can be no doubt of their existence. Away then with all that scepticism, all those ridiculous philosophical doubts. What a jest is it for a philosopher to question the existence of sensible things, till he hath it proved to him from the veracity of God; or to pretend our knowledge in this point falls short of intuition or demonstration! I might as well doubt of my own being, as of the being of those things I actually see and feel.

Hyl. Not so fast, Philonous: you say you cannot conceive how sensible things should exist without the mind. Do you not?

Phil. I do.

Hyl. Supposing you were annihilated, cannot you conceive it possible that things perceivable by sense may still exist?

24

Phil. I can; but then it must be in another mind. When I deny sensible things an existence out of the mind, I do not mean my mind in particular, but all minds. Now, it is plain they have an existence exterior to my mind; since I find them by experience to be independent of it. There is therefore some other Mind wherein they exist, during the intervals between the times of my perceiving them: as likewise they did before my birth, and would do after my supposed annihilation. And, as the same is true with regard to all other finite created spirits, it necessarily follows there is an omnipresent eternal Mind, which knows and comprehends all things, and exhibits them to our view in such a manner, and according to such rules, as He Himself hath ordained, and are by us termed the laws of nature.

Hyl. Answer me, Philonous. Are all our ideas perfectly inert beings? Or have they any agency included in them?

Phil. They are altogether passive and inert.

Hyl. And is not God an agent, a being purely active?

28

Phil. I acknowledge it.

Hyl. No idea therefore can be like unto, or represent the nature of God?

Phil. It cannot.

Hyl. Since therefore you have no idea of the mind of God, how can you conceive it possible that things should exist in His mind? Or, if you can conceive the mind of God, without having an idea of it, why may not I be allowed to conceive the existence of Matter, notwithstanding I have no idea of it?

32

Phil. As to your first question: I own I have properly no idea, either of God or any other spirit; for these being active, cannot be represented by things perfectly inert, as our ideas are. I do nevertheless know that I, who am a spirit or thinking substance, exist as certainly as I know my ideas exist. Farther, I know what I mean by the terms I and myself; and I know this immediately or intuitively, though I do not perceive it as I perceive a triangle, a colour, or a sound. The Mind, Spirit, or Soul is that indivisible unextended thing which thinks, acts, and perceives. I say indivisible, because unextended; and unextended, because extended, figured, moveable things are ideas; and that which perceives ideas, which thinks and wills, is plainly itself no idea, nor like an idea. Ideas are things inactive, and perceived. And Spirits a sort of beings altogether different from them. I do not therefore say my soul is an idea, or like an idea. However, taking the word idea in a large sense, my soul may be said to furnish me with an idea, that is, an image or likeness of God—though indeed extremely inadequate. For, all the notion I have of God is obtained by reflecting on my own soul, heightening its powers, and removing its imperfections. I have, therefore, though not an inactive idea, yet in myself some sort of an active thinking image of the Deity. And, though I perceive Him not by sense, yet I have a notion of Him, or know Him by reflexion and reasoning. My own mind and my own ideas I have an immediate knowledge of; and, by the help of these, do mediately apprehend the possibility of the existence of other spirits and ideas. Farther, from my own being, and from the dependency I find in myself and my ideas, I do, by an act of reason, necessarily infer the existence of a God, and of all created things in the mind of God. So much for your first question. For the second: I suppose by this time you can answer it yourself. For you neither perceive Matter objectively, as you do an inactive being or idea; nor know it, as you do yourself, by a reflex act, neither do you mediately apprehend it by similitude of the one or the other; nor yet collect it by reasoning from that which you know immediately. All which makes the case of Matter widely different from that of the Deity.

[ 2 Hyl. You say your own soul supplies you with some sort of an idea or image of God. But, at the same time, you acknowledge you have, properly speaking, no idea of your own soul. You even affirm that spirits are a sort of beings altogether different from ideas. Consequently that no idea can be like a spirit. We have therefore no idea of any spirit. You admit nevertheless that there is spiritual Substance, although you have no idea of it; while you deny there can be such a thing as material Substance, because you have no notion or idea of it. Is this fair dealing? To act consistently, you must either admit Matter or reject Spirit. What say you to this?

Phil. I say, in the first place, that I do not deny the existence of material substance, merely because I have no notion of it, but because the notion of it is inconsistent; or, in other words, because it is repugnant that there should be a notion of it. Many things, for aught I know, may exist, whereof neither I nor any other man hath or can have any idea or notion whatsoever. But then those things must be possible, that is, nothing inconsistent must be included in their definition. I say, secondly, that, although we believe things to exist which we do not perceive, yet we may not believe that any particular thing exists, without some reason for such belief: but I have no reason for believing the existence of Matter. I have no immediate intuition thereof: neither can I immediately from my sensations, ideas, notions, actions, or passions, infer an unthinking, unperceiving, inactive Substance—either by probable deduction, or necessary consequence. Whereas the being of my Self, that is, my own soul, mind, or thinking principle, I evidently know by reflexion. You will forgive me if I repeat the same things in answer to the same objections. In the very notion or definition of material Substance, there is included a manifest repugnance and inconsistency. But this cannot be said of the notion of Spirit. That ideas should exist in what doth not perceive, or be produced by what doth not act, is repugnant. But, it is no repugnancy to say that a perceiving thing should be the subject of ideas, or an active thing the cause of them. It is granted we have neither an immediate evidence nor a demonstrative knowledge of the existence of other finite spirits; but it will not thence follow that such spirits are on a foot with material substances: if to suppose the one be inconsistent, and it be not inconsistent to suppose the other; if the one can be inferred by no argument, and there is a probability for the other, if we see signs and effects indicating distinct finite agents like ourselves, and see no sign or symptom whatever that leads to a rational belief of Matter. I say, lastly, that I have a notion of Spirit, though I have not, strictly speaking, an idea of it. I do not perceive it as an idea, or by means of an idea, but know it by reflexion.

Hyl. Notwithstanding all you have said, to me it seems that, according to your own way of thinking, and in consequence of your own principles, it should follow that you are only a system of floating ideas, without any substance to support them. Words are not to be used without a meaning. And, as there is no more meaning in spiritual Substance than in material Substance. the one is to be exploded as well as the other.

36

Phil. How often must I repeat, that I know or am conscious of my own being; and that I myself am not my ideas, but somewhat else, a thinking, active principle that perceives, knows, wills, and operates about ideas. I know that I, one and the same self, perceive both colours and sounds: that a colour cannot perceive a sound, nor a sound a colour: that I am therefore one individual principle, distinct from colour and sound; and, for the same reason, from all other sensible things and inert ideas. But, I am not in like manner conscious either of the existence or essence of Matter. On the contrary, I know that nothing inconsistent can exist, and that the existence of Matter implies an inconsistency. Father, I know what I mean when I affirm that there is a spiritual substance or support of ideas, that is, that a spirit knows and perceives ideas. But, I do not know what is meant when it is said that an unperceiving substance hath inherent in it and supports either ideas or the archetypes of ideas. There is therefore upon the whole no parity of case between Spirit and Matter.]

Hyl. I own myself satisfied in this point. But, do you in earnest think the real existence of sensible things consists in their being actually perceived? If so; how comes it that all mankind distinguish between them? Ask the first man you meet, and he shall tell you, to be perceived is one thing, and to exist is another.

Phil. I am content, Hylas, to appeal to the common sense of the world for the truth of my notion. Ask the gardener why he thinks yonder cherry-tree exists in the garden, and he shall tell you, because he sees and feels it; in a word, because he perceives it by his senses. Ask him why he thinks an orange-tree not to be there, and he shall tell you, because he does not perceive it. What he perceives by sense, that he terms a real being, and saith it is or exists; but, that which is not perceivable, the same, he saith, hath no being.

40

Hyl. Yes, Philonous, I grant the existence of a sensible thing consists in being perceivable, but not in being actually perceived.

Phil. And what is perceivable but an idea? And can an idea exist without being actually perceived? These are points long since agreed between us.

Hyl. But, be your opinion never so true, yet surely you will not deny it is shocking, and contrary to the common sense of men. Ask the fellow whether yonder tree hath an existence out of his mind: what answer think you he would make?

Phil. The same that I should myself, to wit, that it doth exist out of his mind. But then to a Christian it cannot surely be shocking to say, the real tree, existing without his mind, is truly known and comprehended by (that is exists in) the infinite mind of God. Probably he may not at first glance be aware of the direct and immediate proof there is of this; inasmuch as the very being of a tree, or any other sensible thing, implies a mind wherein it is. But the point itself he cannot deny. The question between the Meterialists and me is not, whether things have a real existence out of the mind of this or that person, but whether they have an absolute existence, distinct from being perceived by God, and exterior to all minds. This indeed some heathens and philosophers have affirmed, but whoever entertains notions of the Deity suitable to the Holy Scriptures will be of another opinion.

44

Hyl. But, according to your notions, what difference is there between real things, and chimeras formed by the imagination, or the visions of a dream—since they are all equally in the mind?

Phil. The ideas formed by the imagination are faint and indistinct; they have, besides, an entire dependence on the will. But the ideas perceived by sense, that is, real things, are more vivid and clear; and, being imprinted on the mind by a spirit distinct from us, have not the like dependence on our will. There is therefore no danger of confounding these with the foregoing: and there is as little of confounding them with the visions of a dream, which are dim, irregular, and confused. And, though they should happen to be never so lively and natural, yet, by their not being connected, and of a piece with the preceding and subsequent transactions of our lives, they might easily be distinguished from realities. In short, by whatever method you distinguish things from chimeras on your scheme, the same, it is evident, will hold also upon mine. For, it must be, I presume, by some perceived difference; and I am not for depriving you of any one thing that you perceive.

Hyl. But still, Philonous, you hold, there is nothing in the world but spirits and ideas. And this, you must needs acknowledge, sounds very oddly.

Phil. I own the word idea, not being commonly used for thing, sounds something out of the way. My reason for using it was, because a necessary relation to the mind is understood to be implied by that term; and it is now commonly used by philosophers to denote the immediate objects of the understanding. But, however oddly the proposition may sound in words, yet it includes nothing so very strange or shocking in its sense; which in effect amounts to no more than this, to wit, that there are only things perceiving, and things perceived; or that every unthinking being is necessarily, and from the very nature of its existence, perceived by some mind; if not by a finite created mind, yet certainly by the infinite mind of God, in whom ‘we live, and move, and have our being.’ Is this as strange as to say, the sensible qualities are not on the objects: or that we cannot be sure of the existence of things, or know any thing of their real natures—though we both see and feel them, and perceive them by all our senses?

48

Hyl. And, in consequence of this, must we not think there are no such things as physical or corporeal causes; but that a Spirit is the immediate cause of all the phenomena in nature? Can there be anything more extravagant than this?

Phil. Yes, it is infinitely more extravagant to say—a thing which is inert operates on the mind, and which is unperceiving is the cause of our perceptions, [ 3 without any regard either to consistency, or the old known axiom, Nothing can give to another that which it hath not itself]. Besides, that which to you, I know not for what reason, seems so extravagant is no more than the Holy Scriptures assert in a hundred places. In them God is represented as the sole and immediate Author of all those effects which some heathens and philosophers are wont to ascribe to Nature, Matter, Fate, or the like unthinking principle. This is so much the constant language of Scripture that it were needless to confirm it by citations.

Hyl. You are not aware, Philonous, that in making God the immediate Author of all the motions in nature, you make Him the Author of murder, sacrilege, adultery, and the like heinous sins.

Phil. In answer to that, I observe, first, that the imputation of guilt is the same, whether a person commits an action with or without an instrument. In case therefore you suppose God to act by the mediation of an instrument or occasion, called Matter, you as truly make Him the author of sin as I, who think Him the immediate agent in all those operations vulgarly ascribed to Nature. I farther observe that sin or moral turpitude doth not consist in the outward physical action or motion, but in the internal deviation of the will from the laws of reason and religion. This is plain, in that the killing an enemy in a battle, or putting a criminal legally to death, is not thought sinful; though the outward act be the very same with that in the case of murder. Since, therefore, sin doth not consist in the physical action, the making God an immediate cause of all such actions is not making Him the Author of sin. Lastly, I have nowhere said that God is the only agent who produces all the motions in bodies. It is true I have denied there are any other agents besides spirits; but this is very consistent with allowing to thinking rational beings, in the production of motions, the use of limited powers, ultimately indeed derived from God, but immediately under the direction of their own wills, which is sufficient to entitle them to all the guilt of their actions.

52

Hyl. But the denying Matter, Philonous, or corporeal Substance; there is the point. You can never persuade me that this is not repugnant to the universal sense of mankind. Were our dispute to be determined by most voices, I am confident you would give up the point, without gathering the votes.

Phil. I wish both our opinions were fairly stated and submitted to the judgment of men who had plain common sense, without the prejudices of a learned education. Let me be represented as one who trusts his senses, who thinks he knows the things he sees and feels, and entertains no doubts of their existence; and you fairly set forth with all your doubts, your paradoxes, and your scepticism about you, and I shall willingly acquiesce in the determination of any indifferent person. That there is no substance wherein ideas can exist beside spirit is to me evident. And that the objects immediately perceived are ideas, is on all hands agreed. And that sensible qualities are objects immediately perceived no one can deny. It is therefore evident there can be no substratum of those qualities but spirit; in which they exist, not by way of mode or property, but as a thing perceived in that which perceives it. I deny therefore that there is any unthinking substratum of the objects of sense, and in that acceptation that there is any material substance. But if by material substance is meant only sensible body—that which is seen and felt (and the unphilosophical part of the world, I dare say, mean no more)—then I am more certain of matter’s existence than you or any other philosopher pretend to be. If there be anything which makes the generality of mankind averse from the notions I espouse, it is a misapprehension that I deny the reality of sensible things. But, as it is you who are guilty of that, and not I, it follows that in truth their aversion is against your notions and not mine. I do therefore assert that I am as certain as of my own being, that there are bodies or corporeal substances (meaning the things I perceive by my senses); and that, granting this, the bulk of mankind will take no thought about, nor think themselves at all concerned in the fate of those unknown natures, and philosophical quiddities, which some men are so fond of.

Hyl. What say you to this? Since, according to you, men judge of the reality of things by their senses, how can a man be mistaken in thinking the moon a plain lucid surface, about a foot in diameter; or a square tower, seen at a distance, round; or an oar, with one end in the water, crooked?

Phil. He is not mistaken with regard to the ideas he actually perceives, but in the inference he makes from his present perceptions. Thus, in the case of the oar, what he immediately perceives by sight is certainly crooked; and so far he is in the right. But if he thence conclude that upon taking the oar out of the water he shall perceive the same crookedness; or that it would affect his touch as crooked things are wont to do: in that he is mistaken. In like manner, if he shall conclude from what he perceives in one station, that, in case he advances towards the moon or tower, he should still be affected with the like ideas, he is mistaken. But his mistake lies not in what he perceives immediately, and at present, (it being a manifest contradiction to suppose he should err in respect of that) but in the wrong judgment he makes concerning the ideas he apprehends to be connected with those immediately perceived: or, concerning the ideas that, from what he perceives at present, he imagines would be perceived in other circumstances. The case is the same with regard to the Copernican system. We do not here perceive any motion of the earth: but it were erroneous thence to conclude, that, in case we were placed at as great a distance from that as we are now from the other planets, we should not then perceive its motion.

56

Hyl. I understand you; and must needs own you say things plausible enough. But, give me leave to put you in mind of one thing. Pray, Philonous, were you not formerly as positive that Matter existed, as you are now that it does not?

Phil. I was. But here lies the difference. Before, my positiveness was founded, without examination, upon prejudice; but now, after inquiry, upon evidence.

Hyl. After all, it seems our dispute is rather about words than things. We agree in the thing, but differ in the name. That we are affected with ideas from without is evident; and it is no less evident that there must be (I will not say archetypes, but) Powers without the mind, corresponding to those ideas. And, as these Powers cannot subsist by themselves, there is some subject of them necessarily to be admitted; which I call Matter, and you call Spirit. This is all the difference.

Phil. Pray, Hylas, is that powerful Being, or subject of powers, extended?

60

Hyl. It hath not extension; but it hath the power to raise in you the idea of extension.

Phil. It is therefore itself unextended?

Hyl. I grant it.

Phil. Is it not also active?

64

Hyl. Without doubt. Otherwise, how could we attribute powers to it?

Phil. Now let me ask you two questions: First, Whether it be agreeable to the usage either of philosophers or others to give the name Matter to an unextended active being? And, Secondly, Whether it be not ridiculously absurd to misapply names contrary to the common use of language?

Hyl. Well then, let it not be called Matter, since you will have it so, but some Third Nature distinct from Matter and Spirit. For what reason is there why you should call it Spirit? Does not the notion of spirit imply that it is thinking, as well as active and unextended?

Phil. My reason is this: because I have a mind to have some notion of meaning in what I say: but I have no notion of any action distinct from volition, neither can I conceive volition to be anywhere but in a spirit: therefore, when I speak of an active being, I am obliged to mean a Spirit. Beside, what can be plainer than that a thing which hath no ideas in itself cannot impart them to me; and, if it hath ideas, surely it must be a Spirit. To make you comprehend the point still more clearly if it be possible, I assert as well as you that, since we are affected from without, we must allow Powers to be without, in a Being distinct from ourselves. So far we are agreed. But then we differ as to the kind of this powerful Being. I will have it to be Spirit, you Matter, or I know not what (I may add too, you know not what) Third Nature. Thus, I prove it to be Spirit. From the effects I see produced, I conclude there are actions; and, because actions, volitions; and, because there are volitions, there must be a will. Again, the things I perceive must have an existence, they or their archetypes, out of my mind: but, being ideas, neither they nor their archetypes can exist otherwise than in an understanding; there is therefore an understanding. But will and understanding constitute in the strictest sense a mind or spirit. The powerful cause, therefore, of my ideas is in strict propriety of speech a Spirit.

68

Hyl. And now I warrant you think you have made the point very clear, little suspecting that what you advance leads directly to a contradiction. Is it not an absurdity to imagine any imperfection in God?

Phil. Without a doubt.

Hyl. To suffer pain is an imperfection?

Phil. It is.

72

Hyl. Are we not sometimes affected with pain and uneasiness by some other Being?

Phil. We are.

Hyl. And have you not said that Being is a Spirit, and is not that Spirit God?

Phil. I grant it.

76

Hyl. But you have asserted that whatever ideas we perceive from without are in the mind which affects us. The ideas, therefore, of pain and uneasiness are in God; or, in other words, God suffers pain: that is to say, there is an imperfection in the Divine nature: which, you acknowledged, was absurd. So you are caught in a plain contradiction.

Phil. That God knows or understands all things, and that He knows, among other things, what pain is, even every sort of painful sensation, and what it is for His creatures to suffer pain, I make no question. But, that God, though He knows and sometimes causes painful sensations in us, can Himself suffer pain, I positively deny. We, who are limited and dependent spirits, are liable to impressions of sense, the effects of an external Agent, which, being produced against our wills, are sometimes painful and uneasy. But God, whom no external being can affect, who perceives nothing by sense as we do; whose will is absolute and independent, causing all things, and liable to be thwarted or resisted by nothing: it is evident, such a Being as this can suffer nothing, nor be affected with any painful sensation, or indeed any sensation at all. We are chained to a body: that is to say, our perceptions are connected with corporeal motions. By the law of our nature, we are affected upon every alteration in the nervous parts of our sensible body; which sensible body, rightly considered, is nothing but a complexion of such qualities or ideas as have no existence distinct from being perceived by a mind. So that this connexion of sensations with corporeal motions means no more than a correspondence in the order of nature, between two sets of ideas, or things immediately perceivable. But God is a Pure Spirit, disengaged from all such sympathy, or natural ties. No corporeal motions are attended with the sensations of pain or pleasure in His mind. To know everything knowable, is certainly a perfection; but to endure, or suffer, or feel anything by sense, is an imperfection. The former, I say, agrees to God, but not the latter. God knows, or hath ideas; but His ideas are not conveyed to Him by sense, as ours are. Your not distinguishing, where there is so manifest a difference, makes you fancy you see an absurdity where there is none.

Hyl. But, all this while you have not considered that the quantity of Matter has been demonstrated to be proportioned to the gravity of bodies. And what can withstand demonstration?

Phil. Let me see how you demonstrate that point.

80

Hyl. I lay it down for a principle, that the moments or quantities of motion in bodies are in a direct compounded reason of the velocities and quantities of Matter contained in them. Hence, where the velocities are equal, it follows the moments are directly as the quantity of Matter in each. But it is found by experience that all bodies (bating the small inequalities, arising from the resistance of the air) descend with an equal velocity; the motion therefore of descending bodies, and consequently their gravity, which is the cause or principle of that motion, is proportional to the quantity of Matter; which was to be demonstrated.

Phil. You lay it down as a self-evident principle that the quantity of motion in any body is proportional to the velocity and Matter taken together; and this is made use of to prove a proposition from whence the existence of Matter is inferred. Pray is not this arguing in a circle?

Hyl. In the premise I only mean that the motion is proportional to the velocity, jointly with the extension and solidity.

Phil. But, allowing this to be true, yet it will not thence follow that gravity is proportional to Matter, in your philosophic sense of the word; except you take it for granted that unknown substratum, or whatever else you call it, is proportional to those sensible qualities; which to suppose is plainly begging the question. That there is magnitude and solidity, or resistance, perceived by sense, I readily grant; as likewise, that gravity may be proportional to those qualities I will not dispute. But that either these qualities as perceived by us, or the powers producing them, do exist in a material substratum; this is what I deny, and you indeed affirm, but, notwithstanding your demonstration, have not yet proved.

84

Hyl. I shall insist no longer on that point. Do you think, however, you shall persuade me that the natural philosophers have been dreaming all this while? Pray what becomes of all their hypotheses and explications of the phenomena, which suppose the existence of Matter?

Phil. What mean you, Hylas, by the phenomena?

Hyl. I mean the appearances which I perceive by my senses.

Phil. And the appearances perceived by sense, are they not ideas?

88

Hyl. I have told you so a hundred times.

Phil. Therefore to explain the phenomena, is to shew how we come to be affected with ideas, in that manner and order wherein they are imprinted on our senses. Is it not?

Hyl. It is.

Phil. Now, if you can prove that any philosopher has explained the production of any one idea in our minds by the help of Matter, I shall for ever acquiesce, and look on all that hath been said against it as nothing; but, if you cannot, it is vain to urge the explication of phenomena. That a Being endowed with knowledge and will should produce or exhibit ideas is easily understood. But that a Being which is utterly destitute of these faculties should be able to produce ideas, or in any sort to affect an intelligence, this I can never understand. This I say, though we had some positive conception of Matter, though we knew its qualities, and could comprehend its existence, would yet be so far from explaining things, that it is itself the most inexplicable thing in the world. And yet, for all this, it will not follow that philosophers have been doing nothing; for, by observing and reasoning upon the connexion of ideas, they discover the laws and methods of nature, which is a part of knowledge both useful and entertaining.

92

Hyl. After all, can it be supposed God would deceive all mankind? Do you imagine He would have induced the whole world to believe the being of Matter, if there was no such thing?

Phil. That every epidemical opinion, arising from prejudice, or passion, or thoughtlessness, may be imputed to God, as the Author of it, I believe you will not affirm. Whatsoever opinion we father on Him, it must be either because He has discovered it to us by super-natural revelation; or because it is so evident to our natural faculties, which were framed and given us by God, that it is impossible we should withhold our assent from it. But where is the revelation? or where is the evidence that extorts the belief of Matter? Nay, how does it appear, that Matter, taken for something distinct from what we perceive by our senses, is thought to exist by all mankind; or indeed, by any except a few philosophers, who do not know what they would be at? Your question supposes these points are clear; and, when you have cleared them, I shall think myself obliged to give you another answer. In the meantime, let it suffice that I tell you, I do not suppose God has deceived mankind at all.

Hyl. But the novelty, Philonous, the novelty! There lies the danger. New notions should always be discountenanced; they unsettle men’s minds, and nobody knows where they will end.

Phil. Why the rejecting a notion that has no foundation, either in sense, or in reason, or in Divine authority, should be thought to unsettle the belief of such opinions as are grounded on all or any of these, I cannot imagine. That innovations in government and religion are dangerous, and ought to be discountenanced, I freely own. But is there the like reason why they should be discouraged in philosophy? The making anything known which was unknown before is an innovation in knowledge: and, if all such innovations had been forbidden, men would have made a notable progress in the arts and sciences. But it is none of my business to plead for novelties and paradoxes. That the qualities we perceive are not on the objects: that we must not believe our senses: that we know nothing of the real nature of things, and can never be assured even of their existence: that real colours and sounds are nothing but certain unknown figures and motions: that motions are in themselves neither swift nor slow: that there are in bodies absolute extensions, without any particular magnitude or figure: that a thing stupid, thoughtless, and inactive, operates on a spirit: that the least particle of a body contains innumerable extended parts:—these are the novelties, these are the strange notions which shock the genuine uncorrupted judgment of all mankind; and being once admitted, embarrass the mind with endless doubts and difficulties. And it is against these and the like innovations I endeavour to vindicate Common Sense. It is true, in doing this, I may perhaps be obliged to use some ambages, and ways of speech not common. But, if my notions are once thoroughly understood, that which is most singular in them will, in effect, be found to amount to no more than this:—that it is absolutely impossible, and a plain contradiction, to suppose any unthinking Being should exist without being perceived by a Mind. And, if this notion be singular, it is a shame it should be so, at this time of day, and in a Christian country.

96

Hyl. As for the difficulties other opinions may be liable to, those are out of the question. It is your business to defend your own opinion. Can anything be plainer than that you are for changing all things into ideas? You, I say, who are not ashamed to charge me with scepticism. This is so plain, there is no denying it.

Phil. You mistake me. I am not for changing things into ideas, but rather ideas into things; since those immediate objects of perception, which, according to you, are only appearances of things, I take to be the real things themselves.

Hyl. Things! You may pretend what you please; but it is certain you leave us nothing but the empty forms of things, the outside only which strikes the senses.

Phil. What you call the empty forms and outside of things seem to me the very things themselves. Nor are they empty or incomplete, otherwise than upon your supposition—that Matter is an essential part of all corporeal things. We both, therefore, agree in this, that we perceive only sensible forms: but herein we differ—you will have them to be empty appearances, I, real beings. In short, you do not trust your senses, I do.

100

Hyl. You say you believe your senses; and seem to applaud yourself that in this you agree with the vulgar. According to you, therefore, the true nature of a thing is discovered by the senses. If so, whence comes that disagreement? Why is not the same figure, and other sensible qualities, perceived all manner of ways? and why should we use a microscope the better to discover the true nature of a body, if it were discoverable to the naked eye?

Phil. Strictly speaking, Hylas, we do not see the same object that we feel; neither is the same object perceived by the microscope which was by the naked eye. But, in case every variation was thought sufficient to constitute a new kind of individual, the endless number of confusion of names would render language impracticable. Therefore, to avoid this, as well as other inconveniences which are obvious upon a little thought, men combine together several ideas, apprehended by divers senses, or by the same sense at different times, or in different circumstances, but observed, however, to have some connexion in nature, either with respect to co-existence or succession; all which they refer to one name, and consider as one thing. Hence it follows that when I examine, by my other senses, a thing I have seen, it is not in order to understand better the same object which I had perceived by sight, the object of one sense not being perceived by the other senses. And, when I look through a microscope, it is not that I may perceive more clearly what I perceived already with my bare eyes; the object perceived by the glass being quite different from the former. But, in both cases, my aim is only to know what ideas are connected together; and the more a man knows of the connexion of ideas, the more he is said to know of the nature of things. What, therefore, if our ideas are variable; what if our senses are not in all circumstances affected with the same appearances. It will not thence follow they are not to be trusted; or that they are inconsistent either with themselves or anything else: except it be with your preconceived notion of (I know not what) one single, unchanged, unperceivable, real Nature, marked by each name. Which prejudice seems to have taken its rise from not rightly understanding the common language of men, speaking of several distinct ideas as united into one thing by the mind. And, indeed, there is cause to suspect several erroneous conceits of the philosophers are owing to the same original: while they began to build their schemes not so much on notions as on words, which were framed by the vulgar, merely for conveniency and dispatch in the common actions of life, without any regard to speculation.

Hyl. Methinks I apprehend your meaning.

Phil. It is your opinion the ideas we perceive by our senses are not real things, but images or copies of them. Our knowledge, therefore, is no farther real than as our ideas are the true representations of those originals. But, as these supposed originals are in themselves unknown, it is impossible to know how far our ideas resemble them; or whether they resemble them at all. We cannot, therefore, be sure we have any real knowledge. Farther, as our ideas are perpetually varied, without any change in the supposed real things, it necessarily follows they cannot all be true copies of them: or, if some are and others are not, it is impossible to distinguish the former from the latter. And this plunges us yet deeper in uncertainty. Again, when we consider the point, we cannot conceive how any idea, or anything like an idea, should have an absolute existence out of a mind: nor consequently, according to you, how there should be any real thing in nature. The result of all which is that we are thrown into the most hopeless and abandoned scepticism. Now, give me leave to ask you, First, Whether your referring ideas to certain absolutely existing unperceived substances, as their originals, be not the source of all this scepticism? Secondly, whether you are informed, either by sense or reason, of the existence of those unknown originals? And, in case you are not, whether it be not absurd to suppose them? Thirdly, Whether, upon inquiry, you find there is anything distinctly conceived or meant by the absolute or external existence of unperceiving substances? Lastly, Whether, the premises considered, it be not the wisest way to follow nature, trust your senses, and, laying aside all anxious thought about unknown natures or substances, admit with the vulgar those for real things which are perceived by the senses?

104

Hyl. For the present, I have no inclination to the answering part. I would much rather see how you can get over what follows. Pray are not the objects perceived by the senses of one, likewise perceivable to others present? If there were a hundred more here, they would all see the garden, the trees, and flowers, as I see them. But they are not in the same manner affected with the ideas I frame in my imagination. Does not this make a difference between the former sort of objects and the latter?

Phil. I grant it does. Nor have I ever denied a difference between the objects of sense and those of imagination. But what would you infer from thence? You cannot say that sensible objects exist unperceived, because they are perceived by many.

Hyl. I own I can make nothing of that objection: but it hath led me into another. Is it not your opinion that by our senses we perceive only the ideas existing in our minds?

108

Phil. It is.

Hyl. But the same idea which is in my mind cannot be in yours, or in any other mind. Doth it not therefore follow, from your principles, that no two can see the same thing? And is not this highly absurd?

Phil. If the term same be taken in the vulgar acceptation, it is certain (and not at all repugnant to the principles I maintain) that different persons may perceive the same thing; or the same thing or idea exist in different minds. Words are of arbitrary imposition; and, since men are used to apply the word same where no distinction or variety is perceived, and I do not pretend to alter their perceptions, it follows that, as men have said before, several saw the same thing, so they may, upon like occasions, still continue to use the same phrase, without any deviation either from propriety of language, or the truth of things. But, if the term same be used in the acceptation of philosophers, who pretend to an abstracted notion of identity, then, according to their sundry definitions of this notion (for it is not yet agreed wherein that philosophic identity consists), it may or may not be possible for divers persons to perceive the same thing. But whether philosophers shall think fit to call a thing the same or no, is, I conceive, of small importance. Let us suppose several men together, all endued with the same faculties, and consequently affected in like sort by their senses, and who had yet never known the use of language; they would, without question, agree in their perceptions. Though perhaps, when they came to the use of speech, some regarding the uniformness of what was perceived, might call it the same thing: others, especially regarding the diversity of persons who perceived, might choose the denomination of different things. But who sees not that all the dispute is about a word? to wit, whether what is perceived by different persons may yet have the term same applied to it? Or, suppose a house, whose walls or outward shell remaining unaltered, the chambers are all pulled down, and new ones built in their place; and that you should call this the same, and I should say it was not the same house:—would we not, for all this, perfectly agree in our thoughts of the house, considered in itself? And would not all the difference consist in a sound? If you should say, We differed in our notions; for that you super-added to your idea of the house the simple abstracted idea of identity, whereas I did not; I would tell you, I know not what you mean by the abstracted idea of identity; and should desire you to look into your own thoughts, and be sure you understood yourself.——Why so silent, Hylas? Are you not yet satisfied men may dispute about identity and diversity, without any real difference in their thoughts and opinions, abstracted from names? Take this farther reflexion with you—that whether Matter be allowed to exist or no, the case is exactly the same as to the point in hand. For the Materialists themselves acknowledge what we immediately perceive by our senses to be our own ideas. Your difficulty, therefore, that no two see the same thing, makes equally against the Materialists and me.

Hyl. [ 4 Ay, Philonous,] But they suppose an external archetype, to which referring their several ideas they may truly be said to perceive the same thing.

112

Phil. And (not to mention your having discarded those archetypes) so may you suppose an external archetype on my principles;—external, I mean, to your own mind: though indeed it must be supposed to exist in that Mind which comprehends all things; but then, this serves all the ends of identity, as well as if it existed out of a mind. And I am sure you yourself will not say it is less intelligible.

Hyl. You have indeed clearly satisfied me—either that there is no difficulty at bottom in this point; or, if there be, that it makes equally against both opinions.

Phil. But that which makes equally against two contradictory opinions can be a proof against neither.

116

Hyl. I acknowledge it.

But, after all, Philonous, when I consider the substance of what you advance against Scepticism, it amounts to no more than this:—We are sure that we really see, hear, feel; in a word, that we are affected with sensible impressions.

Phil. And how are we considered any farther? I see this cherry, I feel it, I taste it: and I am sure nothing cannot be seen, or felt, or tasted: it is therefore real. Take away the sensations of softness, moisture, redness, tartness, and you take away the cherry, since it is not a being distinct from sensations. A cherry, I say, is nothing but a congeries of sensible impressions, or ideas perceived by various senses: which ideas are united into one thing (or have one name given them) by the mind, because they are observed to attend each other. Thus, when the palate is affected with such a particular taste, the sight is affected with a red colour, the touch with roundness, softness, &c. Hence, when I see, and feel, and taste, in such sundry certain manners, I am sure the cherry exists, or is real; its reality being in my opinion nothing abstracted from those sensations. But if by the word cherry you mean an unknown nature, distinct from all those sensible qualities, and by its existence something distinct from its being perceived; then, indeed, I own, neither you nor I, nor any one else, can be sure it exists.

Hyl. But, what would you say, Philonous, if I should bring the very same reasons against the existence of sensible things in a mind, which you have offered against their existing in a material substratum?

120

Phil. When I see your reasons, you shall hear what I have to say to them.

Hyl. Is the mind extended or unextended?

Phil. Unextended, without doubt.

Hyl. Do you say the things you perceive are in your mind?

124

Phil. They are.

Hyl. Again, have I not heard you speak of sensible impressions?

Phil. I believe you may.

Hyl. Explain to me now, O Philonous! how it is possible there should be room for all those trees and houses to exist in your mind. Can extended things be contained in that which is unextended? Or, are we to imagine impressions made on a thing void of all solidity? You cannot say objects are in your mind, as books in your study: or that things are imprinted on it, as the figure of a seal upon wax. In what sense, therefore, are we to understand those expressions? Explain me this if you can: and I shall then be able to answer all those queries you formerly put to me about my substratum.

128

Phil. Look you, Hylas, when I speak of objects as existing in the mind, or imprinted on the senses, I would not be understood in the gross literal sense; as when bodies are said to exist in a place, or a seal to make an impression upon wax. My meaning is only that the mind comprehends or perceives them; and that it is affected from without, or by some being distinct from itself. This is my explication of your difficulty; and how it can serve to make your tenet of an unperceiving material substratum intelligible, I would fain know.

Hyl. Nay, if that be all, I confess I do not see what use can be made of it. But are you not guilty of some abuse of language in this?

Phil. None at all. It is no more than common custom, which you know is the rule of language, hath authorised: nothing being more usual, than for philosophers to speak of the immediate objects of the understanding as things existing in the mind. Nor is there anything in this but what is conformable to the general analogy of language; most part of the mental operations being signified by words borrowed from sensible things; as is plain in the terms comprehend, reflect, discourse, &c., which, being applied to the mind, must not be taken in their gross, original sense.

Hyl. You have, I own, satisfied me in this point. But there still remains one great difficulty, which I know not how you will get over. And, indeed, it is of such importance that if you could solve all others, without being able to find a solution for this, you must never expect to make me a proselyte to your principles.

132

Phil. Let me know this mighty difficulty.

Hyl. The Scripture account of the creation is what appears to me utterly irreconcilable with your notions. Moses tells us of a creation: a creation of what? of ideas? No, certainly, but of things, of real things, solid corporeal substances. Bring your principles to agree with this, and I shall perhaps agree with you.

Phil. Moses mentions the sun, moon, and stars, earth and sea, plants and animals. That all these do really exist, and were in the beginning created by God, I make no question. If by ideas you mean fictions and fancies of the mind, then these are no ideas. If by ideas you mean immediate objects of the understanding, or sensible things, which cannot exist unperceived, or out of a mind, then these things are ideas. But whether you do or do not call them ideas, it matters little. The difference is only about a name. And, whether that name be retained or rejected, the sense, the truth, and reality of things continues the same. In common talk, the objects of our senses are not termed ideas, but things. Call them so still: provided you do not attribute to them any absolute external existence, and I shall never quarrel with you for a word. The creation, therefore, I allow to have been a creation of things, of real things. Neither is this in the least inconsistent with my principles, as is evident from what I have now said; and would have been evident to you without this, if you had not forgotten what had been so often said before. But as for solid corporeal substances, I desire you to show where Moses makes any mention of them; and, if they should be mentioned by him, or any other inspired writer, it would still be incumbent on you to shew those words were not taken in the vulgar acceptation, for things falling under our senses, but in the philosophic acceptation, for Matter, or an unknown quiddity, with an absolute existence. When you have proved these points, then (and not till then) may you bring the authority of Moses into our dispute.

136

Hyl. It is in vain to dispute about a point so clear. I am content to refer it to your own conscience. Are you not satisfied there is some peculiar repugnancy between the Mosaic account of the creation and your notions?

Phil. If all possible sense which can be put on the first chapter of Genesis may be conceived as consistently with my principles as any other, then it has no peculiar repugnancy with them. But there is no sense you may not as well conceive, believing as I do. Since, besides spirits, all you conceive are ideas; and the existence of these I do not deny. Neither do you pretend they exist without the mind.

Hyl. Pray let me see any sense you can understand it in.

Phil. Why, I imagine that if I had been present at the creation, I should have seen things produced into being—that is become perceptible—in the order prescribed by the sacred historian. I never before believed the Mosaic account of the creation, and now find no alteration in my manner of believing it. When things are said to begin or end their existence, we do not mean this with regard to God, but His creatures. All objects are eternally known by God, or, which is the same thing, have an eternal existence in His mind: but when things, before imperceptible to creatures, are, by a decree of God, perceptible to them, then are they said to begin a relative existence, with respect to created minds. Upon reading therefore the Mosaic account of the creation, I understand that the several parts of the world became gradually perceivable to finite spirits, endowed with proper faculties; so that, whoever such were present, they were in truth perceived by them. This is the literal obvious sense suggested to me by the words of the Holy Scripture: in which is included no mention, or no thought, either of substratum, instrument, occasion, or absolute existence. And, upon inquiry, I doubt not it will be found that most plain honest men, who believe the creation, never think of those things any more than I. What metaphysical sense you may understand it in, you only can tell.

140

Hyl. But, Philonous, you do not seem to be aware that you allow created things, in the beginning, only a relative, and consequently hypothetical being: that is to say, upon supposition there were men to perceive them; without which they have no actuality of absolute existence, wherein creation might terminate. Is it not, therefore, according to you, plainly impossible the creation of any inanimate creatures should precede that of man? And is not this directly contrary to the Mosaic account?

Phil. In answer to that, I say, first, created beings might begin to exist in the mind of other created intelligences, beside men. You will not therefore be able to prove any contradiction between Moses and my notions, unless you first shew there was no other order of finite created spirits in being, before man. I say farther, in case we conceive the creation, as we should at this time, a parcel of plants or vegetables of all sorts produced, by an invisible Power, in a desert where nobody was present—that this way of explaining or conceiving it is consistent with my principles, since they deprive you of nothing, either sensible or imaginable; that it exactly suits with the common, natural, and undebauched notions of mankind; that it manifests the dependence of all things on God; and consequently hath all the good effect or influence, which it is possible that important article of our faith should have in making men humble, thankful, and resigned to their [ 5 great] Creator. I say, moreover, that, in this naked conception of things, divested of words, there will not be found any notion of what you call the actuality of absolute existence. You may indeed raise a dust with those terms, and so lengthen our dispute to no purpose. But I entreat you calmly to look into your own thoughts, and then tell me if they are not a useless and unintelligible jargon.

Hyl. I own I have no very clear notion annexed to them. But what say you to this? Do you not make the existence of sensible things consist in their being in a mind? And were not all things eternally in the mind of God? Did they not therefore exist from all eternity, according to you? And how could that which was eternal be created in time? Can anything be clearer or better connected than this?

Phil. And are not you too of opinion, that God knew all things from eternity?

144

Hyl. I am.

Phil. Consequently they always had a being in the Divine intellect.

Hyl. This I acknowledge.

Phil. By your own confession, therefore, nothing is new, or begins to be, in respect of the mind of God. So we are agreed in that point.

148

Hyl. What shall we make then of the creation?

Phil. May we not understand it to have been entirely in respect of finite spirits; so that things, with regard to us, may properly be said to begin their existence, or be created, when God decreed they should become perceptible to intelligent creatures, in that order and manner which He then established, and we now call the laws of nature? You may call this a relative, or hypothetical existence if you please. But, so long as it supplies us with the most natural, obvious, and literal sense of the Mosaic history of the creation; so long as it answers all the religious ends of that great article; in a word, so long as you can assign no other sense or meaning in its stead; why should we reject this? Is it to comply with a ridiculous sceptical humour of making everything nonsense and unintelligible? I am sure you cannot say it is for the glory of God. For, allowing it to be a thing possible and conceivable that the corporeal world should have an absolute existence extrinsical to the mind of God, as well as to the minds of all created spirits; yet how could this set forth either the immensity or omniscience of the Deity, or the necessary and immediate dependence of all things on Him? Nay, would it not rather seem to derogate from those attributes?

Hyl. Well, but as to this decree of God’s, for making things perceptible, what say you, Philonous? Is it not plain, God did either execute that decree from all eternity, or at some certain time began to will what He had not actually willed before, but only designed to will? If the former, then there could be no creation, or beginning of existence, in finite things. If the latter, then we must acknowledge something new to befall the Deity; which implies a sort of change: and all change argues imperfection.

Phil. Pray consider what you are doing. Is it not evident this objection concludes equally against a creation in any sense; nay, against every other act of the Deity, discoverable by the light of nature? None of which can we conceive, otherwise than as performed in time, and having a beginning. God is a Being of transcendent and unlimited perfections: His nature, therefore, is incomprehensible to finite spirits. It is not, therefore, to be expected, that any man, whether Materialist or Immaterialist, should have exactly just notions of the Deity, His attributes, and ways of operation. If then you would infer anything against me, your difficulty must not be drawn from the inadequateness of our conceptions of the Divine nature, which is unavoidable on any scheme; but from the denial of Matter, of which there is not one word, directly or indirectly, in what you have now objected.

152

Hyl. I must acknowledge the difficulties you are concerned to clear are such only as arise from the non-existence of Matter, and are peculiar to that notion. So far you are in the right. But I cannot by any means bring myself to think there is no such peculiar repugnancy between the creation and your opinion; though indeed where to fix it, I do not distinctly know.

Phil. What would you have? Do I not acknowledge a twofold state of things—the one ectypal or natural, the other archetypal and eternal? The former was created in time; the latter existed from everlasting in the mind of God. Is not this agreeable to the common notions of divines? or, is any more than this necessary in order to conceive the creation? But you suspect some peculiar repugnancy, though you know not where it lies. To take away all possibility of scruple in the case, do but consider this one point. Either you are not able to conceive the creation on any hypothesis whatsoever; and, if so, there is no ground for dislike or complaint against any particular opinion on that score: or you are able to conceive it; and, if so, why not on my Principles, since thereby nothing conceivable is taken away? You have all along been allowed the full scope of sense, imagination, and reason. Whatever, therefore, you could before apprehend, either immediately or mediately by your senses, or by ratiocination from your senses; whatever you could perceive, imagine, or understand, remains still with you. If, therefore, the notion you have of the creation by other Principles be intelligible, you have it still upon mine; if it be not intelligible, I conceive it to be no notion at all; and so there is no loss of it. And indeed it seems to me very plain that the supposition of Matter, that is a thing perfectly unknown and inconceivable, cannot serve to make us conceive anything. And, I hope it need not be proved to you that if the existence of Matter doth not make the creation conceivable, the creation’s being without it inconceivable can be no objection against its non-existence.

Hyl. I confess, Philonous, you have almost satisfied me in this point of the creation.

Phil. I would fain know why you are not quite satisfied. You tell me indeed of a repugnancy between the Mosaic history and Immaterialism: but you know not where it lies. Is this reasonable, Hylas? Can you expect I should solve a difficulty without knowing what it is? But, to pass by all that, would not a man think you were assured there is no repugnancy between the received notions of Materialists and the inspired writings?

156

Hyl. And so I am.

Phil. Ought the historical part of Scripture to be understood in a plain obvious sense, or in a sense which is metaphysical and out of the way?

Hyl. In the plain sense, doubtless.

Phil. When Moses speaks of herbs, earth, water, &c. as having been created by God; think you not the sensible things commonly signified by those words are suggested to every unphilosophical reader?

160

Hyl. I cannot help thinking so.

Phil. And are not all ideas, or things perceived by sense, to be denied a real existence by the doctrine of the Materialist?

Hyl. This I have already acknowledged.

Phil. The creation, therefore, according to them, was not the creation of things sensible, which have only a relative being, but of certain unknown natures, which have an absolute being, wherein creation might terminate?

164

Hyl. True.

Phil. Is it not therefore evident the assertors of Matter destroy the plain obvious sense of Moses, with which their notions are utterly inconsistent; and instead of it obtrude on us I know not what; something equally unintelligible to themselves and me?

Hyl. I cannot contradict you.

Phil. Moses tells us of a creation. A creation of what? of unknown quiddities, of occasions, or substratum? No, certainly; but of things obvious to the senses. You must first reconcile this with your notions, if you expect I should be reconciled to them.

168

Hyl. I see you can assault me with my own weapons.

Phil. Then as to absolute existence; was there ever known a more jejune notion than that? Something it is so abstracted and unintelligible that you have frankly owned you could not conceive it, much less explain anything by it. But allowing Matter to exist, and the notion of absolute existence to be clear as light; yet, was this ever known to make the creation more credible? Nay, hath it not furnished the atheists and infidels of all ages with the most plausible arguments against a creation? That a corporeal substance, which hath an absolute existence without the minds of spirits, should be produced out of nothing, by the mere will of a Spirit, hath been looked upon as a thing so contrary to all reason, so impossible and absurd, that not only the most celebrated among the ancients, but even divers modern and Christian philosophers have thought Matter co-eternal with the Deity. Lay these things together, and then judge you whether Materialism disposes men to believe the creation of things.

Hyl. I own, Philonous, I think it does not. This of the creation is the last objection I can think of; and I must needs own it hath been sufficiently answered as well as the rest. Nothing now remains to be overcome but a sort of unaccountable backwardness that I find in myself towards your notions.

Phil. When a man is swayed, he knows not why, to one side of the question, can this, think you, be anything else but the effect of prejudice, which never fails to attend old and rooted notions? And indeed in this respect I cannot deny the belief of Matter to have very much the advantage over the contrary opinion, with men of a learned education.

172

Hyl. I confess it seems to be as you say.

Phil. As a balance, therefore, to this weight of prejudice, let us throw into the scale the great advantages that arise from the belief of Immaterialism, both in regard to religion and human learning. The being of a God, and incorruptibility of the soul, those great articles of religion, are they not proved with the clearest and most immediate evidence? When I say the being of a God, I do not mean an obscure general Cause of things, whereof we have no conception, but God, in the strict and proper sense of the word. A Being whose spirituality, omnipresence, providence, omniscience, infinite power and goodness, are as conspicuous as the existence of sensible things, of which (notwithstanding the fallacious pretences and affected scruples of Sceptics) there is no more reason to doubt than of our own being.—Then, with relation to human sciences. In Natural Philosophy, what intricacies, what obscurities, what contradictions hath the belief of Matter led men into! To say nothing of the numberless disputes about its extent, continuity, homogeneity, gravity, divisibility, &c.—do they not pretend to explain all things by bodies operating on bodies, according to the laws of motion? and yet, are they able to comprehend how one body should move another? Nay, admitting there was no difficulty in reconciling the notion of an inert being with a cause, or in conceiving how an accident might pass from one body to another; yet, by all their strained thoughts and extravagant suppositions, have they been able to reach the mechanical production of any one animal or vegetable body? Can they account, by the laws of motion, for sounds, tastes, smells, or colours; or for the regular course of things? Have they accounted, by physical principles, for the aptitude and contrivance even of the most inconsiderable parts of the universe? But, laying aside Matter and corporeal causes, and admitting only the efficiency of an All-perfect Mind, are not all the effects of nature easy and intelligible? If the phenomena are nothing else but ideas; God is a spirit, but Matter an unintelligent, unperceiving being. If they demonstrate an unlimited power in their cause; God is active and omnipotent, but Matter an inert mass. If the order, regularity, and usefulness of them can never be sufficiently admired; God is infinitely wise and provident, but Matter destitute of all contrivance and design. These surely are great advantages in Physics. Not to mention that the apprehension of a distant Deity naturally disposes men to a negligence in their moral actions; which they would be more cautious of, in case they thought Him immediately present, and acting on their minds, without the interposition of Matter, or unthinking second causes.—Then in Metaphysics: what difficulties concerning entity in abstract, substantial forms, hylarchic principles, plastic natures, substance and accident, principle of individuation, possibility of Matter’s thinking, origin of ideas, the manner how two independent substances so widely different as Spirit and Matter, should mutually operate on each other? what difficulties, I say, and endless disquisitions, concerning these and innumerable other the like points, do we escape, by supposing only Spirits and ideas?—Even the Mathematics themselves, if we take away the absolute existence of extended things, become much more clear and easy; the most shocking paradoxes and intricate speculations in those sciences depending on the infinite divisibility of finite extension; which depends on that supposition—But what need is there to insist on the particular sciences? Is not that opposition to all science whatsoever, that frenzy of the ancient and modern Sceptics, built on the same foundation? Or can you produce so much as one argument against the reality of corporeal things, or in behalf of that avowed utter ignorance of their natures, which doth not suppose their reality to consist in an external absolute existence? Upon this supposition, indeed, the objections from the change of colours in a pigeon’s neck, or the appearance of the broken oar in the water, must be allowed to have weight. But these and the like objections vanish, if we do not maintain the being of absolute external originals, but place the reality of things in ideas, fleeting indeed, and changeable;—however, not changed at random, but according to the fixed order of nature. For, herein consists that constancy and truth of things which secures all the concerns of life, and distinguishes that which is real from the irregular visions of the fancy.

Hyl. I agree to all you have now said, and must own that nothing can incline me to embrace your opinion more than the advantages I see it is attended with. I am by nature lazy; and this would be a mighty abridgment in knowledge. What doubts, what hypotheses, what labyrinths of amusement, what fields of disputation, what an ocean of false learning, may be avoided by that single notion of Immaterialism!

Phil. After all, is there anything farther remaining to be done? You may remember you promised to embrace that opinion which upon examination should appear most agreeable to Common Sense and remote from Scepticism. This, by your own confession, is that which denies Matter, or the absolute existence of corporeal things. Nor is this all; the same notion has been proved several ways, viewed in different lights, pursued in its consequences, and all objections against it cleared. Can there be a greater evidence of its truth? or is it possible it should have all the marks of a true opinion and yet be false?

176

Hyl. I own myself entirely satisfied for the present in all respects. But, what security can I have that I shall still continue the same full assent to your opinion, and that no unthought-of objection or difficulty will occur hereafter?

Phil. Pray, Hylas, do you in other cases, when a point is once evidently proved, withhold your consent on account of objections or difficulties it may be liable to? Are the difficulties that attend the doctrine of incommensurable quantities, of the angle of contact, of the asymptotes to curves, or the like, sufficient to make you hold out against mathematical demonstration? Or will you disbelieve the Providence of God, because there may be some particular things which you know not how to reconcile with it? If there are difficulties attending Immaterialism, there are at the same time direct and evident proofs of it. But for the existence of Matter there is not one proof, and far more numerous and insurmountable objections lie against it. But where are those mighty difficulties you insist on? Alas! you know not where or what they are; something which may possibly occur hereafter. If this be a sufficient pretence for withholding your full assent, you should never yield it to any proposition, how free soever from exceptions, how clearly and solidly soever demonstrated.

Hyl. You have satisfied me, Philonous.

180

Phil. But, to arm you against all future objections, do but consider: That which bears equally hard on two contradictory opinions can be proof against neither. Whenever, therefore, any difficulty occurs, try if you can find a solution for it on the hypothesis of the Materialists. Be not deceived by words; but sound your own thoughts. And in case you cannot conceive it easier by the help of Materialism, it is plain it can be no objection against Immaterialism. Had you proceeded all along by this rule, you would probably have spared yourself abundance of trouble in objecting; since of all your difficulties I challenge you to shew one that is explained by Matter: nay, which is not more unintelligible with than without that supposition; and consequently makes rather against than for it. You should consider, in each particular, whether the difficulty arises from the non-existence of Matter. If it doth not, you might as well argue from the infinite divisibility of extension against the Divine prescience, as from such a difficulty against Immaterialism. And yet, upon recollection, I believe you will find this to have been often, if not always, the case. You should likewise take heed not to argue on a petitio principii. One is apt to say—The unknown substances ought to be esteemed real things, rather than the ideas in our minds: and who can tell but the unthinking external substance may concur, as a cause or instrument, in the productions of our ideas? But is not this proceeding on a supposition that there are such external substances? And to suppose this, is it not begging the question? But, above all things, you should beware of imposing on yourself by that vulgar sophism which is called ignoratio elenchi. You talked often as if you thought I maintained the non-existence of Sensible Things. Whereas in truth no one can be more thoroughly assured of their existence than I am. And it is you who doubt; I should have said, positively deny it. Everything that is seen, felt, heard, or any way perceived by the senses, is, on the principles I embrace, a real being; but not on yours. Remember, the Matter you contend for is an Unknown Somewhat (if indeed it may be termed somewhat), which is quite stripped of all sensible qualities, and can neither be perceived by sense, nor apprehended by the mind. Remember I say, that it is not any object which is hard or soft, hot or cold, blue or white, round or square, &c. For all these things I affirm do exist. Though indeed I deny they have an existence distinct from being perceived; or that they exist out of all minds whatsoever. Think on these points; let them be attentively considered and still kept in view. Otherwise you will not comprehend the state of the question; without which your objections will always be wide of the mark, and, instead of mine, may possibly be directed (as more than once they have been) against your own notions.

Hyl. I must needs own, Philonous, nothing seems to have kept me from agreeing with you more than this same mistaking the question. In denying Matter, at first glimpse I am tempted to imagine you deny the things we see and feel: but, upon reflexion, find there is no ground for it. What think you, therefore, of retaining the name Matter, and applying it to sensible things? This may be done without any change in your sentiments: and, believe me, it would be a means of reconciling them to some persons who may be more shocked at an innovation in words than in opinion.

Phil. With all my heart: retain the word Matter, and apply it to the objects of sense, if you please; provided you do not attribute to them any subsistence distinct from their being perceived. I shall never quarrel with you for an expression. Matter, or material substance, are terms introduced by philosophers; and, as used by them, imply a sort of independency, or a subsistence distinct from being perceived by a mind: but are never used by common people; or, if ever, it is to signify the immediate objects of sense. One would think, therefore, so long as the names of all particular things, with the terms sensible, substance, body, stuff, and the like, are retained, the word Matter should be never missed in common talk. And in philosophical discourses it seems the best way to leave it quite out: since there is not, perhaps, any one thing that hath more favoured and strengthened the depraved bent of the mind towards Atheism than the use of that general confused term.

Hyl. Well but, Philonous, since I am content to give up the notion of an unthinking substance exterior to the mind, I think you ought not to deny me the privilege of using the word Matter as I please, and annexing it to a collection of sensible qualities subsisting only in the mind. I freely own there is no other substance, in a strict sense, than Spirit. But I have been so long accustomed to the term Matter that I know not how to part with it: to say, there is no Matter in the world, is still shocking to me. Whereas to say—There is no Matter, if by that term be meant an unthinking substance existing without the mind; but if by Matter is meant some sensible thing, whose existence consists in being perceived, then there is Matter:—this distinction gives it quite another turn; and men will come into your notions with small difficulty, when they are proposed in that manner. For, after all, the controversy about Matter in the strict acceptation of it, lies altogether between you and the philosophers: whose principles, I acknowledge, are not near so natural, or so agreeable to the common sense of mankind, and Holy Scripture, as yours. There is nothing we either desire or shun but as it makes, or is apprehended to make, some part of our happiness or misery. But what hath happiness or misery, joy or grief, pleasure or pain, to do with Absolute Existence; or with unknown entities, abstracted from all relation to us? It is evident, things regard us only as they are pleasing or displeasing: and they can please or displease only so far forth as they are perceived. Farther, therefore, we are not concerned; and thus far you leave things as you found them. Yet still there is something new in this doctrine. It is plain, I do not now think with the Philosophers; nor yet altogether with the vulgar. I would know how the case stands in that respect; precisely, what you have added to, or altered in my former notions.

184

Phil. I do not pretend to be a setter-up of new notions. My endeavours tend only to unite, and place in a clearer light, that truth which was before shared between the vulgar and the philosophers:—the former being of opinion, that those things they immediately perceive are the real things; and the latter, that the things immediately perceived are ideas, which exist only in the mind. Which two notions put together, do, in effect, constitute the substance of what I advance.

Hyl. I have been a long time distrusting my senses: methought I saw things by a dim light and through false glasses. Now the glasses are removed and a new light breaks in upon my understanding. I am clearly convinced that I see things in their native forms, and am no longer in pain about their unknown natures or absolute existence. This is the state I find myself in at present; though, indeed, the course that brought me to it I do not yet thoroughly comprehend. You set out upon the same principles that Academics, Cartesians, and the like sects usually do; and for a long time it looked as if you were advancing their philosophical Scepticism: but, in the end, your conclusions are directly opposite to theirs.

Phil. You see, Hylas, the water of yonder fountain, how it is forced upwards, in a round column, to a certain height; at which it breaks, and falls back into the basin from whence it rose: its ascent, as well as descent, proceeding from the same uniform law or principle of gravitation. Just so, the same Principles which, at first view, lead to Scepticism, pursued to a certain point, bring men back to Common Sense.

Note 1. ‘Tell me, Hylas’—‘So Hylas’—in first and second editions. [back]

Note 2. This important passage, printed within brackets, is not found in the first and second editions of the Dialogues. It is, by anticipation, Berkeley’s answer to Hume’s application of the objections to the reality of abstract or unperceived Matter, to the reality of the Ego or Self, of which we are aware through memory, as identical amid the changes of its successive states.—A. C. F. [back]

Note 3. The words within brackets are omitted in the third edition. [back]

Note 4. Omitted in author’s last edition. [back]

Note 5. In the first and second editions only. [back]

Time line philoshoper

This is a timeline of Philosophers. Just choose the Philosopher you are interested in, and you will be taken to a page containing their biographical information. On each page is a biography, information on major works and theories, and links to other sites with information. Since this list is incomplete right now, please also view the Philosophers page.


[The timeline is a graphic; use the Philosopher's page on the main menu to access them directly.]

[Timeline Mast]

This is a timeline of Philosophers. Just choose the Philosopher you are interested in, and you will be taken to a page containing their biographical information. On each page is a biography, information on major works and theories, and links to other sites with information. Since this list is incomplete right now, please also view the Philosophers page.


[The timeline is a graphic; use the Philosopher's page on the main menu to access them directly.]
[The timeline is a graphic; use the Philosopher's page on the main menu to access them directly.]

Kosa kata Penting

Dalam Filsafat

Con·junc·tion (kn-jngkshn)

n.

1.

a. The act of joining.

b. The state of being joined.

2. A joint or simultaneous occurrence; concurrence: the conjunction of historical and economic forces that created a depression.

3. One resulting from or embodying a union; a combination: "He is, in fact, a remarkable conjunction of talents" Jerry Adler.

4. Abbr. conj. Grammar

a. The part of speech that serves to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.

b. Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as and, but, as, and because.

5. Astronomy The position of two celestial bodies on the celestial sphere when they have the same celestial longitude.

6. Logic

a. A compound proposition that has components joined by the word and or its symbol and is true only if both or all the components are true.

b. The relationship between the components of a conjunction.

David Hume

Hume carried the empiricism of Locke and George Berkeley to the logical extreme of radical skepticism. He repudiated the possibility of certain knowledge, finding in the mind nothing but a series of sensations, and held that cause-and-effect in the natural world derives solely from the conjunction of two impressions. Hume's skepticism is also evident in his writings on religion, in which he rejected any rational or natural theology. Besides his chief work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), he wrote Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and a History of England (1754-62) that was, despite errors of fact, the standard work for many years.

Pemikiran David Hume

Secara sistematis

The philosophical subjects of metaphysics and epistemology would be substantially different than they are today if there had been no David Hume (1711-1776). Hume challenged traditional philosophical beliefs in ways that shocked the readers of his day and have demanded the attention of philosophers ever since. Several classic philosophical problems are now permanently associated with his name: the analysis of causality, the problem of personal identity, and the problem of induction. Hume is also a permanent voice in ongoing disputes about knowledge of the external world, free will and determinism, and meaning and verification. The aspects of Hume's metaphysical and epistemological theories that we find interesting today were largely the same issues that captivated Hume's early critics. Although most of Hume's philosophy in some way touches on issues of metaphysics and epistemology, this article is largely restricted to portions of three of Hume's writings: (1) Books 1 and 2 of the Treatise of Human Nature (1739); (2) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748); and (3) the "Dissertation on the Passions" (1757). For additional articles on Hume in this encyclopedia see the following: David Hume: Life and Writings, David Hume: Moral Theory, David Hume: Writings on Religion, and David Hume: Essays, Moral, Political and Literary.


Table of Contents (Clicking on the links below will take you to that part of this article)

1. Hume's Influences
2. Summary of Treatise Book 1
3. Summary of the Treatise Book 2
4. Summary of the Enquiry, and the Dissertation on the Passions
5. Overview of Early Responses



1. Hume’s Influences

In a 1737 letter, Hume himself lists his philosophical influences, which include Nicolas Malebranche, George Berkeley, Pierre Bayle, and René Descartes:

I shall submit all my Performances to your Examination, & to make you enter into them more easily, I desire of you, if you have Leizure, to read once over le Recherche de la Verité of Pere Malebranche, the Principles of Human Knowledge by Dr Berkeley, some of the more metaphysical Articles of Baile’s Dictionary; such as those of Zeno, & Spinoza. Des-Cartes Meditations wou’d also be useful, but I don’t know if you will find it easily among your Acquaintances. These Books will make you easily comprehend the metaphysical Parts of my Reasoning. And as to the rest, they have so little Dependence on on [sic] all former Systems of Philosophy, that your natural Good Sense will afford you Light enough to judge of their Force & Solidity. [Hume to Michael Ramsay, August 26, 1737]

Chronologically, the first philosopher on Hume’s list is René Descartes (1596–1650). In his Meditations on the First Philosophy (1641), Descartes combats sceptics who doubt the existence of the external world and the reliability of our senses. To accomplish his task, Descartes himself provisionally plays the role of a sceptic and doubts everything that can possibly be doubted. Descartes then arrives at one absolute truth – his own existence – and uses this as a foundation for demonstrating all knowledge. Hume was probably influenced by Descartes’s provisional doubting process, as Hume himself doubted the sources of human knowledge. Throughout Hume’s philosophical writings, though, he also reacted against the more speculative metaphysical views that Descartes developed.

The remaining three philosophers listed in Hume’s letter – Malebranche, Bayle, and Berkeley – were controversial figures when their writings first appeared, and they share the conviction that the true nature of the world is not as evident as we ordinarily think. French Catholic philosopher Nicolas Malebranche (1638–1715) was a follower of Descartes and is most remembered for his Search After Truth (1674–1675). Two themes stand out in that work, both of which influenced Hume. First, Malebranche wrestled with how our minds receive perceptual images from external objects. For example, as I stand in front of a tree, I have a visual image of that tree. How does the tree itself cause that image in my mind? For Malebranche, the tree is physical in nature, yet my perceptual image is spiritual in nature, and, so, something like a miracle must take place to convert the one to the other. After rejecting various theories of perception, Malebranche concludes that God possesses mental/spiritual images of all external things, and that he implants these ideas in our minds at the appropriate time – when I stand before the tree, for example. In short, according to Malebranche, we see external objects by viewing their images as they reside in God. Hume did not adopt Malebranche’s theological solution to this problem, but perhaps Hume learned from Malebranche that there is a great gulf between external objects and our perceptions of them, and that it is exceedingly difficult to explain the connection between the two.

The second major theme in Malebranche concerns the nature of causality, or, more specifically, how two events (such as the motion of a stick that strikes and moves a ball) are causally connected. Malebranche argues that physical objects by themselves simply cannot be the cause of motion in other objects; only spirits can do that. So, when a stick strikes a ball, some spiritual force must intervene and actually cause the ball to move. Malebranche concludes that God is the true cause of the ball’s motion, and that the movement of the stick is only the occasion, the occasional cause, of the ball’s motion. Malebranche pushes this theory further and argues that God is also the true cause behind human bodily motion. For example, when I wilfully pick up a book, my will is only the occasional cause, and God is the true cause. Again, Hume did not adopt Malebranche’s theological solution to the problem of causality, but it was perhaps through Malebranche that Hume became aware of the difficulty of explaining the nature of causal connections.

Although Malebranche raised questions about our knowledge of external objects and causality, he was nevertheless optimistic about the ability of our human reason to unravel these philosophical mysteries. However, influenced by the ancient Greek sceptical traditions, French philosopher Pierre Bayle (1647–1706) was much more pessimistic about our rational abilities. A philosophy and history professor, Bayle made a lasting mark in philosophy with his monumental Historical and Critical Dictionary (Dictionaire historique et critique, 1692). The Dictionary contains hundreds of articles on notable figures from ancient through modern times, and in lengthy footnotes to these articles Bayle presents his own original and often radical views. In the letter cited above, Hume mentions “the more metaphysical Articles of Baile’s Dictionary” and cites two particular articles: Zeno of Elea and Spinoza.

Zeno (c. 450 BCE) was a follower of Greek philosopher Parmenides and, like his teacher, Zeno argued that our ordinary notions of the world are illusions. Zeno presents a series of logical paradoxes that show the inherently contradictory nature of motion and space. Bayle comments extensively on Zeno’s paradoxes and suggests that space is composed of one of three possible things: mathematical points, indivisible physical points, or infinitely divisible parts. Bayle sceptically concludes that all three of these views are absurd, and, so, no adequate explanation of space is possible. Drawing on Bayle’s discussion, Hume concludes with an almost equally sceptical assessment regarding our notions of space and time. Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) – another controversial modern philosopher – argued that God is the single substance of the entire universe. What appear to be individual objects, such as rocks and trees, are in fact only modifications of God’s single-substance. Bayle treats Spinoza contemptuously and argues that it is counterintuitive to see all physical things as modifications of a single substance. In the Treatise Hume extends Bayle’s critique further and argues that theologians are equally counterintuitive when they say, for example, that my diverse mental images are really unified in my single spirit-mind.

A third metaphysical article in Bayle that certainly had an impact on Hume is that on Pyrrho (c. 365–c. 275 BCE). Pyrrho was the founder of one of the Greek sceptical traditions, which survives principally in the writings of Sextus Empiricus (. c. 200 CE). In his article on Pyrrho, Bayle discusses the Pyrrhonian assault on both perceptual knowledge and knowledge of self-evident truths. Bayle largely agrees with Pyrrho and argues further that human reason collapses under the weight of its own inherent paradoxes. Ultimately, for Bayle, we must reject reason as a guide for truth and rely instead on religious faith. It is probably from Bayle that Hume learned to use faith as a shield to protect him from accusations of atheism or any other negative consequence of sceptical philosophy. In the same article Bayle discusses the common philosophical distinction between what Locke later dubbed primary and secondary qualities; Bayle argues that they are both ultimately spectator-dependent. This is a line of reasoning that Hume also offers.

The last philosopher that Hume mentions in the letter is Anglican Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753), published two of his key works while in his tewnties, namely A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713). In both of these works Berkeley argues against the existence of an external material world. For Berkeley, our experience of external reality is nothing more than a continuing stream of perceptions, nor can we say anything intelligible about any physical substance that supposedly causes these perceptions. Berkeley concludes that we must reject the theory of physical reality and instead recognise that God directly feeds us perceptions of external things. Although rejecting Berkeley’s theological solution, Hume adopts Berkeley’s arguments showing our inability to access some external world behind our perceptions. Berkeley also critically discusses the view that there is no reality to our individual minds beyond the stream of perceptions that we experience. Berkeley rejects this view and instead argues that individual minds do exist; however, Hume seems to advance a similar problem, while denying Berkeley’s solution.

In addition to the writings of Descartes, Malebranche, Bayle, and Berkeley, there were undoubtedly other philosophers that directly influenced Hume’s metaphysical views. An avid admirer of the Roman philosopher Cicero (106–43 BCE), Hume was familiar with Cicero’s Academica, a dialogue on the nature and possibility of acquiring knowledge. Perhaps most importantly, Hume was influenced by An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690) of John Locke (1632–1704). In this work Locke argues that the root of all knowledge lies in experience; Hume shares this view with Locke.

Back to Table of Contents


2. Summary of Treatise Book 1

In his short autobiography, “My Own Life,” Hume notes that he composed his Treatise in his mid-twenties while on retreat for three years in France. It is a long and complex book that systematically re-thinks a wide range of philosophical issues. The first two books of the Treatise appeared simultaneously in 1739. We will briefly look at some of the major themes in both books.

Book 1, titled “Of the Understanding,” opens analysing various categories of mental events, which roughly follow this scheme:

Perceptions

A. Ideas

1. From memory
2. From imagination

a. From fancy
b. From understanding

(1) Involving relations of ideas
(2) Involving matters of fact

B. Impressions

1. Of sensation (external)
2. Of reflection (internal)

He first divides all mental perceptions between ideas (thoughts) and impressions (sensations and feelings), and then makes two central claims about the relation between ideas and impressions. First, adopting what is commonly called Hume’s copy thesis, he argues that all ideas are ultimately copied from impressions. That is, for any idea we select, we can trace the component parts of that idea to some external sensation or internal feeling. This claim places Hume squarely in the empiricist tradition, and throughout Book 1 he uses this principle as a test for determining the content of an idea under consideration. Second, adopting what we may call Hume’s liveliness thesis, he argues that ideas and impressions differ only in terms of liveliness. For example, my impression of a tree is simply more vivid than my idea of that tree. His early critics pointed out an important implication of the liveliness thesis, which Hume himself presumably hides. Most modern philosophers held that ideas reside in our spiritual minds, whereas impressions originate in our physical bodies. So, when Hume blurs the distinction between ideas and impressions, he is ultimately denying the spiritual nature of ideas and instead grounding them in our physical nature. In short, these critics argue that, for Hume, all of our mental operations – including our most rational ideas – are physical in nature.

Hume next notes that there are several mental faculties that are responsible for producing our various ideas. He initially divides ideas between those produced by the memory, and those produced by the imagination. The memory is a faculty that conjures up ideas based on experiences as they happened. For example, the memory I have of my drive to the store is a comparatively accurate copy of my previous sense impressions of that experience. The imagination, by contrast, is a faculty that breaks apart and combines ideas, thus forming new ones. He uses the familiar example of a golden mountain: this idea is a combination of an idea of gold and an idea of a mountain. As our imagination chops up and forms new ideas, it is directed by three principles of association, namely, resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect. For example, by virtue of resemblance, the sketch of a person leads me to an idea of that actual person. The ideas of the imagination are further divided between two categories. Some imaginative ideas represent flights of the fancy, such as the idea of a golden mountain; other imaginative ideas, though, represent solid reasoning, such as predicting the trajectory of a thrown ball. The fanciful ideas are derived from the faculty of the fancy, and are the source of fantasies, superstitions, and bad philosophy. By contrast, the good ideas are derived from the faculty of the understanding – or reason – and roughly involve either mathematical demonstration or factual predictions. Hume notes that, when we imaginatively exercise our understanding, our minds are guided by seven philosophical or “reasoning” relations, which are divided as follows:

Principles of reasoning concerning relations of ideas (yielding demonstration): (1) resemblance, (2) contrariety, (3) degrees in quality, and (4) proportions in quantity or number

Principles of reasoning concerning matters of fact (yielding judgments of probability): (5) identity, (6) relations in time and place, and (7) causation

Armed with the above conceptual distinctions, he turns his attention to an array of standard philosophical problems. As he examines them one by one, he repeatedly does three things. First, he sceptically argues that we are unable to gain complete knowledge of some important philosophical notion under consideration. Second, he shows more positively how the understanding gives us a very limited idea of the notion under consideration. Third, he explains how some erroneous views of that notion are grounded in the fancy, and he accordingly recommends that we reject those ideas. For convenience, we will follow this three-part scheme as we consider Hume’s discussions.

Space. (1) On the topic of space, Hume argues that we have no ideas of infinitely divisible space (1.2.2.2). (2) When accounting for the idea we do have of space, he argues that “the idea of space is convey’d to the mind by two senses, the sight and touch; nor does any thing ever appear extended, that is not either visible or tangible” (1.2.3.15). Further, he argues that these objects – which are either visible or tangible – are composed of finite atoms or corpuscles, which are themselves “endow’d with colour and solidity.” These impressions are then “comprehended” or conceived by the imagination; it is from the structuring of these impressions that we obtain our idea of space. (3) In contrast to this idea of space, Hume argues that we frequently presume to have an idea of space that lacks visibility or solidity. He accounts for this erroneous notion in terms of a mistaken association that people naturally make between visual and tactile space (1.2.5.21).

Time. (1) Hume’s treatment of our idea of time is like his treatment of the idea of space. He first maintains that we have no idea of infinitely divisible time (1.2.4.1). (2) He then notes Locke’s point that our minds operate at a range of speeds that are “fix’d by the original nature and constitution of the mind, and beyond which no influence of external objects on the senses is ever able to hasten or retard our thought” (1.2.3.7). The idea of time, then, is not a simple idea derived from a simple impression; instead, it is a copy of impressions as they are perceived by the mind at its fixed speed (1.2.3.10). (3) In contrast to this account of time, he argues that we frequently entertain a faulty notion of time that does not involve change or succession. The psychological account of this erroneous view is that we mistake time for the cause of succession instead of seeing it as the effect (1.2.5.29).

Necessary connection between causes and effects. (1) Hume sceptically argues that we cannot get an idea of necessary connection through abstraction or by observing it through sensory experiences (1.3.14.12 ff.). (2) The idea we have of necessary connection arises as follows: we experience a constant conjunction of events A and B – that is, repeated sense experiences where events resembling A are always followed by events resembling B. This produces a habit such that upon any further appearance of A, we expect B to follow. This, in turn, produces an internal feeling “to pass from an object to the idea of its usual attendant,” which is the impression from which the idea of necessary connection is copied (1.3.14.20). (3) A common but mistaken notion on this topic is that necessity resides within the objects themselves. He explains this mistaken belief by the natural tendency we have to impute subjectively perceived qualities to objects (1.3.14.24).

External objects. (1) Hume’s sceptical claim here is that we have no conception of the existence of external objects (1.2.6.9). (2) Nevertheless, he argues, we do have an unavoidable “vulgar” or common belief in the continued existence of objects, and this idea he accounts for. His explanation is lengthy, but involves the following features. Perceptions of objects are disjointed and have no unity of themselves (1.4.2.29). In an effort to organize our perceptions, we first naturally assume that there is no distinction between our perceptions and the objects that are perceived (this is the so-called “vulgar” view of perception). We then conflate all ideas (of perceptions), which put our minds in similar dispositions (1.4.2.33); that is, we associate resembling ideas and attribute identity to their causes. Consequently, we naturally feign the continued and external existence of the objects (or perceptions) that produced these ideas (1.4.2.35). Lastly, we go on to believe in the existence of these objects because of the force of the resemblance between ideas (1.4.2.36). Although this belief is philosophically unjustified, Hume feels he has given an accurate account of how we inevitably arrive at the idea of external existence. (3) In contrast to the previous explanation of this idea, he recommends that we doubt a more sophisticated but erroneous notion of existence – the so-called philosophical view – which distinguishes between perceptions and external objects that cause perceptions. The psychological motivation for accepting this view is this: our imagination tells us that resembling perceptions have a continued existence, yet our reflection tells us that they are interrupted. Appealing to both forces, we ascribe interruption to perceptions and continuance to objects (1.4.2.52).

Personal identity. (1) Hume’s sceptical claim on this issue is that we have no experience of a simple, individual impression that we can call the self (1.4.6.2) – where the “self” is the totality of a person’s conscious life. (2) Nevertheless, we do have an idea of personal identity that must be accounted for. He begins his explanation of this idea by noting that our perceptions are fleeting, and he concludes from this that all we are is a bundle of different perceptions (1.4.6.4). Because of the associative principles, though, the resemblance or causal connection within the chain of our perceptions gives rise to an idea of oneself, and memory extends this idea past our immediate perceptions (1.4.6.18 ff.). (3) A common abuse of the notion of personal identity occurs when the idea of a soul or unchanging substance is added to give us a stronger or more unified concept of the self (1.4.6.6).

In all of these discussions, Hume performs an interesting balancing act between making sceptical attacks (step 1) and offering positive theories (step 2). In the conclusion to Book 1, though, he appears to elevate his scepticism to a higher level and exposes the inherent contradictions in even his best philosophical theories. He notes three such contradictions. One centres around what we call induction. Our judgments based on past experience all contain elements of doubt; we are then impelled to make a judgment about that doubt, and – since this too is based on past experience – this in turn will produce a new doubt. Once again, though, we are impelled to make a judgment about this second doubt, and the cycle continues. He concludes that “no finite object can subsist under a decrease repeated in infinitum.” A second contradiction involves a conflict between two theories of external perception – our natural inclination to direct realism vs. the copy theory of perception of philosophers. The third contradiction involves a conflict between causal reasoning and belief in the continued existence of matter. After listing these contradictions, Hume despairs over the failure of his metaphysical reasoning:

The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. [1.4.7.8]

He then subdues his despair by recognizing that nature forces him to set aside his philosophical speculations and return to the normal activities of common life. He recognizes, though, that in time he will be drawn back into philosophical speculation in order to attack superstition and educate the world.

Back to Table of Contents


3. Summary of the Treatise Book 2

Book 2 of the Treatise is a study of impressions of reflection, in contrast with impressions of sensation. Locke had discussed ideas of reflection as “being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operations within itself” (Essay 2.2.4). For Locke, these are introspective experiences of our mental faculties such as remembering, willing, discerning, reasoning, and judging. Immediately parting company with Locke, reflective impressions for Hume are passions – that is, emotions – and not introspective experiences of our mental faculties. Book 2 is largely a study of the various passions.

Hume opens Book 2 offering a taxonomy of types of passions, which we may outline here:

Reflective Impressions

1. Calm (reflective pleasures and pains)
2. Violent

a. Direct (desire, aversion, joy, grief, hope, fear)
b. Indirect (love, hate, pride, humility)

Hume initially divides passions between the calm and the violent. He concedes that this distinction is somewhat fuzzy, but he explains that people commonly distinguish between types of passions in terms of their degrees of forcefulness. Adding more precision to this common distinction, for Hume calm passions are emotional feelings of pleasure and pain associated with moral and aesthetic judgments. For example, according to Hume, when I see a person commit a horrible deed, I will experience a feeling of pain. When I view a good work of art, I will experience a feeling of pleasure.

In contrast to the calm passions, violent ones constitute the bulk of our emotions, and violent passions divide between direct and indirect passions. For Hume, “direct passions” are so called because they arise immediately – without complex reflection on our part – whenever we see something good or bad. For example, if I consider an unpleasant thing, such as being burglarised, then I will feel the passion of aversion. The key direct passions are desire, aversion, joy, grief, hope, and fear. He suggests that sometimes these passions are sparked instinctively – as by, for example, my desire for food when I am hungry. Others, though, are not connected with instinct and are more the result of social conditioning. There is an interesting logic to the six direct passions, which Hume borrowed from a tradition that can be traced to ancient Greek Stoicism. We can diagram the relation between the six with this chart:

When good/bad objects are considered abstractly

desire (towards good objects)
aversion (towards evil objects)

When good/bad objects are actually present

joy (towards good objects)
grief (towards evil objects)

When good/bad objects are only anticipated

hope (towards good objects)
fear (towards evil objects)

Compare, for example, the passions that I will experience regarding winning the lottery vs. having my house burglarized. Suppose that I consider them purely in the abstract – or “consider’d simply” as Hume says (2.3.9.6). I will then desire to win the lottery and have an aversion towards being burglarized. Suppose that both situations are actually before me; I will then experience joy over winning the lottery and sorrow over being burglarized. Suppose, finally, that I know that at some unknown time in the future I will win the lottery and be burglarized. I will then experience hope regarding the lottery and fear of being burglarized.

Hume devotes most of Book 2 to an analysis of the indirect passions, and this analysis is his unique contribution to theories of the passions. The four principal passions are love, hate, pride, and humility. These passions are called “indirect” since they are the secondary effects of a previous feeling of pleasure and pain. Suppose, for example, that I paint a picture, which gives me a feeling of pleasure. Since I am the artist, I will then experience an additional feeling of pride. Hume explains in great detail the psychological process that triggers indirect passions such as pride. Specifically, he notes that these passions arise from a double relation between ideas and impressions, which we can illustrate here with the passion of pride:

(1) I have an initial idea of some possession (or "subject"), such as my painting, and this idea gives me pleasure.
(2) Through the associative principle of resemblance, I then immediately associate this feeling of pleasure with a resembling feeling of pride; this association constitutes the first relation in the double relation.
(3) This feeling of pride then causes me to have an idea of myself (as the "object" of pride).
(4) Through some associative principle such as causality, I then associate the idea of myself with the idea of my painting (which is the "subject" of my pride); this association constitutes the second relation in the double relation.

According to Hume, the three other principal indirect passions arise in parallel ways. For example, if my painting is ugly and causes me pain, then I will experience the secondary passion of “humility” – perhaps more accurately expressed as humiliation. By contrast, if someone else paints a pleasing picture, then this will trigger in me a feeling of “love” for that artist – perhaps more accurately expressed as esteem, which is another term that Hume uses. If the artist paints a painfully ugly picture, then this will trigger in me a feeling of “hatred” towards the artist – perhaps more accurately expressed as disesteem.

The most lasting contribution of Book 2 of the Treatise is Hume’s argument that human actions must be prompted by passion, and never can be motivated by reason. Thus, Hume concludes that “Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions” (2.3.3.4). Looking more closely at the motivations behind our actions, he the issue of liberty and necessity, and he comes down strongly on the side of necessity. Hume’s discussion here follows the three-step scheme that he used in Book 1. (1) He rejects the notion of liberty that denies necessity and causes (2.3.1.18). (2) He then argues that all mental or physical actions produced by the will arise from antecedent motives, tempers, and circumstances (2.3.1.5 ff.). Making use of his definitions of causality, he argues that these motives produce actions (mental or physical) that have the same causal necessity that we observe in external objects. (3) Lastly, he explains why people commonly believe in an uncaused will (2.3.2.1 ff.). Among other causes of this mistaken belief is the fact that people erroneously believe that they have an experience of liberty owing to a mistaken association: first, people have an idea of liberty (or lack of determination); next, when performing actions they experience a “looseness” which resembles their idea of liberty.

Back to Table of Contents


4. Summary of the Enquiry, and the “Dissertation on the Passions.”

In “My Own Life,” Hume states his opinion that the Treatise failed largely because of its style, rather than its content:

I had always entertained a notion, that my want of success in publishing the Treatise of Human Nature, had proceeded more from the manner than the matter, and that I had been guilty of a very usual indiscretion, in going to the press too early. I, therefore, cast the first part of that work anew in the Enquiry concerning Human Under-standing, which was published while I was at Turin.

Accordingly, Hume reworked some of the contents of Books 1 and 2 into his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – although he included much additional material that does not appear in the Treatise. Hume’s Enquiry was first published anonymously in 1748 under the title Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding. The title page ascribes the work to “the author of the Essays moral and political;” Hume’s authorship, though, was no secret since the 1748 edition of the Essays includes his name. We do not know precisely when Hume began this book, although we know from a correspondence that he was working on it in 1745. Prior to publication, he circulated a manuscript of the book among his friends for comments. A close friend Henry Home, later Lord Kames (1696–1782), tried to talk Hume out of publishing the work because of its sceptical content and the controversy that it would provoke. Hume ignored the advice and in a letter to Home wrote that he did not care about the consequences:

The other work [soon to be published] is the Philosophical Essays [i.e., the Enquiry], which you dissuaded me from printing. I won’t justify the prudence of this step, any other way than by expressing my indifference about all the consequences that may follow. [Hume to Henry Home, February 9, 1748]

The style of the Enquiry is in fact quite different than that of the Treatise. It is much shorter, more informal, and does not aim to present a comprehensive theory of human nature. Its original title – Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding – reflects its place within the 18th century genre of essay writing. That is, it is a collection of twelve loosely related philosophical essays. The underlying theme that ties the twelve essays together is the importance of experience and causal inference in establishing our ideas. Briefly, these are the central themes of the Enquiry’s twelve sections.

1. Of the Different Species of Philosophy: Hume describes two styles of philosophical writing: an easy-reading philosophy grounded in common life, and a difficult-reading philosophy grounded in abstract concepts. He explains the value of both and proposes to mix elements of the two styles in his Enquiry.

2. Of the Origin of Ideas: Hume argues that ideas differ from impressions only by being less lively, and that all ideas are copied from impressions. He concisely states his test for meaning: to see if “a philosophical term is employed without any meaning ... we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived?”

3. Of the Association of Ideas: Hume argues that the only three principles of association of ideas are resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect. Unlike in the Treatise, which describes these as principles of the imagination, here Hume states more generally that they apply in the operations of both the memory and imagination. All editions of the Enquiry except that of 1777 – containing Hume’s final revisions – include a lengthy discussion of the use of associative principles in epic poetry writing and history writing.

4. Sceptical Doubts concerning the Operations of the Understanding: Hume notes that the objects of the faculty of understanding (or reason) are either relations of ideas or matters of fact. He devotes this section to uncovering the foundations of our reasoning concerning matters of fact. Such reasoning is based on cause and effect relations, which in turn are based on experience, without the aid of reason or our imagination (that is, the fancy). This in turn raises the question of how we make inductive generalizations in experience.

5. Sceptical Solution of these Doubts: Hume goes on to argue that inductive generalizations in experience result from the principle of “custom or habit.” He next examines how belief arises. For Hume, belief is a more vivid conception of an object than we would otherwise have through the imagination (that is, the fancy) alone. The ideas in which we believe become more “intense and steady” through habit and custom. He concludes showing how the principles of association can intensify an idea and thus produce belief.

6. Of Probability: Hume explains the difference between chances and probability. Chances involve situations in which there are at least two possible outcomes, each of which may occur equally. Probability, on the other hand, entails that we have experienced one event to occur more frequently than another. He then shows how belief arises with both chance and probability.

7. Of the Idea of Necessary Connexion: Hume explains the origin of our idea of causal power using his copy thesis. He first argues that necessary connection does not arise from an outward sense impression. Neither does it arise from an internal impression – from, that is, a “reflection on the operations of our own minds;” (Hume here follows Locke’s notion of reflective impressions rather than the notion found in the Treatise). Specifically, it does not arise from reflecting on willed bodily motions encountering a resistive physical force, the willed creation of thoughts, or the experience of God as the true cause (as the Occasionalists claim). Ultimately, the idea of causal power is based on the “customary transition of the imagination from one object to its usual [i.e., constantly conjoined] attendant.” He concludes by offering two definitions of causality based on his notion of causal power.

8. Of Liberty and Necessity: Hume defends the necessitarian point of view by arguing that all human actions are caused by antecedent motives. He offers several illustrations of the connection between motives and actions that fit his two definitions of causality. He reconciles necessity with liberty by defining liberty as “a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will” – which is similar to Locke’s definition. Hume notes the criticism that necessity undermines morality since it eliminates moral choice. In response he argues that we rely on necessity to link a person’s actions with his motives and thus pass moral judgment on that person’s actions. He also notes the criticism that necessity forces us to trace all evil human actions back through a causal chain to God. He suggests possible solutions to this problem, but concludes that it is a mystery that human reason is not fit to handle.

9. Of the Reason of Animals: Hume argues that what he has said about cause and effect, induction, habit and belief is confirmed by observing the same processes in animals. In a footnote he lists nine points that distinguish degrees of human intelligence from animal intelligence and that also distinguish the degrees of the reasoning ability of intelligent humans and not-so-intelligent humans.

10. Of Miracles: Hume argues that empirical judgments – including those based on testimony – involve weighing evidence for and against a given claim. According to Hume, the empirical testimony of uniform laws of nature will always outweigh the testimony of any alleged miracle. Hume notes four factors that count against the credibility of most miracle testimonies: the witnesses lack integrity; we have a propensity to sensationalize; miracle testimonies abound in barbarous nations; and miracles support rival religious systems. However, he continues, even the most credible miracle testimonies (which presumably are not decisively weakened by these four factors) are still outweighed by the evidence of consistent laws of nature. Although people typically see miracles as the foundation of their religion, Hume argues that this is unreasonable. He suggests that Christianity in particular is better founded on faith, rather than on miracle testimony. Christianity indeed requires belief in miracles, but such belief should involve an act of faith and not reason.

11. Of a Particular Providence and of a Future State: Originally titled “Of the Practical Consequences of Natural Religion,” this section presents a fictional conversation in which two characters examine some of the traditional philosophical arguments about the nature and existence of God. The sceptical character principally attacks the design argument and the argument that God rewards or punishes human actions either in this life or the next.

12. Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy: Hume describes different kinds of scepticism, defending some types and rejecting others. He associates Pyrrhonian scepticism with blanket attacks on all reasoning about the external world, abstract reasoning about space and time, or causal reasoning about matters of fact. He argues, though, that we must reject such scepticism since “no durable good can ever result from it.” Instead, Hume recommends a more moderate or Academic scepticism that tempers Pyrrhonism by, first, exercising caution and modesty, and, second, restricting our speculations to abstract reasoning and matters of fact.

In 1757 Hume published a work titled Four Dissertations, the second item in which was titled “Of the Passions.” Hume later incorporated this piece into his Essays and Treatises, and, paralleling the arrangement of the three Books of the Treatise, he placed it between the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. This brief work – titled “Dissertation on the Passions” – is an abbreviated version of much of Book 2 of the Treatise, and many parts of it are taken word for word from that earlier work.

Back to Table of Contents


5. Overview of Early Responses

When Books 1 and 2 of the Treatise appeared in 1739, little immediate interest was shown in it. Hume reflects on this unfortunate fact in “My Own Life”: “Never literary attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction, as even to excite a murmur among the zealots.” Indeed, it did not generate a flurry of critical responses by pamphleteers or offended clergymen. However, within a year of publication, four reviews of the Treatise did in fact appear in scholarly review journals. All of the reviews were restricted to the contents of Book 1 of the Treatise, with no discussion of Hume’s theory of the passions from Book 2. Only one of these – in The History of the Works of the Learned – was in English, and this was executed by a reviewer who himself admits that he was not philosophically up to the task of grasping a work as complex as the Treatise. The reviewer was severely critical and, among his comments, he argued that the causal proofs for God’s existence are “utterly demolished” by Hume’s rejection of the principle that “whatever begins to exist, must have a cause of existence.” The reviewer’s point is a recurring theme among Hume’s early critics, and even today some philosophers discuss the extent to which the causal proofs for God’s existence are affected by Hume’s notion of causality. The short review from the German Göttingische Zeitungen was also critical. The French review journal Bibliothèque raisonnée published a generally positive review heavily dependent on Hume’s own Abstract of the Treatise. The French review journal Nouvelle bibliothèque published a neutral review that consisted mainly of a translation of passages from the Treatise.

Aside from review journals, the first early response to Hume’s metaphysical views was a brief article, in 1740, in Common Sense: or the Englishman’s Journal. The anonymous author criticized Hume’s view of necessity for its dangerous implication that our behaviour is beyond our control. In 1745 Hume’s sceptical and antireligious views in the Treatise came under fire when Hume became a candidate for the chair of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. A list of charges drawn up by William Wishart was circulated. These were incorporated into Hume’s response and published as A Letter from a Gentleman by Henry Home in 1745.

The Enquiry first appeared in 1748 and, in “My Own Life,” Hume notes that, like the Treatise, the Enquiry did not at first draw critical attention:

But this piece was at first little more successful than the Treatise of Human Nature. On my return from Italy, I had the mortification to find all England in a ferment, on account of Dr. Middleton’s Free Enquiry, while my performance was entirely overlooked and neglected.

Not only were there no immediate critical responses to the Enquiry, but the work does not appear to have even been reviewed in any British periodical. The absence of such reviews is not surprising since there were no scholarly review journals in Great Britain at the time, and more popular periodicals only sporadically included reviews. Within two years, though, critical responses to “Of Miracles” appeared, and these soon brought notoriety to the Enquiry as a whole. Although the Enquiry was not reviewed in Great Britain, it was in fact reviewed twice in the German Göttingische Zeitungen. The first of these reviews, which appeared in 1749, was favourable, but a review appearing in 1753 was mixed, with especially critical comments on “Of Miracles.”

In 1751 Hume wrote in a letter that he rejected the Treatise as an immature work:

I believe the philosophical Essays [i.e., the Enquiry] contain every thing of Consequence relating to the Understanding, which you woud meet with in the Treatise; & I give you my Advice against reading the latter. By shortening & simplifying the Questions, I really render them much more complete. Addo dum minuo. The philosophical Principles are the same in both: But I was carry’d away by the Heat of Youth & Invention to publish too precipitately. So vast an Undertaking, plan’d before I was one and twenty, & compos’d before twenty five, must necessarily be very defective. I have repented my Haste a hundred, & a hundred times. [Hume to Gilbert Eliot, March or April 1751]

Contrary to Hume’s wishes, critical discussions of the Treatise continued to appear with more frequency. One of these was in Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (1751) by Henry Home. Although respecting Hume’s philosophical abilities, in this work Home critically discusses Hume’s theory of belief and personal identity.

Around this time Hume became one of the secretaries of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, first founded in 1731. He held this post probably until 1763 and during that time was coeditor with Alexander Monro of two volumes of Essays and Observations that were read at the Society’s meetings. The first volume appeared in 1754 and opened with an essay by Henry Home titled “Of the Laws of Motion” (pp. 1–69). The second item in the collection is a critical and somewhat abusive discussion of Home’s essay by John Stewart (d. 1766) titled “Some Remarks on the Laws of Motion, and the Inertia of Matter.” In this essay, Stewart includes a brief paragraph criticizing Hume’s view of causality and personal identity:

That something may begin to exist, or start into being without a cause, hath indeed been advanced in a very ingenious and profound system of the sceptical philosophy; but hath not yet been adopted by any of the societies for the improvement of knowledge. Such sublime conceptions are far above the reach of an ordinary genius; and could not have entered into the head of the greatest physiologist on earth. The man who believes that a perception may subsist without a percipient mind or a perceiver, may well comprehend, that an action may be performed without an agent, or a thing produced without any Cause of the production. And the author of this new and wonderful doctrine informs the world, that, when he looked into his own mind, he could discover nothing but a series of fleeting perceptions; and that from thence he concluded, that he himself was nothing but a bundle of such perceptions. [Pages 70–140]

A note to this paragraph states, “Treatise on Human Nature, 3 vols. octavo. This is the system at large, a work suited only to the comprehension of Adepts. An excellent compend or sum whereof, for the benefit of vulgar capacities, we of this nation enjoy in the Philosophical Essays, and the Essays Moral and Political.”Prior to its publication, Hume read Stewart’s essay and was bothered by Stewart’s contemptuous tone towards both Home and Hume himself. In a letter to Stewart, Hume suggests – and probably bluffs – that as editor of the volume Hume could have equally abused Stewart in the Preface to the work. However, Hume states “I am so great a Lover of Peace, that I am resolv’d to drop this Matter altogether, & not to insert a Syllable in the Preface, which can have a Reference to your Essay.” Hume continues in the letter objecting on philosophical grounds to Stewart’s distortion of Hume’s actual views:

But allow me to tell you, that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that any thing might arise without a Cause: I only maintain’d, that our Certainty of the Falshood of that Proposition proceeded neither from Intuition nor Demonstration; but from another Source. That Caesar existed, that there is such an Island as Sicily; for these Propositions, I affirm, we have no demonstrative nor intuitive Proof. Woud you infer that I deny their Truth, or even their Certainty? There are many different kinds of Certainty; and some of them as satisfactory to the Mind, tho perhaps not so regular, as the demonstrative kind.

Where a man of Sense mistakes my Meaning, I own I am angry: But it is only at myself: For having exprest my Meaning so ill as to have given Occasion to the Mistake.

In a tone similar to his letter to Elliot above, Hume next tells Stewart that he regrets publishing his Treatise at all:

That you may see I wou’d no way scruple of owning my Mistakes in Argument, I shall acknowledge (what is infinitely more material) a very great Mistake in Conduct, viz my publishing at all the Treatise of human Nature, a Book, which pretended to innovate in all the sublimest Parts of Philosophy, & which I compos’d before I was five & twenty. Above all, the positive Air, which prevails in that Book, & which may be imputed to the Ardor of Youth, so much displeases me, that I have not Patience to review it. [Hume to John Stewart, c. February 1754]

Two years after the conflict with Stewart, the Philosophical Society published their second volume of Essays and Observations, which included an essay by Thomas Melvill (1726–1753) titled “Observations on Light and Colours,” which includes a criticism of Hume’s view of the indivisibility of extension. Around the same time John Leland criticized Hume’s view of causality in his A View of the Principal Deistical Writers (1755–1756).

In 1757 Hume’s Four Dissertations appeared; this included his “Dissertation on the Passions.” Although none of the earlier reviews of the Treatise discussed Book 2, three reviews of Four Dissertations discuss “Of the Passions.” Two of the reviews are not very enthusiastic. The Literary Magazine states “The second essay is on the passions, in which, as in the former case, we do not perceive any thing new. This we should not mention if we were not talking of an author fond of novelty.” The Critical Review similarly concludes its discussion by saying, “This whole dissertation, to say the truth, appears to us very trite and superficial; and unworthy of so eminent a writer. But no authors are always equal to themselves.” William Rose’s review in the Monthly Review states more positively that what Hume “says upon the subject, is extremely ingenious, and deserves the philosophical reader’s attentive perusal.”

The publication of Thomas Reid’s An Inquiry into the Human Mind (1764) marks a turning point in early discussions of Hume’s metaphysics. Although no less critical of Hume than earlier respondents, Reid nevertheless had deep respect for Hume’s philosophical abilities and saw him as “the greatest Metaphysician of the Age.” According to Reid, Hume’s ruthlessly sceptical philosophy is the logical outcome of a philosophical stance that began with Descartes, and which Reid calls the “theory of ideas.” According to this theory, we do not perceive external things directly, but instead we only experience perceptual images – or “ideas” – of external things. The sceptical consequence of this is that we must question the existence of everything except these perceptual images

– including external objects and even the human mind, which allegedlyhouses these perceptions. And, according to Reid, this is what Hume did. As Reid himself became an important philosophical figure throughout Europe and America, many writers perpetuated his interpretation of Hume. We find, for example, a condensed statement of Reid’s view in the following by George L. Scott:

Locke had admitted matter, spirit, and ideas. By many passages, one would be apt to thing that he saw no absurdity in material Spirit, or in spiritual Matter. Berkeley comes, sees the difficulty, and strikes out matter. Then comes a Paresian Egoist, who strikes out all spirit, but his own. And, lastly, our friend Hume, strikes out even his own spirit, and leaves nothing but Ideas! [George L. Scott to Lord Monboddo, April 3, 1773]

Aside from Reid, in the final two decades of Hume’s life, a variety of other philosophers wrote in reaction to his metaphysical views. Richard Price, in his Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals (1758) criticizes Hume’s discussion of induction in the Treatise. Joseph Highmore published a brief essay against Hume’s view of necessity in his Essays, Moral, Religious, and Miscellaneous (1766). Scottish philosophers were particularly interested in responding to Hume. James Balfour’s Philosophical Essays (1768) criticizes Hume’s view of academic scepticism and necessary connection. In his Appeal to Common Sense (1766–1772), James Oswald attacks a variety of sceptical and anti-religious themes within Hume’s writings. The most prominent critic of this period was James Beattie who devoted a large portion of his Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth (1770) to refuting many of Hume’s philosophical views. In the first volume of his Origin and Progress of Language (1773) James Burnett, Lord Monboddo criticized Hume’s distinction between ideas and impressions.

Although Hume’s Enquiry was the most common target of attack by these philosophers, some also pointed their guns at offending portions of the Treatise. Near the close of his life in 1775, Hume composed an advertisement to the second half of his collected philosophical works, Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, in which he officially denounced his Treatise, and expressed his wish to be remembered on the basis of his Essays and Treatises:

Most of the principles, and reasonings, contained in this volume, were published in a work in three volumes, called A Treatise of Human Nature: A work which the Author had projected before he left College, and which he wrote and published not long after. But not finding it successful, he was sensible of his error in going to the press too early, and he cast the whole anew in the following pieces, where some negligences in his former reasoning and more in the expression, are, he hopes, corrected. Yet several writers who have honoured the Author’s Philosophy with answers, have taken care to direct all their batteries against that juvenile work, which the author never acknowledged, and have affected to triumph in any advantages, which, they imagined, they had obtained over it: A practice very contrary to all rules of candour and fair-dealing, and a strong instance of those polemical artifices which a bigotted zeal thinks itself authorised to employ. Henceforth, the Author desires, that the following Pieces may alone be regarded as containing his philosophical sentiments and principles.

Hume offers here an inaccurate chronology as to when he projected the Treatise. Hume “left college” at around age 14, and, according to his letter to Elliot, he began his work on the Treatise at age 21. The change in chronology is apparently in effort to distance himself from the Treatise into an increasingly remote past. Hume here refers to “several writers” who attacked the views found in the Treatise. Of the early critics listed so far, Reid and Beattie come the closest to matching Hume’s description of writers who have directed “all their batteries against that juvenile work.” In spite of Hume’s public disavowal, philosophers continued to challenge the views of the Treatise. In the first two volumes of his Ancient Metaphysics (1779, 1782), Monboddo continued his attack on Hume. Reid similarly developed his criticisms of Hume in his two great works, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785) and Essays on the Active Powers of Man (1788). Joseph Priestley, who throughout his voluminous writings regularly comments on Hume, had mixed views of Hume’s metaphysics. In his Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever (1780), Priestley attacked the Enquiry section by section, hoping to put Hume’s unjustified fame in proper perspective. On the other hand, in his Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity Illustrated (1777), Priestley largely endorsed Hume’s view of necessity and in the preface to that work recommends to readers “some things very well written on it by Mr. Hume, and Lord Kaims.” Priestley’s defence of necessity was so successful that it overshadowed Hume’s view in the free will and determinism debate in the late 18th century. An exception to this, though, was James Gregory’s Philosophical and Literary Essays (1792), which, in a 300 page introductory essay, attacks Hume’s account of necessity. In his Illustrations of Mr. Hume’s Essay Concerning Liberty and Necessity (1795), John Allen defends Hume against Gregory.

As the 19th century approached, philosophers narrowed their interest in Hume’s metaphysics largely to his notion of causality. We see this in George Gleig’s article on “Metaphysics” in the third edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1797), Henry James Richter’s article “Hume’s View of Necessary Connection” in the Monthly Magazine (1797), and Richard Kirwan’s Remarks (1801). Two events around this time drew further interest to Hume’s view of causality. The first is Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781), which by 1800 was gaining notice in Great Britain. In the Critique and later in the Prolegomena (1783), Kant describes his metaphysical system as an attempt to answer the problem that Hume raised about causality. This sparked immediate interest in Hume’s theory within Germany. Although it was some time before Kant’s writings were translated into English, a few primers on Kant appeared in English and these drew attention to Kant’s intellectual debt to Hume. One of these was A.F.M. Willich’s Elements of the Critical Philosophy (1798), which translates Kant’s discussion of Hume in the Prolegomena.

The second event surrounding interest in Hume’s theory of causality was political in nature. In 1805, Scottish scientist John Leslie was a candidate for the chair of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. Several local clergy who opposed Leslie’s appointment exploited the fact that he endorsed Hume’s view of causality, a view which they believed undermined the causal proof for God’s existence. Two prominent Scottish philosophers came to Leslie’s rescue and published works defending Hume’s view of causality. Dugald Stewart published a pamphlet titled A Short Statement of Some Important Facts, Relative to the Late Election of a Mathematical Professor in the Univ. of Edinburgh (1805). In this Stewart lists respected scholars who adopted Hume’s view of causality and notes that “I found that the passage [on causality] objected to contained nothing… but what I myself, and many others much wiser and better than me, had openly avowed as their opinions.” Thomas Brown also published several pamphlets during the controversy, and compiled a two-volume collection titled Tracts, Historical and Philosophical... Respecting the Election of Mr. Leslie to the Professorship of Mathematics (1806). A year later, Brown greatly expanded one of his pamphlets as Observations on the Nature and Tendency of the Doctrine of Mr. Hume (1806). Brown’s work is an insightful and sophisticated early discussion of Hume’s view of causality, of great merit even by contemporary standards. Brown’s Humean view of causality was adopted by physician William Lawrence in his Lectures on physiology (1817).

Amidst the dominant focus on his view of causality, occasional discussions of other topics in Hume appeared. Thomas Cogan, in his Treatise on the Passions (1807), criticized different aspects of Hume’s theory of the passions. Cogan also published a section-by-section critical commentary of Hume’s Enquiry in his Ethical Questions (1817). Dugald Stewart discussed Hume’s account of why we venerate the past in Philosophical Essays (1810) and Hume’s scepticism in Dissertation on the Progress of Philosophy (1821). In Biographia Literaria (1817), Samuel Taylor Coleridge drew attention to the similarities between the views of Aquinas and Hume on the association of ideas, and thereby sparked a discussion in Blackwood’s Magazine (1818). Thomas Brown also discussed Hume’s principles of association in Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind (1820).

By the middle of the 19th century, two short books devoted to Hume’s theory of causality had appeared, namely, Mary Shepherd’s Essay upon the Relation of Cause and Effect (1824) and George Tucker’s Essay on Cause and Effect (1850). Although both of these works are critical of Hume’s theory, the Humean view of causality became more widely adopted in other metaphysical discussions of causality. For example, although Mill does not mention Hume by name, he nevertheless clearly espouses a Humean conception of causality in his Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy:

And how, or by what evidence does experience testify to it [the causation hypothesis]? Not by disclosing any nexus between the cause and effect, any sufficient reason in the cause itself why the effect should follow it. No philosopher now makes this supposition, and Sir W. Hamilton positively disclaims it. What experience makes known is the fact of an invariable sequence between every event and some special combination of antecedent conditions, in such sort that wherever and whenever that union of antecedents exists the event does not fail to occur. [Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, 26]

The Humean view of causality received an additional boost from Auguste Comte (1798-1857) in his six-volume Cours de philosophie positive (The Positive Philosophy) (1830–1842). At the outset of that work, Comte acknowledges Hume as one of his precursors. In an 1868 discussion of Comte’s work, the Edinburgh Review explains more precisely how Hume fully anticipated Comte’s positivism:

This is the method of Positive inquiry now universally recognised in every department of science, although as yet imperfectly carried out in some. It was formally announced by Bacon, and is commonly associated with his name, although in truth it was but imperfectly understood and applied by that great teacher of Method. It received definite impulse from the speculations of Hume, who, carrying to their legitimate conclusions the philosophy of his day, showed that we could get nothing from nature, or sense-experience, but ideas of coexistence and a succession; or, in other words, of facts, and the sequences which connect them; and who attempted to prove that this was equally true of the world of mind as of matter. From the one realm as well as the other he cast out all ideas of substance and cause, and left nothing but phenomena and their relations of association. Hume is, therefore, the principal precursor of Comte, as he himself acknowledges. He anticipated to the full the fundamental principle of the Comtean philosophy. He did more than this. For he saw clearly the use that could be made of it polemically; the sceptical or negative bearings of the principle are equally to be found in his writings. So far, therefore, there is nothing original in Positivism. The Scottish sceptic had already anticipated the nature of its attacks against theological philosophy. [Edinburgh Review, April 1868, Vol. 127, p. 322]

As history of philosophy survey books appeared in the second half of the 19th century, Hume found a place in the development of metaphysics, typically standing between the great figures of Berkeley and Kant. An example of this is George Henry Lewes’s Biographical History of Philosophy (1873), which devotes a lengthy chapter to Hume. Discussions of Hume also appeared in more specialized histories of philosophy, such as James McCosh’s The Scottish Philosophy (1875) and Leslie Stephen’s History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (1876).

Towards the end of the 19th century, academic writings in the history of philosophy became more “scholarly” in the sense that we understand that term today. T.H. Green wrote a detailed, 400-page study of Hume’s Treatise, which was published as an introduction to the edition of Hume’s Works (1874), edited by Green and Thomas Grose. Shortly after, three introductory books on Hume’s philosophy appeared that contained chapters on Hume’s metaphysics, namely, Thomas Huxley’s Hume (1879), William Knight’s Hume (1886), and Henry Calderwood’s David Hume (1898). As academic philosophy journals emerged, scholarly articles on Hume appeared, such as those by J.A. Cain (1885) and William W. Carlile (1896).

Teori-teori Skepticisme

On Truth & Reality /The Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) in Space/

'Most of the fundamental ideas of science are simple and can be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. ... Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.' (Albert Einstein) Deducing Most Simple Science Theory of Reality 'Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which it has.' (Aristotle, 340BC) Metaphysics of Space, Dynamic Unity of Reality to be completed Maths Physics On Mathematics Logic & Reality 'When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.' (Albert Einstein) Albert Einstein's Special & General Relativity Theory 'What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).' (Erwin Schrodinger on Quantum Physics / Wave Mechanics) Quantum Physics Wave Theory of Light & Matter 'Can we visualize a universe which is finite yet unbounded? ... The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction.' (Albert Einstein) WSM Cosmology Finite Universe & Infinite Space 'There is nothing more necessary than truth. ... One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived.' (Friedrich Nietzsche on Philosophy) Philosophy Wisdom from Truth & Reality 'If religion is the establishing of a relationship between man and the universe, then morality is the explanation of those activities that automatically result when a person maintains a relationship to the universe.' (Leo Tolstoy) Theology God Religion Spirit Morality 'Although I am fully convinced of the truth of Evolution, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists. But I look with confidence to the future naturalists, who will be able to view both sides with impartiality.'(Charles Darwin) Life Evolution Ecology Nature Environment to be completed Human Health Nutrition Diet Medicine Drugs 'All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth. ... The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.' (Aristotle) Education On Teaching Truth & Reality 'Mankind has tried the other two roads to peace - the road of political jealousy and the road of religious bigotry - and found them both equally misleading. Perhaps it will now try the third, the road of scientific truth, the only road on which the passenger is not deceived.' (Professor Garrett P. Serviss) Politics Utopia True Democracy Political Science This Philosophy Website

The Philosophy Shop ------------------------------------------------------------------------ New! Sign up to our Newsletter - Send a Free Postcard - Philosophy / Physics Quiz and Survey coming soon! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Introduction /

Summary to this Physics Philosophy Metaphysics of Space Website on Truth and Reality / The Wave Structure of Matter (please read first!)Site Introduction (Oct.07): The above pages show you how to deduce Reality for yourself and confirm it is true. There are just two steps, founded on logical empirical rules of Science - no opinions (and apologies for the abruptness!) *i)* Deduce the most Simple Science Theory of Reality - the Wave Structure of Matter in Space . *ii)* Show the Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) correctly deduces fundamentals of Metaphysics , Physics & Philosophy . Science does work, we can understand physical reality (the source of wisdom). This is profoundly important to Humanity. Help our world / human society <#help.discuss.truth.reality> by supporting an open honest (simple, sensible, logical) discussion of truth & reality. It is obvious to any thoughtful person that our world is in great trouble, that we are heading rapidly towards self destruction due to human overpopulation and the resultant destruction of Nature , climate change and the pollution of air, land and water (contaminating everything we consume). The best solution to these problems is to *found our societies on truth (true knowledge of reality) rather than past myths and customs* (which invariably cause harm, our past and present global conflicts confirm this). Most importantly, it is now clear that there is a *correct language for describing reality*. This is deduced (despite the postmodern view that this is impossible - see links at the top of this page). Support an open honest (sensible logical) science discussion of Truth & Reality <#help.discuss.truth.reality> (anchor link to help section lower on this page). We have tried to make a simple and easy help section (on every page) where you can support this research and ensure that it is known by the world (and you will find good quality websites / knowledge resources in the process). We are now listed as the Top Philosophy Website on the Internet with around 100,000 page views each day, and rank in the top 20 in Google for most academic search terms - so we just need a bit of help to get in the top ten. Given the Censorship in Physics / Philosophy of Science Journals (founded on the standard model / particle physics) the internet is clearly the best way to get new knowledge visible to the world (which is now very important). Read the Full Introduction Sincerely, Geoff Haselhurst - Karene Howie - Email - Nice letters we receive In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. (George Orwell) You must be the change you wish to see in the world. (Mohandas Gandhi) All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke) Hell is Truth Seen Too Late. (Thomas Hobbes) Metaphysics: Skepticism Quotes from Famous Skeptics / Skeptical Philosophers Metaphysics is the attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply by fragments, but somehow as a whole. (F.H. Bradley, 1846-1924) Metaphysics Solves Problems of Science All things come out of the one and the one out of all things. ... I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! The very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one you entered before. (Heraclitus, 500BC) One and the Many Dynamic Unity of Reality Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... Here we have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. (Aristotle, 340BC) Aristotle Metaphysics Substance & Properties No one doubts but that we imagine TIME from the very fact that we imagine other bodies to be moved slower or faster or equally fast. We are accustomed to determine duration by the aid of some measure of MOTION. (Spinoza, 1673) Benedictus de Spinoza Metaphysics of Motion Absolute Space, in its own nature, without regard to any thing external, remains always similar and immovable. ... It seems probable to me that God formed matter in solid, hard, impenetrable, movable particles. (Sir Isaac Newton) Sir Isaac Newton Absolute Space / Particles Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... Substance cannot be conceived without activity, activity being the essence of substance in general. (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670) Gottfried Leibniz Metaphysics / Monadology When we look towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we can never discover any power or necessary connexion which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one a consequence of the other. (David Hume, 1737) David Hume Metaphysics Necessary Connection Natural science contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. ... Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. (Immanuel Kant, 1781) Immanuel Kant Metaphysics Synthetic a priori Knowledge Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). Thus the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as matter (particles) in Newton's theory. (Albert Einstein, 1950) Albert Einstein Field Theory of Matter Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. ... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890) Metaphysics of Skepticism Skeptical / Skeptics Quotes Discussion on the Metaphysics of Skepticism, Philosophy as the Study of Truth, Reality & the Certainty of Knowledge. The Good & Bad of Skepticism (Scientific Minds are Skeptical but Open) Hi Everyone, I have been re-writing the main pages of this website for the past month (May, 2007) trying to be as concise and simple as possible (to keep the pages short / friendly for you). This page though is quite long, as it covers a lot of ground on scepticism which is important. It has a very good collection of quotes from the great philosophers - I hope that you will read them as I think this knowledge of healthy skepticism will repay you many times over - by providing good foundations for how to think and live in a complex and at times confusing world. (Geoff Haselhurst) On the Difficulty of Convincing a Skeptical Postmodern Humanity that we can Know Reality It is an almost impossible task to convince current postmodern philosophy (which teaches that there are no Absolute Truths) that we can (and now do) know the truth about physical reality. This task is made more difficult again by the fact that there are many thousands of generally well meaning 'crackpot theorist' websites on the internet with all sorts of strange ideas (so people just get confused and give up I suspect). Nonetheless, I am quite certain that many people care greatly about science and philosophy, appreciate their importance to Humanity, and their current problems and contradictions. Likewise many people would dearly love to see these errors and problems corrected. It is to you that I write, believing that over time the force of reason and truth invariably prevails over customs and opinions. I first read Einstein and Lorentz about seven years ago. Einstein considered matter to be Spherically Spatially extended (not a discrete particle) and Lorentz imagined Space to exist as a medium for waves. I suspect it was largely from these two ideas, combined with the well known particle / wave duality of matter, that caused me to think of the Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter in Space. Now, ten years later, I at times feel like writing that it is 'bloody obvious ' that the Wave Structure of Matter is correct, that reality has been discovered. It is after all very simple and obvious once known. *Space exists as a wave medium, matter exists as the spherical wave motions of Space*. (Please see main articles at the top of this page for more details.) Of course, as a philosopher I realise that the 'bloody obvious' argument doesn't hold much water (it makes my kids smile though). Instead we are required to use the methods of science and philosophy to prove that we now have the correct language to directly describe what exists. This is an enormously difficult task - that substantial proof is required to convince a highly skeptical humanity (which is understandable considering we have failed for 2,500 years to understand reality). Over the years I have thought about this and have concluded that the best two things would be; i) To deduce reality such that Scientists could likewise determine the truth of this for themselves, and would thus agree that the Wave Structure of Matter in Space was necessary and certain. That my opinion was irrelevant, the truth was necessary, self evident and clear to all. ii) To explain and solve the major problems of human knowledge. As Plato wrote, truth comes from reality. Thus true knowledge of reality should correct the past errors of philosophy, physics and metaphysics. (See top of page) With this in mind, over the past ten years I have read many hundred of books on metaphysics , philosophy and physics (by the greatest minds of human history - which has been a pleasant task as I find the minds and ideas of people who wrote on truth and reality fascinating). I am now certain that the Wave Structure of Matter does explain and solve most of the major problems of physics, philosophy and metaphysics. That it does not explain all problems is a limitation of my mind and my time, so there is obviously still much to be done. To begin - some important quotes on skepticism, truth and reality. It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hearsay. (Buddha)It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hearsay. (*Buddha*) Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati - 'The gift of truth excels all other gifts.' (*Buddha*) What is at issue is the conversion of the mind from the twilight of error to the truth, that climb up into the real world which we shall call true philosophy. (Plato) What is at issue is the conversion of the mind from the twilight of error to the truth, that climb up into the real world which we shall call true philosophy. ... When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by *truth and reality*, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. (*Plato*) Nothing seems of more importance, towards erecting a firm system of sound and real knowledge, which may be proof against the assaults of scepticism, than to lay the beginning in a distinct explication of what is meant by thing, reality, existence ... (George Berkeley) Nothing seems of more importance, towards erecting a firm system of sound and real knowledge, which may be proof against the assaults of scepticism, than to lay the beginning in a distinct explication of what is meant by thing, reality, existence: for in vain shall we dispute concerning the real existence of things, or pretend to any knowledge thereof, so long as we have not fixed the meaning of those words. (*George Berkeley*) This begets a very natural question; What is meant by a skeptic? And how far it is possible to push these philosophical principles of doubt and uncertainty? (David Hume, 1737)This begets a very natural question; What is meant by a skeptic? And how far it is possible to push these philosophical principles of doubt and uncertainty? ... I must confess that a man is guilty of unpardonable arrogance who concludes, because an argument has escaped his own investigation, that therefore it does not really exist. I must also confess that, though all the learned, for several ages, should have employed themselves in fruitless search upon any subject, it may still, perhaps, be rash to conclude positively that the subject must, therefore, pass all human comprehension. ... There is a species of scepticism, antecedent to all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Descartes and others, as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgement. It recommends an universal doubt, not only of all our former opinions and principles, but also of our very faculties; of whose veracity, say they, we must assure ourselves, by a chain of reasoning, deduced from some original principle, which cannot possibly be fallacious or deceitful. (*David Hume*, 1737) Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890)Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. ... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will to not allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? ... One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived. (*Friedrich Nietzsche*, 1890) The quest for certainty has played a considerable part in the history of philosophy: it has been assumed that without a basis of certainty all our claims to knowledge must be suspect. (A.J. Ayer) The quest for certainty has played a considerable part in the history of philosophy: it has been assumed that without a basis of certainty all our claims to knowledge must be suspect. (*A.J Ayer*) If experience cannot justify the skeptic, neither can it refute him. Psychologically, indeed, he may receive encouragement from the fact that by following our accepted standards of proof we sometimes arrive at beliefs which turn out to be false: it would be hard for him to get a hearing if the procedures which he questions never lead us astray. ... Our reward for taking skepticism seriously is that we are brought to distinguish the different levels at which our claims of knowledge stand. In this way we gain clearer understanding of the dimensions of our language; and so of the world which it serves us to describe. (*Ayer*, 1956) I begin with the fundamentals of truth as described by Aristotle, and then list (below) six important skeptical principles which are applied to skeptically analyse the Metaphysics of Space and (wave) Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter. Now there is a principle in things that are for which illusion is impossible and whose truth, rather, we cannot fail to acknowledge, the principle that it is not possible for the same thing both to be, and not to be, at one and the same time, or indeed harbour any other such pair of contraries. However, if you have on your hands a guy who is making opposite assertions and you want to show him the falsity of his ways, you are going to have to get out of him some concession which amounts to the principle that it is not possible for the same thing both to be and not to be at one and the same time, even though it may not be thought to be the same. Only in this way can the principle be demonstrated in the face of one who says that it is possible for opposite statements to be true in respect of the same thing. In any case, if any two people are going to have a debate, there has to be some common ground. Without it what joint basis for discussion will there be? What, then, is needed is that each of the words used must be familiar and indicate something, not several things but only one. (Or if it does indicate a plurality of things, it must be made clear to which of these things the word is being applied in the context.) Given these ground rules, anyone who says that a given thing both is and is not is denying what he is asserting, so that he is denying that the word indicates what it indicates, which is impossible. If, then, something is indicated by saying that a given thing is, it is impossible for the denial of it to be true in respect of the same thing. On top of that, if the word indicates something and is asserted truly, this must be of necessity. And what is of necessity does not admit of ever not being. Thus it is not possible for opposite statements to be true in respect of the same thing. Finally, if nothing can be truly asserted, even the following claim would be false, the claim that there is no true assertion. And if there is a true assertion, this is a refutation of what is pretended by the raisers of these objections, being as they are the comprehensive eliminators of all debate. ... the basis of the cure is definition. Now a definition arises from the necessity that words have some meaning; for the definition is the account of which the word is the sign. Rather, they start this, displaying it to the senses, .... and go on to offer more or less rigorous demonstrations of the per se attributes of their proprietary genera. This sort of procedure is inductive and it is as plain as a pikestaff that it does not amount to a demonstration of essence or of what it is to be a thing. (Aristotle, Metaphysics) To summarize, we agree that words must correspond to real things that exist, and these things cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. We need this common ground to begin this skeptical analysis. Further, we must define the meaning of our words by directly relating them to what exists, and not by relating them to our naive real senses (like solid bodies, colours and emotions which are human constructions of the mind). We do this with One Principle which states that One thing (substance) Space exists as a Wave-Medium and matter exists as the Spherical Wave Motion of Space. This is followed by six fundamental principles of skeptical analysis which are applied to the Wave Structure of Matter. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Fundamental Principles of Skeptical Analysis Contents 1.1 We must Critically Analyse our Existing Beliefs 1.2 We cannot use 'God' as a Metaphysical explanation of the 'Necessary Connexion' between Things 1.3 We should always keep an Open Mind 1.4 Our Guiding Metaphysical Principles Must be Simple, Logical and Sensible 1.5 All Knowledge of Reality Ultimately Comes from Our Senses and Experience 1.6 We should be aware of 'Naive Realism' and that our Mind 'Represents' the World of our Senses ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.1 We must Critically Analyse our Existing Beliefs In general, there is a degree of doubt, and caution, and modesty, which, in all kinds of scrutiny and decision, ought for ever to accompany a just reasoner. (*David Hume*, 1737) We begin by accepting the uncertainty of our existing beliefs and agree that beliefs require critical analysis from firm foundations (i.e. Knowledge of Philosophy, Physics, and Metaphysics). As Descartes elegantly writes, Several years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterwards based on such principles was highly doubtful: and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences. (Descartes, 1637) Now it seems that this is generally difficult for humans to do and there are two obvious reasons for this. Firstly we have clearly evolved to form strong cultural / religious beliefs (generally determined by famous males) which unite and strengthen our tribe (and thus enhance our survival). Secondly, we depend upon language to understand things, and our language contains many pre-conceived (/a priori/) ideas and beliefs that subtly and insidiously affect the ability of our minds to think freely and critically. Three particular beliefs (below) must now be re-analysed; i) Time existing as a real thing in itself ii) Particles with Charge and Mass, and thus also requiring electromagnetic and gravitational fields to connect them. iii) The non-existence of an absolute Space (Einstein's theory of relativity) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.2 We cannot use 'God' as a Metaphysical explanation of the 'Necessary Connexion' between Things Aristotle describes the philosopher metaphysicist's view of God very well. For God is thought to be among the causes for all things and to be a kind of principle ... .. by making the gods the principles and making creation from the gods ... "Suppose, however, that there is something that is eternal, unchanging and apart. Does this putative Entity form the domain of a theoretical science? Yes, of course, but not that either of natural science or of mathematics, but of a science more fundamental than them both. The domain of natural science is things that are in a way separate but which are eminently subject to change, and at least part of the domain of mathematics is things that are not subject to change but also not separable, in the sense of being separable from matter. But First Science deals with things that are separable and are remote from change. All the causes must be eternal, of course, but eternity must pertain more specially still to the causes of First Science, operating, as they do, to produce those effects of Divinity that are manifest even to us. Let us, then, say that there are three forms of contemplative philosophy - mathematics, natural science and theology. For who can doubt that, if there is Divinity anywhere in the universe, then it is in the nature studied by First Science that It is to be found. And it is also for the Supreme Science to study the Supreme Genus. And contemplative study is to be chosen above all other science, but it is this First Science of Theology that we must prefer to all other kinds even of contemplation. (Aristotle, Metaphysics) Effectively Aristotle says that the heart of Metaphysics lies in the study of the One Absolute and Eternal Thing (God, Divinity) which Exists and is the Cause of all other things. Since Aristotle, God has been used in many systems of Metaphysics, but invariably the word has been used to fill in gaps of our knowledge, which is a negative solution to the analysis of God (Theology). Descartes assumed three principle 'existents' - Matter, Mind and God, but was never able to show the necessary and thus certain connections between these three different things, and as Hume rightly says; To have recourse to the veracity of the supreme Being, in order to prove the veracity of our senses, is surely making a very unexpected circuit. (Hume, 1737) Newton also faced the Same problem; It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should, without mediation of something else which is not matter, operate on and affect other matter without mutual contact.... That gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at-a-distance, through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else by and through which their action may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it. (Sir Isaac Newton) Newton was quite religious, and thus tried to use 'God' to explain his lack of knowledge of necessary connection; Newton, following the example of the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, justified his introduction of "Space" as a real, infinite entity (and by implication, the existence of "hard, massy, impenetrable, movable particles") by claiming that Absolute Space is constituted by the Omnipresence of God. Newton sought to make the action of Universal Gravitation across empty space believable by references to the power of God, but as the investigation of electricity, magnetism and chemical affinity developed in the 18th and 19th centuries attempts were made to find physical explanations for "action-at-a-distance". In the theories of Boscovich and Faraday the dualism of Atoms and the Void is replaced by an all-pervasive "field of force" in which there are many mathematical centers. (This version also informs the account of gravitation in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.) (Western Philosophy and Philosophers , 1991) Again I repeat, the obvious and simple solution to these problems is to realize that there are no separate 'particles' or 'fields' existing in Space, rather, it is the Wave-Center of Spherical Standing Waves (SSWs) in Space that creates this 'particle effect'. As a consequence, it is the In-Waves of the Spherical Standing Wave in Space which are changing velocity as they flow in through other SSWs in Space (particularly their high Wave-Amplitude Wave-Centers) that causes the 'Field Effect" and the resultant acceleration of the 'particle' (Wave-Center). Thus postulating the existence of 'God' as an explanation for our lack of knowledge of the necessary connection between things that exist (which has been common throughout the history of Philosophy e.g. Newton, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Kant, to name but a few of many) is no solution and is simply used to fill a gap in our knowledge. This skepticism is particularly important for Cosmology where belief in the 'Big Bang' (which has God/creation/religious connotations) has now become famous and well established. Certainly the creation of our universe from no Space and no Time (God?) is not in accordance with everyday phenomena, nor with the Laws of Nature, and as it cannot be confirmed by direct observation we would do well to remain open minded and skeptical. More than this though, the Wave Structure of Matter explains a different cause for the redshift with distance that leads to a perpetual finite spherical universe within and infinite Space. Thus not only must we be skeptical of the 'Big Bang' Cosmology, we must also be open minded and skeptically consider opposing theories. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.3 We should always keep an Open Mind Hume, thought it possible that we could discover this 'secret' and 'necessary connexion' between things. This knowledge would allow logic from first principles (Metaphysics) to deduce events such that we would no longer have to depend upon induction from repeated observation, that ... we could foresee the effect, even without experience; and might, at first, pronounce with certainty concerning it, by mere dint of thought and reasoning.? Now whether it be so or not, can only appear upon examination; and it is incumbent on these philosophers to make good their assertion, by defining or describing that necessity, and pointing it out to us in the operations of material causes. (Hume, 1737) In fact he is quite emphatic about remaining completely open minded about whether the problem of Causation can be solved (contrary to many later (lesser) philosophers and scientists who write that he proved it could not be solved - a sadly common occurrence of a great mind being misunderstood or misrepresented by later scientists!) I must confess that a man is guilty of unpardonable arrogance who concludes, because an argument has escaped his own investigation, that therefore it does not really exist. I must also confess that, though all the learned, for several ages, should have employed themselves in fruitless search upon any subject, it may still, perhaps, be rash to conclude positively that the subject must, therefore, pass all human comprehension. (Hume, 1737) This question (the problem of necessary connection and causation) I propose as much for the sake of information, as with an intention of raising difficulties. I cannot find, I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me. (Hume, 1737) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.4 Our Guiding Metaphysical Principles Must be Simple, Logical and Sensible It must, however, be confessed, that this species of skepticism, when more moderate, may be understood in a very reasonable sense, and is a necessary preparative to the study of philosophy, by preserving a proper impartiality in our judgements, and weaning our mind from all those prejudices, which we may have imbibed from education or rash opinion. To begin with clear and self-evident principles, to advance by timorous and sure steps, to review frequently our conclusions, and examine accurately all their consequences; though by these means we shall make both a slow and a short progress in our systems; are the only methods, by which we can ever hope to reach truth, and attain a proper stability and certainty in our determinations. ... we find in the course of nature that though the effects be many, the principles from which they arise are commonly few and simple, and that it is the sign of an unskilled naturalist to have recourse to a different quality in order to explain every different operation. (Hume, 1737) Currently, due to its failures and excesses, Metaphysics is scorned by many philosophers as being impossible, but this need not be the case as Einstein remarks; In order that thinking might not degenerate into "metaphysics", or into empty talk, it is only necessary that enough propositions of the conceptual system be firmly enough connected with sensory experiences and that the conceptual system, in view of its task of ordering and surveying sense experience, should show as much unity and parsimony as possible. Beyond that, however, the 'system' is (as regards logic) a free play with symbols according to (logically) arbitrarily given rules of the game. ... by his clear critique Hume did not only advance philosophy in a decisive way but also - though through no fault of his - created a danger for philosophy in that, following his critique, a fateful 'fear of metaphysics' arose which has come to be a malady of contemporary empiricist philosophising; this malady is the counterpart to that earlier philosophising in the clouds, which thought it could neglect and dispense with what was given by the senses. However, I see no 'metaphysical' danger in taking the thing (the object in the sense of physics) as an independent concept into the system together with the proper spatio-temporal structure. ..it finally turns out that one can, after all, not get along without 'metaphysics'. (Albert Einstein, 1944) Einstein is absolutely correct about Metaphysics, that it is meaningful only if it begins from Principles which correspond sensibly to what we observe about the behaviour of objects in this Space around us. And so like Einstein, I am; .. anxious to draw attention to the fact that this theory is not speculative in origin; it owes its invention entirely to the desire to make physical theory fit observed fact as well as possible. We have here no revolutionary act but the natural continuation of a line that can be traced through centuries. (Albert Einstein) The Metaphysics of Space and Motion abides by these principles of simplicity and connection to the sensible world of experience. As Aristotle so importantly argues; that among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things. (Aristotle) Thus to simplify and understand the truth of any scientific/philosophical work of Metaphysics, and thus of Cosmology, we must always ask three questions; 1. What do they say Exists (material substance, relation, process, etc.) 2. What are the 'Necessary Connections' between 'What Exists'. 3. How does this explain the Motion of Matter in Space, which we clearly sense about us. The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) explains these questions very simply and sensibly; This Space that we all Exist in and Sense around us Exists as a Wave-Medium, and Matter Exists as a Spherical Standing Wave (which determines) the size of our Finite Spherical Universe within an infinite Space. Thus the 'Necessary Connections' Exist due to Space and the change in Velocity of the Spherical (Ellipsoidal) In-Waves as they flow in through other matter - which necessarily determines where they meet at their Wave-Center, and which we see as the accelerated motion of the particle. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.5 All Knowledge of Reality Ultimately Comes from Our Senses and Experience of the Motion of Matter in Space It is experience only, which gives authority to human testimony; and it is the same experience, which assures us of the laws of nature. ... But though our thought seems to possess this unbounded liberty, we shall find, upon a nearer examination, that it is really confined within very narrow limits, and that all this creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience. 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 equally intelligible, and banish all that jargon, which has so long taken possession of metaphysical reasonings, and drawn disgrace upon them. (*Hume*, 1737) ... the senses alone are not implicitly to be depended on; we must correct their evidence by reason, and by considerations, derived from the nature of the medium, the distance of the object, and the disposition of the organ, in order to render them, within their sphere, the proper criteria of truth and falsehood. (*David Hume*, 1737) Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. (*Albert Einstein*, 1954) I absolutely agree with these two wonderful minds of human history. The Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter exists purely as a consequence of this desire to explain the things that we sense by observation and experiment of Matter in the Space around us. (As simply and sensibly as possible, while always accepting that while our senses are limited and deceptive, they are also the final arbitrator of Truth about Reality. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.6 On 'Naive Realism' and that our Mind 'Represents' the World of our Senses The table, which we see, seems to diminish, as we remove farther from it: but the real table, which exists independent of us, suffers no alteration: it was, therefore, nothing but its image, which was present to the mind. These are the obvious dictates of reason; and no man, who reflects, ever doubted, that the existences, which we consider, when we say, this house and that tree, are nothing but perceptions in the mind, and fleeting copies or representations of other existences, which remain uniform and independent. (Hume, 1737) It is true that our mind somehow 'Represents' the world of our senses, this has been known since the time of early Greek and Indian Philosophy. A red apple is only red in our Minds, in reality it exists as a collection of many trillions of Wave-Centers (particles) that are trapped in particular frequencies of cyclical Motion (orbits/wave functions). These oscillating Wave-Centers also must have oscillations of their In and Out Waves which can 'resonantly couple' with the oscillations of Wave-Centers in my eye. This explains how I am able to see the apple and its particular frequencies of wave-motion, but I cannot explain how our mind 'Represents' frequencies of waves as colours. (And I would greatly appreciate any thought on this subject of 'Representation' and how our mind 'creates/constructs' colours, tastes, feelings, etc.) It seems evident, that men are carried, by a natural instinct or prepossession, to repose faith in their senses; and that, without any reasoning, or even almost before the use of reason, we always suppose an external universe, which depends not on our perception, but would exist, though we and every sensible creature were absent or annihilated. Even the animal creation are governed by a like opinion, and preserve this belief of external objects, in all their thoughts, designs and actions. ... This very table, which we see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, independent of our perception, and to be something external to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows not being on it: our absence does not annihilate it. It preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of the situation of intelligent beings, who perceive or contemplate it. (Hume, 1737) It is both obvious and hard to prove that, as Hume says, the real world does exist independently of our ideas (thus rejecting extreme Idealism). Evolution tells us that matter existed in Space and was evolving well before our existence (just think back several billion years) thus if Humanity (and our ideas) did not exist, Matter in this Space of the Universe would still continue to exist, just as it did prior to our evolution and existence. A few more relevant quotes from Hume (who was a great skeptical philosopher). It is universally allowed by modern enquirers, that all the sensible qualities of objects, such as hard, soft, hot, cold, white, black, ... are merely secondary, and exist not in the objects themselves, but are perceptions of the mind, without any external archetype or model, which they represent. If this be allowed, with regard to secondary qualities, it must also follow, with regard to the supposed primary qualities of extension and solidity; nor can the latter be any more entitled to that denomination than the former. (David Hume) .. if it be a principle of reason, that all sensible qualities are in the mind, not in the object. Bereave matter of all its intelligible qualities, both primary and secondary, you in a manner annihilate it, and leave only a certain unknown, inexplicable something, as the cause of our perceptions .. (David Hume) But that all his arguments, (Dr. Berkeley), though otherwise intended, are, in reality, merely sceptical, appears from this, that they admit of no answer and produce no conviction. Their only effect is to cause that momentary amazement and irresolution and confusion, which is the result of scepticism. (David Hume) Perhaps it is fitting to end this section with a quote from Berkeley. Certainly his aims of giving certainty to knowledge were admirable (he disliked atheists, skeptics and abstraction!). However his Idealism fails (as it ultimately depends on God to connect the many human minds and their common perceptions of the world). Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth, it may with reason be expected, that those who have spent most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of mind, a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge, and be less disturbed with doubt and difficulties than other men. Yet so it is we see the illiterate bulk of mankind that walk the high-road of plain, common sense and are governed by the dictates of nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses, and are out of all danger of becoming sceptics. But no sooner do we depart from sense and instinct to follow the light of a superior principle, to reason, meditate and reflect on the nature of things, but a thousand scruples spring up in our minds, concerning those things which before we seemed fully to comprehend. Prejudices and errors of sense do from all parts discover themselves to our view; and endeavouring to correct these by reason we are insensibly drawn into uncouth paradoxes, difficulties, and inconsistencies, which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation; till at length, having wandered through many intricate mazes, we find ourselves just where we were, or, which is worse, sit down in a forlorn scepticism. (*George Berkeley*) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Concluding Remarks A sensible skepticism is important if we are not to be deceived. However, at times blind skepticism causes harm for new knowledge. Clearly our Metaphysical Principles are important and necessary. From the Foundations of One thing, Space, existing as a Wave-Medium, I am quite sure that we can now proceed to satisfy these skeptical requirements and demonstrate that the problem of 'what exists' and their 'necessary connexion' and causation has been solved. I absolutely agree with Kant that this skeptical method of science is profoundly important to Humanity; It will render an important service to reason, by substituting the certainty of scientific method for that random groping after results without the guidance of principles, which has hitherto characterized the pursuit of metaphysical studies. It will render an important service to the inquiring mind of youth, by leading the student to apply his powers to the cultivation of genuine science, instead of wasting them, as at present, on speculations which can never lead to any result, or on the idle attempt to invent new ideas and opinions. But, above all, it will confer an inestimable benefit on morality and religion, by showing that all the objections urged against them may be silenced for ever by the Socratic method, that is to say, by proving the ignorance of the objector. For, as the world has never been, and no doubt, never will be, without a system of metaphysics of one kind or another, it is the highest and weightiest concern of philosophy to render it powerless for harm, by closing up the sources of error. (Kant, 1781) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Related Pages on Sceptics / Scepticism http://www.suppressedscience.net/skepticism.html - A good article on valid and invalid skepticism. From the site: Many who loudly advertise themselves as skeptics are actually disbelievers. Properly, a skeptic is a nonbeliever, a person who refuses to jump to conclusions based on inconclusive evidence. A disbeliever, on the other hand, is characterized by an a priori belief that a certain idea is wrong and will not be swayed by any amount of empirical evidence to the contrary. Since disbelievers usually fancy themselves skeptics, I will follow Truzzi and call them pseudoskeptics, and their opinions pseudoskepticism. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Metaphysics: Skepticism Quotes from Famous Skeptics / Skeptical Philosophers Metaphysics is the attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply by fragments, but somehow as a whole. (F.H. Bradley, 1846-1924) Metaphysics Solves Problems of Science All things come out of the one and the one out of all things. ... I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! The very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one you entered before. (Heraclitus, 500BC) One and the Many Dynamic Unity of Reality Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... Here we have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. (Aristotle, 340BC) Aristotle Metaphysics Substance & Properties No one doubts but that we imagine TIME from the very fact that we imagine other bodies to be moved slower or faster or equally fast. We are accustomed to determine duration by the aid of some measure of MOTION. (Spinoza, 1673) Benedictus de Spinoza Metaphysics of Motion Absolute Space, in its own nature, without regard to any thing external, remains always similar and immovable. ... It seems probable to me that God formed matter in solid, hard, impenetrable, movable particles. (Sir Isaac Newton) Sir Isaac Newton Absolute Space / Particles Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... Substance cannot be conceived without activity, activity being the essence of substance in general. (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670) Gottfried Leibniz Metaphysics / Monadology When we look towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we can never discover any power or necessary connexion which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one a consequence of the other. (David Hume, 1737) David Hume Metaphysics Necessary Connection Natural science contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. ... Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. (Immanuel Kant, 1781) Immanuel Kant Metaphysics Synthetic a priori Knowledge Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). Thus the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as matter (particles) in Newton's theory. (Albert Einstein, 1950) Albert Einstein Field Theory of Matter Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. ... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890) Metaphysics of Skepticism Skeptical / Skeptics Quotes Discussion on the Metaphysics of Skepticism, Philosophy as the Study of Truth, Reality & the Certainty of Knowledge. The Good & Bad of Skepticism (Scientific Minds are Skeptical but Open). ------------------------------------------------------------------------ New! Sign up to our Newsletter - Send a Free Postcard - Philosophy / Physics Quiz and Survey coming soon! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Please Help Humanity Support Science and an open honest (sensible logical) discussion of Truth & Reality Albert Einstein Biography and Pictures: Young Albert Einstein (patent clerk)"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... *Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended*. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. ... The *free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. *... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ... *Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!*" (*Albert Einstein*) Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change . We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space . By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics , philosophy , metaphysics , theology , education , health , evolution and ecology , politics and society . This is the profound new way of thinking that Einstein realised , that we exist as spatially extended structures of the universe - the discrete and separate body an illusion. This simply confirms the intuitions of the ancient philosophers and mystics. Given the current censorship in physics / philosophy of science journals (based on the standard model of particle physics / big bang cosmology ) the internet is the best hope for getting new knowledge known to the world. But that depends on you, the people who care about science and society, realise the importance of truth and reality . It is easy to help - just click on the social network sites (below) or grab a nice image / quote you like and add it to your favourite blog, wiki or forum . We are listed as the Top Philosophy Website on the Internet (500,000 page views / week) and have a wonderful collection of knowledge from the greatest minds in human history, so people will appreciate your contributions. Thanks! Geoff Haselhurst - Karene Howie - Email *Just click on the links below - It is Simple - It will make a profound difference!* Links use javascript to open new page & automatically insert URL & Page Title (to make it easier for you). These are all top sites that are great for finding, bookmarking and sharing good web content - If you are not a member it brings up a page to join (which is simple). Bookmark this page to Delicious Del.icio.us Bookmark this page to Digg Digg Bookmark this page to Technorati. Technorati Bookmark this page to Google. Google Bookmark this page to Spurl. Spurl Bookmark this page to Simpy. Simpy Large Posters - Small Posters - Mini Poster Prints - Framed Poster Panel Prints - 2006 Wall Calendars - Journals / Diaries - Postcards - Greeting Cards - Mousepads - Bumper Stickers - Coffee Cups, Mugs & Beer Steins - Wall / Time Clocks - Buttons / Badges - Fridge Magnets - Jewelry Box & Drink Coasters 'At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.' (Aristotle) Ancient Greek Philosophy 'Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; it is appeased by love. This is an eternal Law.' (Buddha) Chinese Indian Metaphysics 'I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.' (Spinoza) Western Philosophy 'The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.' (Bertrand Russell) 20th Century Philosophers 'The scientist only imposes two things, namely truth and sincerity, imposes them upon himself and upon other scientists'. (Erwin Schrodinger) Physics Prints Science Quotes 'The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth.' (Albert Einstein) Albert Einstein Science & Life 'The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.' (Euclid) Mathematics Mathematicians 'I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.' (Marie Curie) Scientists Inventors 'Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.' (Seneca the Younger) God Religion Morality Ethics 'If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.' (Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR)) Famous Leaders President Politic 'Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it?' (Michel de Montaigne on Philosophy of Education) Education Educational 'The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.' (Herbert Spencer) Evolution Life Nature Ecology 'The Truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction.' (Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi) Motivational Inspirational 'No one was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrancy of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language.' (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) Metaphysical Poets & Poetry 'In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.' (George Orwell) Literature Books Authors Quotes 'Analyse any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation.' (Sigmund Freud) Erotic Art Love Sex Sexuality 'Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.' (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) Musicians Composers 'No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.' (Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women) Women Feminism Art 'Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.' (Francisco de Goya) Renaissance Fine Art Prints 'QUESTION: What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a philosopher? ANSWER: An offer you can't understand.' Satire Humor Funny Jokes Unique Custom Printed Tees - Men's Women's White T-Shirts - Men's Women's Black T-Shirts - Longsleeve T Shirts Hooded Sweatshirts - Women's Longsleeve Clothing - Tight Sexy Ladies Clothes - Men's & Women's Boxer Shorts / Boxers - Women's Intimates Erotic Thongs / Sexy Slips - Tote & Messenger Bags - Children / Infant / Kids Clothes - Kitchen Chef BBQ Cooking Aprons - Baseball Caps & Trucker Hats - Dog Coats ------------------------------------------------------------------------ On Truth & Reality /The Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) in Space/ 'Most of the fundamental ideas of science are simple and can be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. ... Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.' (Albert Einstein) Deducing Most Simple Science Theory of Reality 'Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which it has.' (Aristotle, 340BC) Metaphysics of Space, Dynamic Unity of Reality to be completed Maths Physics On Mathematics Logic & Reality 'When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.' (Albert Einstein) Albert Einstein's Special & General Relativity Theory 'What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).' (Erwin Schrodinger on Quantum Physics / Wave Mechanics) Quantum Physics Wave Theory of Light & Matter 'Can we visualize a universe which is finite yet unbounded? ... The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction.' (Albert Einstein) WSM Cosmology Finite Universe & Infinite Space 'There is nothing more necessary than truth. ... One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived.' (Friedrich Nietzsche on Philosophy) Philosophy Wisdom from Truth & Reality 'If religion is the establishing of a relationship between man and the universe, then morality is the explanation of those activities that automatically result when a person maintains a relationship to the universe.' (Leo Tolstoy) Theology God Religion Spirit Morality 'Although I am fully convinced of the truth of Evolution, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists. But I look with confidence to the future naturalists, who will be able to view both sides with impartiality.'(Charles Darwin) Life Evolution Ecology Nature Environment to be completed Human Health Nutrition Diet Medicine Drugs 'All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth. ... The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.' (Aristotle) Education On Teaching Truth & Reality 'Mankind has tried the other two roads to peace - the road of political jealousy and the road of religious bigotry - and found them both equally misleading. Perhaps it will now try the third, the road of scientific truth, the only road on which the passenger is not deceived.' (Professor Garrett P. Serviss) Politics Utopia True Democracy Political Science This Philosophy Website The Philosophy Shop

Kata filsafat

de·duce

tr.v. de·duced, de·duc·ing, de·duc·es

1. To reach (a conclusion) by reasoning.

2. To infer from a general principle; reason deductively: deduced from the laws of physics that the new airplane would fly.

3. To trace the origin or derivation of.

Metafisika Skepticism

Discussion on the Metaphysics of Skepticism, Philosophy as the Study of Truth, Reality & the Certainty of Knowledge. The Good & Bad of Skepticism (Scientific Minds are Skeptical but Open)

Hi Everyone,
I have been re-writing the main pages of this website for the past month (May, 2007) trying to be as concise and simple as possible (to keep the pages short / friendly for you). This page though is quite long, as it covers a lot of ground on scepticism which is important. It has a very good collection of quotes from the great philosophers - I hope that you will read them as I think this knowledge of healthy skepticism will repay you many times over - by providing good foundations for how to think and live in a complex and at times confusing world. (Geoff Haselhurst)

On the Difficulty of Convincing a Skeptical Postmodern Humanity that we can Know Reality

It is an almost impossible task to convince current postmodern philosophy (which teaches that there are no Absolute Truths) that we can (and now do) know the truth about physical reality. This task is made more difficult again by the fact that there are many thousands of generally well meaning 'crackpot theorist' websites on the internet with all sorts of strange ideas (so people just get confused and give up I suspect).

Nonetheless, I am quite certain that many people care greatly about science and philosophy, appreciate their importance to Humanity, and their current problems and contradictions. Likewise many people would dearly love to see these errors and problems corrected. It is to you that I write, believing that over time the force of reason and truth invariably prevails over customs and opinions.

I first read Einstein and Lorentz about seven years ago. Einstein considered matter to be Spherically Spatially extended (not a discrete particle) and Lorentz imagined Space to exist as a medium for waves. I suspect it was largely from these two ideas, combined with the well known particle / wave duality of matter, that caused me to think of the Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter in Space.

Now, ten years later, I at times feel like writing that it is 'bloody obvious' that the Wave Structure of Matter is correct, that reality has been discovered. It is after all very simple and obvious once known. Space exists as a wave medium, matter exists as the spherical wave motions of Space. (Please see main articles at the top of this page for more details.)

Of course, as a philosopher I realise that the 'bloody obvious' argument doesn't hold much water (it makes my kids smile though). Instead we are required to use the methods of science and philosophy to prove that we now have the correct language to directly describe what exists.
This is an enormously difficult task - that substantial proof is required to convince a highly skeptical humanity (which is understandable considering we have failed for 2,500 years to understand reality). Over the years I have thought about this and have concluded that the best two things would be;

i) To deduce reality such that Scientists could likewise determine the truth of this for themselves, and would thus agree that the Wave Structure of Matter in Space was necessary and certain. That my opinion was irrelevant, the truth was necessary, self evident and clear to all.

ii) To explain and solve the major problems of human knowledge. As Plato wrote, truth comes from reality. Thus true knowledge of reality should correct the past errors of philosophy, physics and metaphysics. (See top of page)

With this in mind, over the past ten years I have read many hundred of books on metaphysics, philosophy and physics (by the greatest minds of human history - which has been a pleasant task as I find the minds and ideas of people who wrote on truth and reality fascinating).
I am now certain that the Wave Structure of Matter does explain and solve most of the major problems of physics, philosophy and metaphysics. That it does not explain all problems is a limitation of my mind and my time, so there is obviously still much to be done.
To begin - some important quotes on skepticism, truth and reality.

It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hearsay. (Buddha)
Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati - 'The gift of truth excels all other gifts.' (Buddha)

What is at issue is the conversion of the mind from the twilight of error to the truth, that climb up into the real world which we shall call true philosophy.
... When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. (Plato)

Nothing seems of more importance, towards erecting a firm system of sound and real knowledge, which may be proof against the assaults of scepticism, than to lay the beginning in a distinct explication of what is meant by thing, reality, existence: for in vain shall we dispute concerning the real existence of things, or pretend to any knowledge thereof, so long as we have not fixed the meaning of those words. (George Berkeley)

This begets a very natural question; What is meant by a skeptic? And how far it is possible to push these philosophical principles of doubt and uncertainty?
... I must confess that a man is guilty of unpardonable arrogance who concludes, because an argument has escaped his own investigation, that therefore it does not really exist. I must also confess that, though all the learned, for several ages, should have employed themselves in fruitless search upon any subject, it may still, perhaps, be rash to conclude positively that the subject must, therefore, pass all human comprehension.
... There is a species of scepticism, antecedent to all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Descartes and others, as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgement. It recommends an universal doubt, not only of all our former opinions and principles, but also of our very faculties; of whose veracity, say they, we must assure ourselves, by a chain of reasoning, deduced from some original principle, which cannot possibly be fallacious or deceitful.
(David Hume, 1737)

Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical.
... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value.
This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will to not allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? ... One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890)

The quest for certainty has played a considerable part in the history of philosophy: it has been assumed that without a basis of certainty all our claims to knowledge must be suspect. (A.J Ayer)

If experience cannot justify the skeptic, neither can it refute him. Psychologically, indeed, he may receive encouragement from the fact that by following our accepted standards of proof we sometimes arrive at beliefs which turn out to be false: it would be hard for him to get a hearing if the procedures which he questions never lead us astray. ... Our reward for taking skepticism seriously is that we are brought to distinguish the different levels at which our claims of knowledge stand. In this way we gain clearer understanding of the dimensions of our language; and so of the world which it serves us to describe. (Ayer, 1956)

I begin with the fundamentals of truth as described by Aristotle, and then list (below) six important skeptical principles which are applied to skeptically analyse the Metaphysics of Space and (wave) Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter.

Now there is a principle in things that are for which illusion is impossible and whose truth, rather, we cannot fail to acknowledge, the principle that it is not possible for the same thing both to be, and not to be, at one and the same time, or indeed harbour any other such pair of contraries.
However, if you have on your hands a guy who is making opposite assertions and you want to show him the falsity of his ways, you are going to have to get out of him some concession which amounts to the principle that it is not possible for the same thing both to be and not to be at one and the same time, even though it may not be thought to be the same.

Only in this way can the principle be demonstrated in the face of one who says that it is possible for opposite statements to be true in respect of the same thing. In any case, if any two people are going to have a debate, there has to be some common ground. Without it what joint basis for discussion will there be? What, then, is needed is that each of the words used must be familiar and indicate something, not several things but only one. (Or if it does indicate a plurality of things, it must be made clear to which of these things the word is being applied in the context.)

Given these ground rules, anyone who says that a given thing both is and is not is denying what he is asserting, so that he is denying that the word indicates what it indicates, which is impossible. If, then, something is indicated by saying that a given thing is, it is impossible for the denial of it to be true in respect of the same thing.
On top of that, if the word indicates something and is asserted truly, this must be of necessity. And what is of necessity does not admit of ever not being. Thus it is not possible for opposite statements to be true in respect of the same thing.

Finally, if nothing can be truly asserted, even the following claim would be false, the claim that there is no true assertion. And if there is a true assertion, this is a refutation of what is pretended by the raisers of these objections, being as they are the comprehensive eliminators of all debate.
... the basis of the cure is definition. Now a definition arises from the necessity that words have some meaning; for the definition is the account of which the word is the sign.
Rather, they start this, displaying it to the senses, .... and go on to offer more or less rigorous demonstrations of the per se attributes of their proprietary genera. This sort of procedure is inductive and it is as plain as a pikestaff that it does not amount to a demonstration of essence or of what it is to be a thing. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

To summarize, we agree that words must correspond to real things that exist, and these things cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. We need this common ground to begin this skeptical analysis. Further, we must define the meaning of our words by directly relating them to what exists, and not by relating them to our naive real senses (like solid bodies, colours and emotions which are human constructions of the mind).
We do this with One Principle which states that One thing (substance) Space exists as a Wave-Medium and matter exists as the Spherical Wave Motion of Space.
This is followed by six fundamental principles of skeptical analysis which are applied to the Wave Structure of Matter.


Fundamental Principles of Skeptical Analysis

Contents

1.1 We must Critically Analyse our Existing Beliefs
1.2 We cannot use 'God' as a Metaphysical explanation of the 'Necessary Connexion' between Things
1.3 We should always keep an Open Mind
1.4 Our Guiding Metaphysical Principles Must be Simple, Logical and Sensible
1.5 All Knowledge of Reality Ultimately Comes from Our Senses and Experience
1.6 We should be aware of 'Naive Realism' and that our Mind 'Represents' the World of our Senses


1.1 We must Critically Analyse our Existing Beliefs

In general, there is a degree of doubt, and caution, and modesty, which, in all kinds of scrutiny and decision, ought for ever to accompany a just reasoner. (David Hume, 1737)

We begin by accepting the uncertainty of our existing beliefs and agree that beliefs require critical analysis from firm foundations (i.e. Knowledge of Philosophy, Physics, and Metaphysics). As Descartes elegantly writes,

Several years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterwards based on such principles was highly doubtful: and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences. (Descartes, 1637)

Now it seems that this is generally difficult for humans to do and there are two obvious reasons for this.

Firstly we have clearly evolved to form strong cultural / religious beliefs (generally determined by famous males) which unite and strengthen our tribe (and thus enhance our survival).

Secondly, we depend upon language to understand things, and our language contains many pre-conceived (a priori) ideas and beliefs that subtly and insidiously affect the ability of our minds to think freely and critically.

Three particular beliefs (below) must now be re-analysed;
i) Time existing as a real thing in itself
ii) Particles with Charge and Mass, and thus also requiring electromagnetic and gravitational fields to connect them.
iii) The non-existence of an absolute Space (Einstein's theory of relativity)


1.2 We cannot use 'God' as a Metaphysical explanation of the 'Necessary Connexion' between Things

Aristotle describes the philosopher metaphysicist's view of God very well.

For God is thought to be among the causes for all things and to be a kind of principle ...
.. by making the gods the principles and making creation from the gods ...
"Suppose, however, that there is something that is eternal, unchanging and apart. Does this putative Entity form the domain of a theoretical science? Yes, of course, but not that either of natural science or of mathematics, but of a science more fundamental than them both. The domain of natural science is things that are in a way separate but which are eminently subject to change, and at least part of the domain of mathematics is things that are not subject to change but also not separable, in the sense of being separable from matter. But First Science deals with things that are separable and are remote from change.
All the causes must be eternal, of course, but eternity must pertain more specially still to the causes of First Science, operating, as they do, to produce those effects of Divinity that are manifest even to us. Let us, then, say that there are three forms of contemplative philosophy - mathematics, natural science and theology. For who can doubt that, if there is Divinity anywhere in the universe, then it is in the nature studied by First Science that It is to be found. And it is also for the Supreme Science to study the Supreme Genus. And contemplative study is to be chosen above all other science, but it is this First Science of Theology that we must prefer to all other kinds even of contemplation. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

Effectively Aristotle says that the heart of Metaphysics lies in the study of the One Absolute and Eternal Thing (God, Divinity) which Exists and is the Cause of all other things.
Since Aristotle, God has been used in many systems of Metaphysics, but invariably the word has been used to fill in gaps of our knowledge, which is a negative solution to the analysis of God (Theology).
Descartes assumed three principle 'existents' - Matter, Mind and God, but was never able to show the necessary and thus certain connections between these three different things, and as Hume rightly says;

To have recourse to the veracity of the supreme Being, in order to prove the veracity of our senses, is surely making a very unexpected circuit. (Hume, 1737)

Newton also faced the Same problem;

It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should, without mediation of something else which is not matter, operate on and affect other matter without mutual contact.... That gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at-a-distance, through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else by and through which their action may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it. (Sir Isaac Newton)

Newton was quite religious, and thus tried to use 'God' to explain his lack of knowledge of necessary connection;

Newton, following the example of the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, justified his introduction of "Space" as a real, infinite entity (and by implication, the existence of "hard, massy, impenetrable, movable particles") by claiming that Absolute Space is constituted by the Omnipresence of God.
Newton sought to make the action of Universal Gravitation across empty space believable by references to the power of God, but as the investigation of electricity, magnetism and chemical affinity developed in the 18th and 19th centuries attempts were made to find physical explanations for "action-at-a-distance". In the theories of Boscovich and Faraday the dualism of Atoms and the Void is replaced by an all-pervasive "field of force" in which there are many mathematical centers. (This version also informs the account of gravitation in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.) (Western Philosophy and Philosophers , 1991)

Again I repeat, the obvious and simple solution to these problems is to realize that there are no separate 'particles' or 'fields' existing in Space, rather, it is the Wave-Center of Spherical Standing Waves (SSWs) in Space that creates this 'particle effect'. As a consequence, it is the In-Waves of the Spherical Standing Wave in Space which are changing velocity as they flow in through other SSWs in Space (particularly their high Wave-Amplitude Wave-Centers) that causes the 'Field Effect" and the resultant acceleration of the 'particle' (Wave-Center).
Thus postulating the existence of 'God' as an explanation for our lack of knowledge of the necessary connection between things that exist (which has been common throughout the history of Philosophy e.g. Newton, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Kant, to name but a few of many) is no solution and is simply used to fill a gap in our knowledge.
This skepticism is particularly important for Cosmology where belief in the 'Big Bang' (which has God/creation/religious connotations) has now become famous and well established. Certainly the creation of our universe from no Space and no Time (God?) is not in accordance with everyday phenomena, nor with the Laws of Nature, and as it cannot be confirmed by direct observation we would do well to remain open minded and skeptical. More than this though, the Wave Structure of Matter explains a different cause for the redshift with distance that leads to a perpetual finite spherical universe within and infinite Space. Thus not only must we be skeptical of the 'Big Bang' Cosmology, we must also be open minded and skeptically consider opposing theories.


1.3 We should always keep an Open Mind

Hume, thought it possible that we could discover this 'secret' and 'necessary connexion' between things. This knowledge would allow logic from first principles (Metaphysics) to deduce events such that we would no longer have to depend upon induction from repeated observation, that

... we could foresee the effect, even without experience; and might, at first, pronounce with certainty concerning it, by mere dint of thought and reasoning.”
Now whether it be so or not, can only appear upon examination; and it is incumbent on these philosophers to make good their assertion, by defining or describing that necessity, and pointing it out to us in the operations of material causes. (Hume, 1737)

In fact he is quite emphatic about remaining completely open minded about whether the problem of Causation can be solved (contrary to many later (lesser) philosophers and scientists who write that he proved it could not be solved - a sadly common occurrence of a great mind being misunderstood or misrepresented by later scientists!)

I must confess that a man is guilty of unpardonable arrogance who concludes, because an argument has escaped his own investigation, that therefore it does not really exist. I must also confess that, though all the learned, for several ages, should have employed themselves in fruitless search upon any subject, it may still, perhaps, be rash to conclude positively that the subject must, therefore, pass all human comprehension. (Hume, 1737)
This question (the problem of necessary connection and causation) I propose as much for the sake of information, as with an intention of raising difficulties. I cannot find, I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me. (Hume, 1737)


1.4 Our Guiding Metaphysical Principles Must be Simple, Logical and Sensible

It must, however, be confessed, that this species of skepticism, when more moderate, may be understood in a very reasonable sense, and is a necessary preparative to the study of philosophy, by preserving a proper impartiality in our judgements, and weaning our mind from all those prejudices, which we may have imbibed from education or rash opinion. To begin with clear and self-evident principles, to advance by timorous and sure steps, to review frequently our conclusions, and examine accurately all their consequences; though by these means we shall make both a slow and a short progress in our systems; are the only methods, by which we can ever hope to reach truth, and attain a proper stability and certainty in our determinations. ... we find in the course of nature that though the effects be many, the principles from which they arise are commonly few and simple, and that it is the sign of an unskilled naturalist to have recourse to a different quality in order to explain every different operation. (Hume, 1737)

Currently, due to its failures and excesses, Metaphysics is scorned by many philosophers as being impossible, but this need not be the case as Einstein remarks;

In order that thinking might not degenerate into "metaphysics", or into empty talk, it is only necessary that enough propositions of the conceptual system be firmly enough connected with sensory experiences and that the conceptual system, in view of its task of ordering and surveying sense experience, should show as much unity and parsimony as possible. Beyond that, however, the 'system' is (as regards logic) a free play with symbols according to (logically) arbitrarily given rules of the game. ... by his clear critique Hume did not only advance philosophy in a decisive way but also - though through no fault of his - created a danger for philosophy in that, following his critique, a fateful 'fear of metaphysics' arose which has come to be a malady of contemporary empiricist philosophising; this malady is the counterpart to that earlier philosophising in the clouds, which thought it could neglect and dispense with what was given by the senses.
However, I see no 'metaphysical' danger in taking the thing (the object in the sense of physics) as an independent concept into the system together with the proper spatio-temporal structure.
..it finally turns out that one can, after all, not get along without 'metaphysics'. (Albert Einstein, 1944)

Einstein is absolutely correct about Metaphysics, that it is meaningful only if it begins from Principles which correspond sensibly to what we observe about the behaviour of objects in this Space around us. And so like Einstein, I am;

.. anxious to draw attention to the fact that this theory is not speculative in origin; it owes its invention entirely to the desire to make physical theory fit observed fact as well as possible. We have here no revolutionary act but the natural continuation of a line that can be traced through centuries. (Albert Einstein)

The Metaphysics of Space and Motion abides by these principles of simplicity and connection to the sensible world of experience. As Aristotle so importantly argues;

that among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things. (Aristotle)

Thus to simplify and understand the truth of any scientific/philosophical work of Metaphysics, and thus of Cosmology, we must always ask three questions;
1. What do they say Exists (material substance, relation, process, etc.)
2. What are the 'Necessary Connections' between 'What Exists'.
3. How does this explain the Motion of Matter in Space, which we clearly sense about us.

The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) explains these questions very simply and sensibly;
This Space that we all Exist in and Sense around us Exists as a Wave-Medium, and Matter Exists as a Spherical Standing Wave (which determines) the size of our Finite Spherical Universe within an infinite Space. Thus the 'Necessary Connections' Exist due to Space and the change in Velocity of the Spherical (Ellipsoidal) In-Waves as they flow in through other matter - which necessarily determines where they meet at their Wave-Center, and which we see as the accelerated motion of the particle.


1.5 All Knowledge of Reality Ultimately Comes from Our Senses and Experience of the Motion of Matter in Space

It is experience only, which gives authority to human testimony; and it is the same experience, which assures us of the laws of nature.
... But though our thought seems to possess this unbounded liberty, we shall find, upon a nearer examination, that it is really confined within very narrow limits, and that all this creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience.
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 equally intelligible, and banish all that jargon, which has so long taken possession of metaphysical reasonings, and drawn disgrace upon them. (Hume, 1737)

... the senses alone are not implicitly to be depended on; we must correct their evidence by reason, and by considerations, derived from the nature of the medium, the distance of the object, and the disposition of the organ, in order to render them, within their sphere, the proper criteria of truth and falsehood. (David Hume, 1737)

Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

I absolutely agree with these two wonderful minds of human history. The Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter exists purely as a consequence of this desire to explain the things that we sense by observation and experiment of Matter in the Space around us. (As simply and sensibly as possible, while always accepting that while our senses are limited and deceptive, they are also the final arbitrator of Truth about Reality.


1.6 On 'Naive Realism' and that our Mind 'Represents' the World of our Senses

The table, which we see, seems to diminish, as we remove farther from it: but the real table, which exists independent of us, suffers no alteration: it was, therefore, nothing but its image, which was present to the mind. These are the obvious dictates of reason; and no man, who reflects, ever doubted, that the existences, which we consider, when we say, this house and that tree, are nothing but perceptions in the mind, and fleeting copies or representations of other existences, which remain uniform and independent. (Hume, 1737)

It is true that our mind somehow 'Represents' the world of our senses, this has been known since the time of early Greek and Indian Philosophy. A red apple is only red in our Minds, in reality it exists as a collection of many trillions of Wave-Centers (particles) that are trapped in particular frequencies of cyclical Motion (orbits/wave functions). These oscillating Wave-Centers also must have oscillations of their In and Out Waves which can 'resonantly couple' with the oscillations of Wave-Centers in my eye. This explains how I am able to see the apple and its particular frequencies of wave-motion, but I cannot explain how our mind 'Represents' frequencies of waves as colours. (And I would greatly appreciate any thought on this subject of 'Representation' and how our mind 'creates/constructs' colours, tastes, feelings, etc.)

It seems evident, that men are carried, by a natural instinct or prepossession, to repose faith in their senses; and that, without any reasoning, or even almost before the use of reason, we always suppose an external universe, which depends not on our perception, but would exist, though we and every sensible creature were absent or annihilated. Even the animal creation are governed by a like opinion, and preserve this belief of external objects, in all their thoughts, designs and actions. ... This very table, which we see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, independent of our perception, and to be something external to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows not being on it: our absence does not annihilate it. It preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of the situation of intelligent beings, who perceive or contemplate it. (Hume, 1737)

It is both obvious and hard to prove that, as Hume says, the real world does exist independently of our ideas (thus rejecting extreme Idealism). Evolution tells us that matter existed in Space and was evolving well before our existence (just think back several billion years) thus if Humanity (and our ideas) did not exist, Matter in this Space of the Universe would still continue to exist, just as it did prior to our evolution and existence.

A few more relevant quotes from Hume (who was a great skeptical philosopher).

It is universally allowed by modern enquirers, that all the sensible qualities of objects, such as hard, soft, hot, cold, white, black, ... are merely secondary, and exist not in the objects themselves, but are perceptions of the mind, without any external archetype or model, which they represent. If this be allowed, with regard to secondary qualities, it must also follow, with regard to the supposed primary qualities of extension and solidity; nor can the latter be any more entitled to that denomination than the former. (David Hume)

.. if it be a principle of reason, that all sensible qualities are in the mind, not in the object. Bereave matter of all its intelligible qualities, both primary and secondary, you in a manner annihilate it, and leave only a certain unknown, inexplicable something, as the cause of our perceptions .. (David Hume)

But that all his arguments, (Dr. Berkeley), though otherwise intended, are, in reality, merely sceptical, appears from this, that they admit of no answer and produce no conviction. Their only effect is to cause that momentary amazement and irresolution and confusion, which is the result of scepticism. (David Hume)

Perhaps it is fitting to end this section with a quote from Berkeley. Certainly his aims of giving certainty to knowledge were admirable (he disliked atheists, skeptics and abstraction!). However his Idealism fails (as it ultimately depends on God to connect the many human minds and their common perceptions of the world).

Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth, it may with reason be expected, that those who have spent most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of mind, a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge, and be less disturbed with doubt and difficulties than other men.
Yet so it is we see the illiterate bulk of mankind that walk the high-road of plain, common sense and are governed by the dictates of nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses, and are out of all danger of becoming sceptics.
But no sooner do we depart from sense and instinct to follow the light of a superior principle, to reason, meditate and reflect on the nature of things, but a thousand scruples spring up in our minds, concerning those things which before we seemed fully to comprehend. Prejudices and errors of sense do from all parts discover themselves to our view; and endeavouring to correct these by reason we are insensibly drawn into uncouth paradoxes, difficulties, and inconsistencies, which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation; till at length, having wandered through many intricate mazes, we find ourselves just where we were, or, which is worse, sit down in a forlorn scepticism. (George Berkeley)


Concluding Remarks

A sensible skepticism is important if we are not to be deceived. However, at times blind skepticism causes harm for new knowledge. Clearly our Metaphysical Principles are important and necessary. From the Foundations of One thing, Space, existing as a Wave-Medium, I am quite sure that we can now proceed to satisfy these skeptical requirements and demonstrate that the problem of 'what exists' and their 'necessary connexion' and causation has been solved.

I absolutely agree with Kant that this skeptical method of science is profoundly important to Humanity;

It will render an important service to reason, by substituting the certainty of scientific method for that random groping after results without the guidance of principles, which has hitherto characterized the pursuit of metaphysical studies. It will render an important service to the inquiring mind of youth, by leading the student to apply his powers to the cultivation of genuine science, instead of wasting them, as at present, on speculations which can never lead to any result, or on the idle attempt to invent new ideas and opinions. But, above all, it will confer an inestimable benefit on morality and religion, by showing that all the objections urged against them may be silenced for ever by the Socratic method, that is to say, by proving the ignorance of the objector. For, as the world has never been, and no doubt, never will be, without a system of metaphysics of one kind or another, it is the highest and weightiest concern of philosophy to render it powerless for harm, by closing up the sources of error. (Kant, 1781)


Related Pages on Sceptics / Scepticism

http://www.suppressedscience.net/skepticism.html - A good article on valid and invalid skepticism. From the site:
Many who loudly advertise themselves as skeptics are actually disbelievers. Properly, a skeptic is a nonbeliever, a person who refuses to jump to conclusions based on inconclusive evidence. A disbeliever, on the other hand, is characterized by an a priori belief that a certain idea is wrong and will not be swayed by any amount of empirical evidence to the contrary. Since disbelievers usually fancy themselves skeptics, I will follow Truzzi and call them pseudoskeptics, and their opinions pseudoskepticism.


Metaphysics: Skepticism
Quotes from Famous Skeptics / Skeptical Philosophers

Metaphysics is the attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply by fragments, but somehow as a whole. (F.H. Bradley, 1846-1924)
Metaphysics Solves
Problems of Science

All things come out of the one and the one out of all things. ... I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! The very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one you entered before. (Heraclitus, 500BC)
One and the Many
Dynamic Unity of Reality

Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... Here we have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. (Aristotle, 340BC)
Aristotle Metaphysics
Substance & Properties

No one doubts but that we imagine TIME from the very fact that we imagine other bodies to be moved slower or faster or equally fast. We are accustomed to determine duration by the aid of some measure of MOTION. (Spinoza, 1673)
Benedictus de Spinoza
Metaphysics of Motion

Absolute Space, in its own nature, without regard to any thing external, remains always similar and immovable. ... It seems probable to me that God formed matter in solid, hard, impenetrable, movable particles. (Sir Isaac Newton)
Sir Isaac Newton
Absolute Space / Particles

Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... Substance cannot be conceived without activity, activity being the essence of substance in general. (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670)
Gottfried Leibniz
Metaphysics / Monadology

When we look towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we can never discover any power or necessary connexion which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one a consequence of the other. (David Hume, 1737)
David Hume Metaphysics
Necessary Connection

Natural science contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. ... Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. (Immanuel Kant, 1781)
Immanuel Kant Metaphysics
Synthetic a priori Knowledge

Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). Thus the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as matter (particles) in Newton's theory. (Albert Einstein, 1950)
Albert Einstein
Field Theory of Matter

Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. ... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890)
Metaphysics of Skepticism
Skeptical / Skeptics Quotes

Discussion on the Metaphysics of Skepticism, Philosophy as the Study of Truth, Reality & the Certainty of Knowledge. The Good & Bad of Skepticism (Scientific Minds are Skeptical but Open).

Kata filsafat

Scorn (skôrn)

n.

1.

a. Contempt or disdain felt toward a person or object considered despicable or unworthy.

b. The expression of such an attitude in behavior or speech; derision.

2. One spoken of or treated with contempt.

v. scorned, scorn·ing, scorns

v.tr.

1. To consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy.

2. To reject or refuse with derision. See Synonyms at despise.

v.intr.

To express contempt; scoff.


[Middle English, from Old French escarn, of Germanic origin.]

Metafisika

One Substance

(Aristotle, 340BC) The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has.
That among entities there must be some
cause which moves and combines things.
There must then be a principle
of such a kind that its
substance is activity.
(Leibniz, 1670) I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. ... I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.
(Spinoza, 1673) Substance
cannot be produced from anything else.
It will therefore be its own cause, that is, its essence necessarily involves existence, or existence appertains to the nature of it.
One Substance
must exist
finitely or infinitely.
But not finitely.
For it would then be limited by some other substance of the same nature which also of necessity must exist: and then two substances would be granted having the same attribute, which is absurd. It will
exist, therefore, infinitely.
But if men would give heed to the
nature of substance they would doubt less concerning the Proposition that
existence appertains to the nature of substance:
rather they would reckon it an axiom above all others, and hold it among common opinions.
For then by substance they would understand that which is in itself, and through itself is conceived, or rather that whose knowledge does not depend on the knowledge of any other thing.

From the Metaphysics of Space and Time (Matter as Particles generating Spherical Forces in Space-Time) To the Metaphysics of Space and Motion (Matter as Spherical Waves in Space)

According to ancient Indian tradition the universe reveals itself in two fundamental properties: as Motion, and as that in which motion takes place, namely Space. This Space is called Akasa, and is that through which things step into visible appearance, i.e., through which they possess extension or corporeality. Akasa is derived from the root kas, 'to radiate, to shine', and has therefore the meaning of 'ether', which is conceived as the medium of movement. The principle of movement, however, is Prana, the breath of life, the all-powerful, all-pervading rhythm of the universe. (Lama Govinda, 1977)

(Gottfried Leibniz, 1670) It is a good thing to proceed in order and to establish propositions (principles). This is the way to gain ground and to progress with certainty. ... I hold that the mark of a genuine idea is that its possibility can be proved, either a priori by conceiving its cause or reason, or a posteriori when experience teaches us that it is a fact in nature. ...
Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. ... I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.


Introduction: Space and Motion - Uniting Aristotle Spinoza Leibniz Kant - Space Existing explains Common Experience of Space - Ancient Indian & Greek Philosophy / Dynamic Unity of Reality - Top of Page


Introduction

Matter interacts (e.g. Light and Gravity) with All other Matter in the Universe, as Smolin writes,

It can no longer be maintained that the properties of any one thing in the universe are independent of the existence or non-existence of everything else. It is, at last, no longer sensible to speak of a universe with only one thing in it. (Smolin, 1997)

Thus to understand the Structure of Matter we must understand the Structure of the Universe, and this means we must know the One thing that is common to and connects the Many things within the Universe. As Leibniz correctly and profoundly says;

Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. (Leibniz, 1670)


Introduction: Space and Motion - Uniting Aristotle Spinoza Leibniz Kant - Space Existing explains Common Experience of Space - Ancient Indian & Greek Philosophy / Dynamic Unity of Reality - Top of Page


The Metaphysics of Space and Motion
Uniting Aristotle, Leibniz, and Spinoza to Solve Kant's Critical Idealism

Sadly for Humanity, modern Metaphysics has a bad reputation due to its past errors and ultimate failure to correctly describe Reality. Thus one purpose of this introduction is to correct these past errors and return Metaphysics to its rightful place as the 'Queen of the Sciences' as Kant explains;

(Immanuel Kant, 1781) Time was, when she (Metaphysics) was the queen of all the sciences; and, if we take the will for the deed, she certainly deserves, so far as regards the high importance of her object-matter, this title of honor. Now, it is the fashion of the time to heap contempt and scorn upon her; and the matron mourns, forlorn and forsaken, .... her empire gradually broke up, and intestine wars introduced the reign of anarchy; while the sceptics, like nomadic tribes, who hate a permanent habitation and settled mode of living, attacked from time to time those who had organized themselves into civil communities. But their number was, very happily, small; and thus they could not entirely put a stop to the exertions of those who persisted in raising new edifices, although on no settled or uniform plan.

And as Aristotle, Spinoza, and Bradley explain, at the heart of Metaphysics is Substance, The ONE thing which exists and interconnects / causes all things, and thus is the necessary foundation for all human knowledge.

(Aristotle, 340BC)(Metaphysics) subject matter is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance.

(Spinoza, Ethics, 1673) But if men would give heed to the nature of substance they would doubt less concerning the Proposition that Existence appertains to the nature of substance: rather they would reckon it an axiom above all others, and hold it among common opinions. For then by substance they would understand that which is in itself, and through itself is conceived, or rather that whose knowledge does not depend on the knowledge of any other thing.

(Bradley, 1846-1924) We may agree, perhaps, to understand by Metaphysics an attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply piecemeal or by fragments, but somehow as a whole.

Most importantly, Aristotle, Spinoza, and Leibniz were correct to realise that One Substance must Exist, Infinite and Eternal, and have Properties that account for Matter's Interconnected Activity / Motion.

(Aristotle, Metaphysics, 340BC) It is the principles and causes of the things that are that we are seeking, and clearly it is their principles and causes just as things that are. And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has.
It is impossible that the primary existent, being eternal, should be destroyed.
The entire preoccupation of the physicist is with things that contain within themselves a principle of movement and rest. . that among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things. And to seek for this is to seek for the second kind of principle, as we would say, that from which comes the beginning of the change.
Unless the further factor is active, there will still be no movement. There must then be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity.

(Gottfried Leibniz, 1670) Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general. ... In conclusion, nothing should be taken as certain without foundations; it is therefore those who manufacture entities and substances without genuine unity to prove that there is more to reality than I have just said; and I am waiting for the notion of a substance, or of an entity, which successfully comprehends all these things; after which parts and perhaps even dreams will be able one day to lay claim to reality.

Now there is only One thing that is common to the many things, Space. Thus if One Substance exists it must be Space, simply because there is only One Space, whereas there are Many material things existing in Space. As the philosopher Brentano correctly realised;

The judgment, for instance, that there is a three-dimensional (spatial) world is, Brentano believed, so widely confirmed as to be infinitely more likely than any of its alternatives. (Urmson, 1991)

Kant realised this unique importance of Space as being a priori (necessary) for us to be able to experience and sense the world around us, and that Metaphysics (and thus Physics) depends upon this a priori knowledge (because it is first necessary for us to experience the world, and hence certain). Thus he is profoundly CORRECT when he writes;

(Kant, 1781) Natural science (physics) contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. . Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. We never can imagine or make a representation to ourselves of the non-existence of space. Space is a representation a priori, which necessarily supplies the basis for external appearances.
That metaphysics has hitherto remained in so vacillating a state of uncertainty and contradiction, is only to be attributed to the fact, that this great problem, and perhaps even the difference between analytical and synthetical judgments, did not sooner suggest itself to philosophers. Upon the solution of this problem, or upon sufficient proof of the impossibility of synthetical knowledge a priori, depends the existence or downfall of metaphysics.

Unfortunately for Human Knowledge Kant was profoundly INCORRECT when he assumed Time as the second a priori existent, rather than the PROPERTIES of Space as a Wave Medium for Wave Motion. i.e. Because Kant could not unite Space and Time back to One common connected thing, and as there could not be two separate things existing Infinitely, thus he assumed that both Space and Time must still somehow be limited and separate from what truly exists, thus they must both still be merely ideas / representations of the world! And the consequences of this error have caused (and continue to cause) much confusion and absurdity for Human knowledge. (Please read the following quotes from Kant carefully.)

(Kant, 1781) That space and time are only forms of sensible intuition, and hence are only conditions of the existence of things as appearances; that, moreover, we have no concepts of the understanding, and, consequently, no elements for knowing things, except in so far as a corresponding intuition can be given to these concepts; that, accordingly, we can have no knowledge of an object, as a thing in itself, but only as an object of sensible intuition, that is, as appearance - all this is proved in the Analytical part of the Critique; and from this the limitation of all possible speculative knowledge to the mere objects of experience, follows as a necessary result.
Time is not an empirical concept. For neither co-existence nor succession would be perceived by us, if the representation of time did not exist as a foundation a priori.
Time is a necessary representation, lying at the foundation of all our intuitions. With regard to appearances in general, we cannot think away time from them, and represent them to ourselves as out of and unconnected with time. Here I shall add that the concept of change, and with it the concept of motion, as change of place, is possible only through and in the representation of time. .... even that of motion, which unites in itself both elements (Space and Time), presuppose something empirical. Motion, for example, presupposes the perception of something movable. But space considered in itself contains nothing movable; consequently motion must be something which is found in space only through experience -in other words, is an empirical datum. (Kant, 1781)

His error is very important and bears repeating: But space considered in itself contains nothing movable; consequently motion ... is an empirical datum.
The correct answer is to realise that Space in itself must have PROPERTIES, thus this is a clear error of Kant's. i.e. It is simply wrong to consider Space on its own, we must always consider Space AND its Properties together!
And so we use two of the greatest Metaphysicists, Aristotle and Leibniz, to solve this fundamental and profound error of Kant. Let us then also repeat their comments;

(Aristotle, Metaphysics, 340BC) And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. ... there is some other cause of the change. And to seek for this is to seek for the second kind of principle, as we would say, that from which comes the beginning of the change.
Unless the further factor is active, there will still be no movement. There must then be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity.

(Leibniz, 1670) I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general. (Leibniz, 1670)

The solution is to realise that Space has the properties of a Wave-Medium, and thus contains Wave-Motions, that Space itself is moving / vibrating. (Kant made the common mistake of only considering Motion of Matter 'particles' and not Motion of Space itself!)
Thus we can now understand Kant's error in assuming Space and Time as a priori rather than Space and its Properties, which are a priori. i.e. Space is a Substance with the Properties of a Wave Medium and contains Spherical Wave-Motions that give rise to matter and its activity/motion. Thus Space and Motion are a priori, and Motion is the cause of both Matter and Time. (Time is merely an idea, a Human representation of the fact that all things are in Motion in Space, thus Kant was partly correct)
From this new Metaphysics of Space and Motion we find that the solutions to many other subjects of Knowledge / Science become simple, obvious, necessary and certain! This is simply due to the fundamental nature of Metaphysics as the foundation for describing Reality, and thus as the foundation for all Sciences.

For example, we can now understand how Leibniz's Monadology was largely correct, Matter and Universe are One and contain Motion / Activity. (Monas is a Greek word which signifies unity or that which is one.) Thus we now realise that Leibniz's Monad is simply a Spherical Wave Motion of Space that determines the size of our finite spherical Universe within an Infinite Space, and thus interacts with ALL other matter within our Universe.

(Leibniz, 1670)I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. I also take it as granted that every created thing, and consequently the created monad also, is subject to change, and indeed that this change is continual in each one. ... It follows from what we have just said, that the natural changes of monads come from an internal principle, since an external cause would be unable to influence their inner being. .. Now this connection or adaptation of all created things with each, and of each with all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and that consequently it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe. In a confused way they all go towards the infinite, or towards the whole; but they are limited and distinguished from one another by the degrees of their distinct perceptions. ... each created monad represents the whole universe.

Though ancient Greek philosophy also realised that all things were in perpetual flux / change (e.g. Protagoras, Heraclitus), Aristotle was the first philosopher to truly appreciate the importance of Motion, and to realise the connection between both Motion and Time, and Motion and Matter. (An obvious connection that must be explained, as matter certainly moves about in Space, and we use this Motion of Matter to determine the Time - just think of a clock.)

(Aristotle, Metaphysics, 340BC) Motion must always have been in existence, and the same can be said for time itself, since it is not even possible for there to be an earlier and a later if time does not exist. ... Movement, then, is also continuous in the way in which time is - indeed time is either identical to movement or is some affection of it.
... there being two causes of which we have defined in the Physics, they seem to have a glimpse of them, that of matter and that from which the motion comes, indistinctly though, and in no way clearly.


Introduction: Space and Motion - Uniting Aristotle Spinoza Leibniz Kant - Space Existing explains Common Experience of Space - Ancient Indian & Greek Philosophy / Dynamic Unity of Reality - Top of Page


On Space as the Most Simple Foundation for Science

'The subtlety of the concept of space was enhanced by the discovery that there exist no completely rigid bodies. All bodies are elastically deformable.' (Albert Einstein)

Science has two sources of knowledge;

i) Logic deduced from principles - theories. (a priori knowledge)
ii) Empirical knowledge from our senses - observation and experiment. (a posteriori knowledge)

The aim is for logic to be in harmony with our senses (the theory deduces what we observe). This is well accepted. Now if we consider just the empirical source of knowledge, it is universally agreed that it is founded on the observation of matter in Space, thus without this experience of Space it is impossible to have Science. As Kant writes;

Natural science (physics) contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. … Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. (Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 1781)

However it is a little more complex than just saying that therefore Space must be the One thing that exists. All we can say thus far is that we experience / imagine Space (which does not necessarily mean that Space exists, as Kant argued that Space was merely a representation of the mind!). There are in fact 5 possible explanations of our common experience of Space. Most importantly though, only the first option below (that Space exists) abides by this simplicity rule of One thing existing (dynamic unity of reality) that also satisfies the metaphysical rule that matter must be necessarily interconnected by one common thing.

Space (Physical Space Exists and Causes our Sense of Space)

This is the most simple and obvious explanation, and is the foundation of the Wave Structure of Matter, that Space exists with the properties of a Wave Medium for Spherical Standing Waves that form Matter. This is consistent with Aristotle's conception of Metaphysics.

The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. ... That among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things. ... There must then be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity." (Aristotle, Metaphysics, 340BC)

Matter (Matter Interactions Causes our Sense of 'Relative' Space)

This is the path that Leibniz explored (his Monadology) and more recently Albert Einstein's theory of relativity (strongly influenced by Leibniz and Ernst Mach). This path is understandable as it is empirically founded on the fact that we only observe motion of matter relative to other matter (not to an absolute Space). Further, it followed on from the work of Newton (particles and forces in Space and Time, action-at-a-distance); then later Faraday, Maxwell, Lorentz, (particles generating electric and magnetic fields in Space (Aether), light as em waves); and finally Einstein's attempt at a pure field theory of matter (by rejecting the 'particle' concept). As Einstein writes;

When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. (Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, 1954)

Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field thus becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as the concept of matter (particles) in the theory of Newton. ... The physical reality of space is represented by a field whose components are continuous functions of four independent variables - the co-ordinates of space and time. Since the theory of general relatively implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. (Albert Einstein, Metaphysics of Relativity, 1950)

Einstein took the path of Leibniz and described reality in terms of relative motion of matter to other matter (Many Things) rather than relative to Absolute Space (One Thing). This error causes us many problems.

(Describing motion relative to all other matter in the universe) overcomes a deficiency in the foundations of mechanics which had already been noticed by Newton and was criticised by Leibniz and, two centuries later, by Mach: inertia resists acceleration, but acceleration relative to what? Within the frame of classical mechanics the only answer is: inertia resists acceleration relative to space. This is a physical property of space - space acts on objects, but objects do not act on space. Such is probably the deeper meaning of Newton's assertion spatium est absolutum (space is absolute). But the idea disturbed some, in particular Leibniz, who did not ascribe an independent existence to space but considered it merely a property of 'things' (objects). (Albert Einstein, 1954)

As Ernst Mach insistently pointed out, the Newtonian theory is unsatisfactory in the following respect: if one considers motion from the purely descriptive, not from the causal, point of view, it only exists as relative motion of things with respect to one another.
It compelled Newton to invent a physical space in relation to which acceleration was supposed to exist. This introduction ad hoc of the concept of absolute space, while logically unexceptionable, nevertheless seems unsatisfactory. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Descartes argued somewhat on these lines: space is identical with extension, but extension is connected with bodies; thus there is no space without bodies and hence no empty space…. It appears to me, therefore, that the formation of the concept of the material object must precede our concepts of time and space. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Mach, in the nineteenth century, was the only one who thought seriously of the elimination of the concept of space, in that he sought to replace it by the notion of the totality of the instantaneous distances between all material points. (He made this attempt in order to arrive at a satisfactory understanding of inertia.) (Einstein, 1954)

Because we only observe the motion of matter relative to all the other matter in the universe, thus Einstein thought that matter, rather than Space, must be the central perspective for representing Reality. Thus Einstein's Relativity is empirically (a posteriori) founded from observing the motion of matter relative to other matter. The Metaphysics of Space and Motion is founded on the a priori fact that Space is first necessary for matter to be able to exist and move about. Einstein is empirically correct, and at the same time this was his error because Metaphysics (and thus Reality) is not founded on empirical observations. In reality there is no motion of matter, there is only the spherical wave-motion of Space, and the changing location of the wave-center gives the 'illusion' of the motion of matter 'particles'. (Thus Einstein's Relativity is founded on an illusion that matter moves, when it is Space which is moving / vibrating.)
Thus Newton was ultimately correct in his metaphysical realisation of absolute motion relative to absolute space (though Newton made the error of adding 'time', 'particles' and thus instantly acting 'forces' to connect the particles);

And so instead of absolute places and motions, we use relative ones; and that without any inconvenience in common affairs; but in Philosophical disquisitions, we ought to abstract from our senses, and consider things themselves, distinct from what are only sensible measures of them. (Newton, 1687)

Further, Lorentz's assumption of an Absolute Space is the foundation for the Lorentz transformations and thus for Einstein's Relativity.

I cannot but regard the ether, which can be the seat of an electromagnetic field with its energy and its vibrations, as endowed with a certain degree of substantiality, however different it may be from all ordinary matter. (Lorentz, The Theory of the Electron, 1906)

Einstein choose to ignore Space / Aether and work with relative motions of matter to other matter, with matter being represented by spherical fields.

The electromagnetic fields are not states of a medium, and are not bound down to any bearer, but they are independent realities which are not reducible to anything else. (Albert Einstein, Leiden Lecture, 1920)

In other words, is there an ether which carries the field; the ether being considered in the undulatory state, for example, when it carries light waves? The question has a natural answer: Because one cannot dispense with the field concept, it is preferable not to introduce in addition a carrier with hypothetical properties. (Albert Einstein, 1950)

Once we realise that the particle and the continuous electromagnetic field it generates are both merely ideas, human approximations to reality, then we solve these problems. We return to Lorentz's foundation of One thing Space, and its properties as a wave medium (vibrations) and replace the spherical particle & field with the spherical wave Motion of Space. The idea of the field theory of matter misled Einstein, and yet Einstein also realised that there must somehow be a Space that interconnects matter.

Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it. (Albert Einstein, Leiden Lecture, 1920)

However, matter is many things, not one thing, so it is not the most simple solution. And as history shows Einstein's lifetime attempt to construct a continuous field theory of matter doesn't work, as it does not explain the discrete aspects of light and matter discovered by Quantum Theory.

All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, 'What are light quanta?' Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. … I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

The great stumbling block for the field theory lies in the conception of the atomic structure of matter and energy. For the theory is fundamentally non-atomic in so far as it operates exclusively with continuous functions of space, in contrast to classical mechanics whose most important element, the material point, in itself does justice to the atomic structure of matter. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

The special and general theories of relativity, which, though based entirely on ideas connected with the field-theory, have so far been unable to avoid the independent introduction of material points, … the continuous field thus appeared side by side with the material point as the representative of physical reality. This dualism remains even today disturbing as it must be to every orderly mind. (Einstein, 1954)

Idealism (Mind Causes our Sense of Space)

Mind exists and causes our ideas of Space (e.g. Berkeley, Kant).
Again, this is not the most simple as there are many different minds (as there are people), yet we all have a common experience of Space. And there is no explanation of how minds are connected and what causes them to experience this common Space (we all see the same sun and moon existing in a common Space). The historical answer to this problem of the mind (how our minds experience the same external perceptions) is to appeal to a 'universal mind' or 'God' to cause and connect our minds. But as Hume rightly says,

To have recourse to the veracity of the supreme Being, in order to prove the veracity of our senses, is surely making a very unexpected circuit. (Hume, 1737)

Religion (God Causes our Sense of Space)

God causes all things, thus god causes us and our ideas of Space. Again, there is no explanation of how this occurs, (and to philosophers of language God is really just a word that humans invented to explain things they do not understand - it is certainly no foundation for Science).

Newton, following the example of the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, justified his introduction of "Space" as a real, infinite entity (and by implication, the existence of "hard, massy, impenetrable, movable particles") by claiming that Absolute Space is constituted by the Omnipresence of God.
Newton sought to make the action of Universal Gravitation across empty space believable by references to the power of God, but as the investigation of electricity, magnetism and chemical affinity developed in the 18th and 19th centuries attempts were made to find physical explanations for "action-at-a-distance". In the theories of Boscovich and Faraday the dualism of Atoms and the Void is replaced by an all-pervasive "field of force" in which there are many mathematical centers. (This version also informs the account of gravitation in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.) (Western Philosophy and Philosophers , 1991)

Our Minds Cannot Imagine / Understand Physical Reality

Something beyond our ability to understand / imagine and convey with language exists and causes our experience of Space (Nietzsche, Ayer, Wittgenstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Popper, Kuhn, etc). This is possible and is the current postmodern view (no absolute truth, all ideas are approximate only, ultimately just cultural constructions which are evolving in the direction of greater simplicity). However, it seems obvious that we should first explore Science carefully before consigning it to the rubbish heap of romantic illusions!

Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.
It is not surprising that our language should be incapable of describing the processes occurring within the atoms, for, as has been remarked, it was invented to describe the experiences of daily life, and these consist only of processes involving exceedingly large numbers of atoms. Furthermore, it is very difficult to modify our language so that it will be able to describe these atomic processes, for words can only describe things of which we can form mental pictures, and this ability, too, is a result of daily experience. Fortunately, mathematics is not subject to this limitation, and it has been possible to invent a mathematical scheme - the quantum theory - which seems entirely adequate for the treatment of atomic processes; for visualisation, however, we must content ourselves with two incomplete analogies - the wave picture and the corpuscular picture. (Heisenberg, On Quantum Physics, 1930)

Both matter and radiation possess a remarkable duality of character, as they sometimes exhibit the properties of waves, at other times those of particles. Now it is obvious that a thing cannot be a form of wave motion and composed of particles at the same time - the two concepts are too different.
The solution of the difficulty is that the two mental pictures which experiment lead us to form - the one of the particles, the other of the waves - are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies which are accurate only in limiting cases. (Werner Heisenberg, on Quantum Mechanics, 1930)

Conclusion

Before we give up on Science and assume that we cannot describe physical reality, it is sensible to first carefully examine the metaphysical foundations of Science and see if they are the most simple possible (Occam's razor). When we do this we find that there is an obvious and sensible solution. Space exists and matter is a wave structure of Space. Then it is just a matter of scientific method to show that this most simple foundation does correctly deduce what we observe from observation / experiment, while also explaining and solving numerous problems from the history of philosophy and metaphysics. I hope this essay will motivate you to think about this! Geoff Haselhurst


Introduction: Space and Motion - Uniting Aristotle Spinoza Leibniz Kant - Space Existing explains Common Experience of Space - Ancient Indian & Greek Philosophy / Dynamic Unity of Reality - Top of Page


The Metaphysics of Space and Motion explains the Foundations of Ancient Greek and Indian Philosophy (Dynamic Unity / All is One and Active/Flux)

Greek Philosophy originated from the correct realisation that there must be One thing that is common to, and connects, the Many things.

(Heraclitus ~ 500BC) All things come out of the One and the One out of all things. ... I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! It is the fault of your limited outlook and not the fault of the essence of things if you believe that you see firm land anywhere in the ocean of Becoming and Passing. You need names for things, just as if they had a rigid permanence, but the very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one which you entered before.

(Friedrich Nietzsche, The Greeks, 1880) Greek philosophy seems to begin with a preposterous fancy, with the proposition (of Thales) that water is the origin and mother-womb of all things. Is it really necessary to stop there and become serious? Yes, and for three reasons: firstly, because the proposition does enunciate something about the origin of things; secondly, because it does so without figure and fable; thirdly and lastly, because it contained, although only in the chrysalis state, the idea :everything is one. ... That which drove him (Thales) to this generalization was a metaphysical dogma, which had its origin in a mystic intuition and which together with the ever renewed endeavours to express it better, we find in all philosophies - the proposition: everything is one!

Likewise Indian Philosophy (which pre-dates and likely founds Greek Philosophy) realised this Oneness which they called Brahman, and also appreciated the importance of Motion (dynamic, activity).

(Fritjof Capra, 1972) In Indian philosophy, the main terms used by Hindus and Buddhists have dynamic connotations. The word Brahman is derived from the Sanskrit root brih . to grow - and thus suggests a reality which is dynamic and alive. In the words of S. Radhakrishnan,
The word Brahman means growth and is suggestive of life, motion, progress.
The Upanishads refer to Brahman as 'this uniformed, immortal, moving', thus associating it with motion even though it transcends all forms. The Rig Veda uses another term to express the dynamic character of the universe, the term Rita. This word comes from the root ri- to move; its original meaning in the Rig Veda being 'the course of all things', 'the order of nature'.
The central aim of Eastern mysticism is to experience all the phenomena in the world as manifestations of the same ultimate reality. This reality is seen as the essence of the universe, underlying and unifying the multitude of things and events we observe. The Hindus call it Brahman, The Buddhists Dharmakaya (The Body of Being) or Tathata (Suchness) and the Taoists Tao; each affirming that it transcends our intellectual concepts and defies further explanation. This ultimate essence, however, cannot be separated from its multiple manifestations. It is central to the very nature to manifest itself in myriad forms which come into being and disintegrate, transforming themselves into one another without end. In its phenomenal aspect, the cosmic One is thus intrinsically dynamic, and the apprehension of its dynamic nature is basic to all schools of Eastern mysticism.
Modern physics then, pictures matter not at all as passive and inert, but being in a continuous dancing and vibrating motion whose rhythmic patterns are determined by the molecular, atomic and nuclear structures. This is also the way in which the Eastern mystics see the material world. They all emphasise that the universe has to be grasped dynamically, as it moves, vibrates and dances; that nature is not a static but dynamic equilibrium.

Their error was to believe that One thing could never be understood with human conceptual knowledge, which requires relationships between two or more things;

The central difficulty is known as the problem of the one and the many which, in the terms in which it presented itself to Badarayana, is as follows; Brahman (the absolute) is eternal, immutable and perfect (lacking nothing): How can that which is eternal, immutable and perfect be related to what is temporal, mutable and imperfect, i.e. the everyday world of human experience, the samsara? (Badarayana)
The problem of the one and the many in metaphysics and theology is insoluble: The history of philosophy in India as well as in Europe has been one long illustration of the inability of the human mind to solve the mystery of the relation of God to the world. We have the universe of individuals which is not self-sufficient and in some sense rests on Brahman, but the exact nature of the relation between them is a mystery. (Radhakrishnan)

The next serious philosophical issue involved in Advaitism (Non-dualism) arises in the area of epistemology or the theory of knowledge. All ordinary human experience is conceptual in nature, i.e. is organized under the categories in which we ordinarily think. However, Brahman is said to be predicateless, or, in other words, such that in principle no concepts apply to it: concepts presuppose division, and Brahman is a unity. How, then, is any form of awareness of Brahman possible for human beings?
(Collinson, Fifty Eastern Thinkers, 2000)

But once we know the truth, which comes from true knowledge of Reality, then the solution to this problem becomes simple and obvious (which explains why philosophy is known as the discovery of the obvious!). One thing, Space, exists Infinite and Eternal, the second thing, Motion, as the Wave Motion of Space, is the property of Space, and is necessarily connected to Space as it is Space which is Moving. And once we have this connection between the One thing Space, and the many things, i.e. Matter as the Spherical Wave Motion of Space, then we can in fact form concepts and logic (which require two necessarily connected things, i.e. Matter as the spherical wave Motion of Space.)

Lama Govinda had an exceptional understanding of Indian Philosophy and he was very close to the truth, and thus the solution to this profound problem of the One and the Many, when he wrote;

(Lama Govinda, 1977) The fundamental element of the cosmos is Space. Space is the all-embracing principle of higher unity. Nothing can exist without Space. Space is the precondition of all that exists, be it material or immaterial form, because we can neither imagine an object nor a being without space. According to ancient Indian tradition the universe reveals itself in two fundamental properties: as Motion, and as that in which motion takes place, namely Space. This Space is called akasa, and is that through which things step into visible appearance, i.e., through which they possess extension or corporeality.
Akasa is derived from the root kas, 'to radiate, to shine', and has therefore the meaning of 'ether', which is conceived as the medium of movement. The principle of movement, however, is prana, the breath of life, the all-powerful, all-pervading rhythm of the universe.

In fact, as we briefly explained at the beginning of this article, the Metaphysics of Space and Motion not only unites and solves the Problem of the One and the Many, but also the Infinite and the Finite, Eternal and the Temporal, Absolute and Relative, Continuous and Discrete, Simple and Complex, Matter and Universe. See:
Metaphysics: Problem of One and the Many - Brief History of Metaphysics and Solutions to the Fundamental Problems of Uniting the; One and the Many, Infinite and the Finite, Eternal and the Temporal, Absolute and Relative, Continuous and Discrete, Simple and Complex, Matter and Universe.

Once we understand these Metaphysical problems by describing how One Substance, Space, Exists and has Properties of a Wave-Medium, this then explains the Necessary Connection between What Exists (matter as spherical waves in Space) and gives rise to our logic (from One Principle), which is necessary and thus certain. Thus we can now apply this logic from the Metaphysics of Space and Motion to explain and solve many of the problems of Human knowledge (such is the profound nature of knowing Reality, the source of Truth and Wisdom).

Further Quotes on Metaphysics, Space, and the Dynamic Unity of Reality

Many philosophers and metaphysicists have written on the Dynamic Unity of Reality, confirming its central place in both Philosophy and Metaphysics (both requiring knowledge of necessary connections, from one thing, to know the cause / truth of things). Below are a number of important quotes on this Unity and Activity of Reality and its relationship to Space (which is one thing that we all commonly experience).

Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. ... I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general. (Gottfried Leibniz, Philosophical Writings, 1670)

We may agree, perhaps, to understand by Metaphysics an attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply piecemeal or by fragments, but somehow as a whole. (Francis Herbert Bradley, Appearance and Reality, 1893)

The judgement, for instance, that there is a three-dimensional (spatial) world is, Brentano believed, so widely confirmed as to be infinitely more likely than any of its alternatives. (One Hundred Twentieth-Century Philosophers, Brown et al, 1998)

I cannot conceive curved lines of force without the conditions of a physical existence in that intermediate space. (Michael Faraday, 1830)

In speaking of the Energy of the field, however, I wish to be understood literally. All energy is the same as mechanical energy, whether it exists in the form of motion or in that of elasticity, or in any other form. The energy in electromagnetic phenomena is mechanical energy. (James Clerk Maxwell, The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell [1890], vol. 1, p. 564)

I cannot but regard the ether, which can be the seat of an electromagnetic field with its energy and its vibrations, as endowed with a certain degree of substantiality, however different it may be from all ordinary matter. (Hendrik Lorentz, Theory of the Electron, 1900)

According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of matter, as consisting of parts ('particles') which may be tracked through time. (Albert Einstein, 1928, Leiden Lecture)

Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field thus becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as the concept of matter (particles) in the theory of Newton. ... The physical reality of space is represented by a field whose components are continuous functions of four independent variables - the co-ordinates of space and time. Since the theory of general relatively implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. (Albert Einstein, Relativity, 1950)

When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. (Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, 1954)

What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances). ... The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist. ... Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum mechanics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody. ... I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it. (Erwin Schrödinger, Life and Thought, Cambridge U. Press, 1989).

In Indian philosophy, the main terms used by Hindus and Buddhists have dynamic connotations. The word Brahman is derived from the Sanskrit root brih - to grow- and thus suggests a reality which is dynamic and alive. The Upanishads refer to Brahman as 'this unformed, immortal, moving', thus associating it with motion even though it transcends all forms.' The Rig Veda uses another term to express the dynamic character of the universe, the term Rita. This word comes from the root ri- to move. In its phenomenal aspect, the cosmic One is thus intrinsically dynamic, and the apprehension of its dynamic nature is basic to all schools of Eastern mysticism. They all emphasize that the universe has to be grasped dynamically, as it moves, vibrates and dances. ... The Eastern mystics see the universe as an inseparable web, whose interconnections are dynamic and not static. The cosmic web is alive; it moves and grows and changes continually. (Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 1972.)

The notion that all these fragments is separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)

History of skepticism

Ancient Western Skepticism

The Western tradition of systematic skepticism goes back at least as far as Pyrrho of Elis. He was troubled by the disputes that could be found within all philosophical schools of his day, including his own philosophy of Stoicism. According to a later account of his life, he became overwhelmed by his inability to determine rationally which school was correct. Upon admitting this to himself, he finally achieved the inner peace that he had been seeking.

From a Stoic point of view, Pyrrho found peace by admitting to ignorance and seeming to abandon the criterion by which knowledge is gained, logical reason. Pyrrho's ignorance was not the ignorance of children or farm animals: it was a knowledgeable ignorance, arrived at through the application of logical reasoning and exposition of its inadequacy. The school of thought developed primarily in opposition to what was seen as the dogmatism, or ultimately unfounded assertion, of the Stoics. Pyrrhonists made distinctions between "being" and "appearing" and between the identity and the sensing of a phenomenon.

Pyrrho and his school were not actually "skeptics" in the later sense of the word. They had the goal of αταραξια (ataraxia - peace of mind), and pitted one dogmatic philosophy against the next to undermine belief in the whole philosophic enterprise. The idea was to produce in the student a state of aversion towards what the Pyrrhonists considered arbitrary and inconsequential babble. Since no one can observe or otherwise experience causation, external world (its "externality"), ultimate purpose of the universe or life, justice, divinity, soul, etc., they declared no need to believe in such things. The Pyrrhonists pointed out that, despite claims that such notions were necessary, some people "ignorant" of them get by just fine before learning about them. They further noted that science does not require belief and that faith in intelligible realities is different from pragmatic convention for the sake of experiment. For each intuitive notion (e.g. the existence of an external world), the Pyrrhonists cited a contrary opinion to negate it. They added that consensus indicates neither truth nor even probability. For example, the earth is round, and it would remain so even if everyone believed it were flat.

The goal of this critique, which Pyrrho's followers realized would ultimately subvert even their own method, was to cultivate a distrust of all grand talk. They expected philosophy to collapse into itself. How far in this direction the Pyrrhonean commitment extended is a matter of debate. The Pyrrhonists confessed a belief in appearances, e.g. in hot and cold, grief and joy. It is impossible to deny, they admitted, that one seems to be in pain or seems to touch a piece of wood. Their world, thus, was completely phenomenological. An accomplished Pyrrhonist could, ideally, live as well as a dogmatist but with the added benefit of not worrying about truth and falsity, right and wrong, God's will, and so forth.

Later thinkers took up Pyrrho's approach and extended it into modern skepticism. In the process, a split appeared within the movement, never too large or well-liked among the literati to begin with. In the New Academy, Arcesilaus (c. 315-241 B.C.) and Carneades (c. 213-129 B.C.) argued from Stoic premises that the Stoics were actually committed to denying the possibility of knowledge, but maintained nothing themselves. Clitomachus, a student of Carneades, interpreted his teacher's philosophy as suggesting an early probabilistic account of knowledge.

In the centuries to come, the words Academician and Pyrrhonist would often be used to mean generally skeptic, ignoring distinction between denial of knowledge and avoidance of belief.[citation needed]

Sextus Empiricus

Sextus Empiricus (c. A.D. 200), the main authority for Pyrrhonian skepticism, worked outside the Academy, which by his time had ceased to be a skeptical school, and argued in a different direction, incorporating aspects of empiricism into the basis for evaluating knowledge, but without the insistence on experience as the absolute standard of it. Sextus' empiricism was limited to the "absolute minimum" already mentioned — that there seem to be appearances. He developed this basic thought of Pyrrho's into lengthy arguments, most of them directed against Stoics and Epicureans, but also the Academic skeptics. The common anti-skeptical argument is that if one knows nothing, one cannot know that one knows nothing, and so may know something after all. It is worth noting that such argument only succeeds against the complete denial of the possibility of knowledge. Considering dogmatic the claims both to know and not to know, Sextus and his followers claimed neither. Instead, despite the apparent conflict with the goal of ataraxia, they claimed to continue searching for something that might be knowable.

Empiricus noted that there are at least ten modes of skepticism. These modes may be broken down into three categories: we may be skeptical of the subjective perceiver, of the objective world, and the relation between perceiver and the world.[1]

Subjectively, both the powers of the senses and of reasoning may vary across persons. And since knowledge is a product of one and/or the other, and since neither are reliable, knowledge would seem to be in trouble. For instance, a color-blind person sees the world quite differently from everyone else. Moreover, we cannot even give preference on the basis of the power of reason, i.e., by treating the rational animal as a carrier of greater knowledge than the irrational animal. For the irrational animal is still adept at navigating their environment, which presupposes the ability to know about some aspects of the environment.

Secondly, the personality of the individual might also have an impact on what they observe, since (it is argued) preferences are based on sense-impressions, differences in preferences can be attributed to differences in the way that people are affected by the object. (Empiricus:56)

Third, the perceptions of each individual sense seemingly have nothing in common with the other senses: i.e., the color "red" has little to do with the feeling of touching a red object. This is manifest when our senses "disagree" with each other: for example, a mirage presents certain visible features, but is not responsive to any other kind of sense. In that case, our other senses defeat the impressions of sight. But we may also be lacking enough powers of sense to understand the world in its entirety: if we had an extra sense, then we might know of things in a way that the present five senses are unable to advise us of. Given that our senses can be shown to be unreliable by appealing to other senses, and so our senses may be incomplete (relative to some more perfect sense that we lack), then it follows that all of our senses may be unreliable. (Empiricus:58)

Fourth, our circumstances when we do any perceiving may be either natural or unnatural, i.e., we may be either in a state of wakefulness or that of sleep. But it is entirely possible that things in the world really are exactly as they appear to be to those in unnatural states (i.e., if everything were an elaborate dream). (Empiricus:59)

We have reasons for doubt that are based on the relationship between objective "facts" and subjective experience. The positions, distances, and places of objects would seem to affect how they are perceived by the person: for instance, the portico may appear tapered when viewed from one end, but symmetrical when viewed at the other; and these features are different. Because they are different features, to believe the object has both properties at the same time is to believe it has two contradictory properties. Since this is absurd, we must suspend judgment about what properties it possesses. (Empiricus:63)

We may also observe that the things we perceive are, in a sense, polluted by experience. Any given perception -- say, of a chair -- will always be perceived within some context or other (i.e., next to a table, on a mat, etc.) Since this is the case, we can only speak of ideas as they occur in the context of the other things that are paired with it. We can never know of the true nature of the thing, but only how it appears to us in context. (Empiricus: 64)

Along the same lines, the skeptic may insist that all things are relative, by arguing that:

  1. Absolute appearances either differ from relative appearances, or they do not.
  2. If absolutes do not differ from relatives, then they are themselves relative.
  3. But if absolutes do differ from relatives, then they are relative, because all things that differ must differ from something; and to "differ" from something is to be relative to something. (Empiricus:67)

Finally, we have reason to disbelieve that we know anything by looking at problems in understanding the objects themselves. Things, when taken individually, may appear to be very different than when they are in mass quantities: for instance, the shavings of a goat's horn are white when taken alone, yet the horn intact is black.

Ancient Eastern Skepticism

Buddhist skepticism differs substantially from western philosophical skepticism in several ways:

  • Buddha is said to have touched the earth at the time of his enlightenment so that it could witness his enlightenment. In this way, Buddhism does not claim that knowledge is unattainable.
  • Buddhism places less emphasis on truth and knowledge than western philosophical skepticism. Instead, it emphasizes the goal of Bodhi, which, although often translated as enlightenment, does not imply truth or knowledge.
  • At least in its manifestation of Nagarjuna's texts that form the core of Madhyamaka, the anti-essentialist aspect of Buddhism makes it an anti-philosophy. From that stance, truth exists solely within the contexts that assert them.

Schools of philosophical skepticism

Philosophical skepticism begins with the claim that the skeptic currently does not have knowledge. Some adherents maintain that knowledge is, in theory, possible. It could be argued that Socrates held that view. He appears to have thought that if people continue to ask questions they might eventually come to have knowledge; but that they did not have it yet. Some skeptics have gone further and claimed that true knowledge is impossible, for example the Academic school in Ancient Greece after the time of Carneades. A third skeptical approach would be to neither accept nor reject the possibility of knowledge.

Skepticism can be either about everything or about particular areas. A "global" skeptic argues that he does not absolutely know anything to be either true or false. Academic global skepticism has great difficulty in supporting this claim while maintaining philosophical rigor, since it seems to require that they insist that nothing can be known — except for the knowledge that nothing can be known. They have not yet demonstrated how it is they actually know that nothing can be known.

Some global skeptics avoid this problem by maintaining that they merely are "reasonably certain" (or "believe") that skepticism is true, while never asserting that skepticism itself is "known" to be true with absolute certainty. For such skeptics, while an argument may be advanced in support of skepticism, the argument does not conclude or imply that it (the argument itself) is indubitable. A self-referential version (holding that skepticism is subject to skepticism) is consistent with its own tenets, however concedes that skepticism can never be "proven".

A Pyrrhonian global skeptic labors under no such constraint, since he only claims that he, personally, does not know anything and makes no statement about the possibility of knowledge.

Local skeptics deny that people do or can have knowledge of a particular area. They may be skeptical about the possibility of one form of knowledge without doubting other forms. Different kinds of local skepticism may emerge, depending on the area. A person may doubt the truth value of different types of journalism, for example, depending on the types of media they trust.

Epistemology and skepticism

Skepticism, as an epistomological argument, poses the question of whether knowledge, in the first place, is possible. Skeptics argue that the belief in something does not necessarily justify an assertion of knowledge of it. In this skeptics oppose foundationalism, which states that there have to be some basic beliefs that are self-justified or beyond justification, without reference to others. The skeptical response to this can take several approaches. First, claiming that "basic beliefs" must exist amounts to the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance combined with the slippery slope[citation needed]. While a foundationalist would use Munchhausen-Trilemma as a justification for demanding the validity of basic beliefs, a skeptic would see no problem with admitting the result (although the result is only that there are no certain beliefs).

This skeptical approach is rarely taken to its pyrrhonean extreme by most practitioners. Several modifications have arisen over the years, including the following[1]:

Fictionalism would not claim to have knowledge but will adhere to conclusions on some criterion such as utility, aesthetics, or other personal criteria without claiming that any conclusion is actually "true".

Philosophical fideism (as opposed to religious Fideism) would assert the truth of some proposition, but does so without asserting certainty.

Some forms of pragmatism would accept utility as a provisional guide to truth but not necessarily a universal decision-maker.

Motivations for external world skepticism

David Hume offers one argument as to why anyone would want to question the reliability of perception. Hume argued that people can only know about the external world through perceptions of it, and the accuracy of these perceptions cannot be proven.[citation needed]

In addition to Hume's argument for external world skepticism, there is another more famous argument. This is Descartes' famous dreaming doubt: Descartes was writing one evening in his room, and he thought to himself (paraphrasing very loosely): What if I am asleep in bed right now, and only dreaming that I am awake, and writing? Isn't that at least possible? Then he said, well surely, I can tell when I am awake and when I am asleep. I can tell the difference between wakefulness and a dream. All sorts of strange things happen in dreams; I pass unaccountably from scene to scene when I'm dreaming; I don't have any long memory of what happened in a day, when I'm dreaming; and so forth. Then Descartes said: Haven't I had those very thoughts in some of my dreams? Sometimes, when I was dreaming, I was convinced that I was awake! I even tried to test that I was awake, when I was dreaming, and the tests convinced me that I was awake! But I was wrong; I was dreaming. Isn't it quite possible that the same thing is happening to me right now? Isn't it possible that I am dreaming that I can test whether I'm awake or asleep -- and of course, in my dream, I pass the test? So it seems really vivid to me right now that I'm awake -- but in fact, I'm asleep?

Well, Descartes said to himself, I guess there aren't any definite signs, or tests, that I could use to tell whether I'm asleep or dreaming. I could, after all, be dreaming those very tests. I have experience of doing that, thinking that I passed the test for being awake, when really I was only dreaming. So there isn't any way to tell that I am awake now. I cannot possibly prove that I am awake. So, Descartes said to himself, I don't really know that I am awake now and writing in the evening. For all I really know, I could be asleep.

Now we can go on and examine this argument in more detail. For one thing, why does Descartes think that he doesn't know he's awake and writing? Well, he might be asleep. But what difference does that make? The difference that it makes is that his faculty of sense-perception would not be reliable if he were asleep. In other words, if he were asleep, it would seem to him that he is seeing, feeling, and hearing various things; but he wouldn't really be. In that case, of course, his faculty of perception wouldn't be reliable. But Descartes appears to go further than that: he appears to be saying that since he might be dreaming, since he can't rule out the hypothesis that he is dreaming right now, that also means that his faculty of perception is not reliable.

To many people, Descartes' position may seem absurd. Most people simply feel that of course they can tell that they're not dreaming. Here, though, Descartes' could reply that maybe you can, but maybe you're just dreaming that you can tell the difference. If you say you can tell the difference between being awake and being asleep, then you are assuming that you're awake, in which case you're begging the question against the skeptic.

Another common sense sort of response to Descartes' argument is that one can tell that one's sense-perception is reliable, and here's how: When one sees something, like that cow chewing on daisies, one can go over to the cow, touch it, hear it, lean on it, and so forth. That confirms that one really is seeing the cow. In the same way, when one hears something, like a marching band outside, one can step outside, and look at the marching band, talk to the members of the band, and so forth. That confirms that one heard the band outside. Throughout a person's life they've had so many experiences like this that they are practically certain that, in the more obvious cases anyway, their faculty of perception works -- it's generally reliable.

Descartes' skeptic will reply to this in much the same way as the previous objection: You might just be dreaming that you are touching, hearing, and leaning on the cow. That marching band might just be part of a dream. For that matter you might only be dreaming that your faculty of perception has been generally reliable. If you argue you're not dreaming as your faculty of perception is reliable, then you are once again begging the question. First, you must establish that you're not dreaming, and that's impossible. Thus, you can't know that your faculty of perception is reliable.

Additionally, a sharper skeptic might make another remark about seeing the cow and hearing the marching band. Because, after all, weren't you using sense-perception in order to try to argue that your faculty of perception is generally reliable? Think about that: in order to show that your sense of sight works, you use your sense of sight and other senses; in order to show that your sense of hearing works, you use your sense of hearing and other senses. And it's not like you can avoid that. It would be really bizarre (though some philosophers have actually tried it) to try to argue that your senses are reliable, without making use of your senses. But if you make use of your senses, you are begging the question again. You have to assume, or presuppose, that your senses are generally shipshape before you start using them to prove anything, including whether your senses are generally shipshape.

How can you prove that perception is reliable without using your senses? That seems impossible. But how can you use senses without assuming that perception is reliable? If you do that then you're arguing in a circle, you're begging the question. So what's the upshot? That you can't prove that perception is reliable. If you try, you beg the question, and question-begging is a logical fallacy.

Notice that this is actually a third skeptical argument, distinct from Hume's and Descartes', although it is related to both. Hume said you can't prove that your sense-data represent the external world; Descartes said that you can't even prove that you're not dreaming; and this third argument says that you can't prove that perception is reliable without assuming that your senses are reliable and thereby begging the question at issue.

Objections to philosophical skepticism

Absolute Certainty

First of all, in all three arguments -- Hume's, Descartes', and the circularity argument -- the claim is made that we can't prove something or other. We can't prove that sense-data represent an external reality. We can't prove that we're not dreaming. We can't prove that perception, or memory, is reliable. But now ask yourself: just because you can't prove something, does that mean that you don't know it? Or that you aren't justified in believing it? Take Descartes' dreaming doubt as an example. Suppose you're convinced that you can't prove that you're not dreaming, not without begging the question. And you're even willing to admit that mere very slight possibility that you are dreaming right now. However, a non-skepticist might reply, who cares? So what if I can't prove, to Descartes' skeptic, that I'm not dreaming? Who cares if there is a very, very slight possibility that I'm dreaming right now? Does that really matter to my knowledge-claims?

Descartes himself thought it definitely did matter. Descartes wanted absolutely certain knowledge -- knowledge beyond any doubt. And so he thought that if you can raise the smallest doubt about something, then you don't really know it. For example, the dreaming doubt raises the very small possibility that you are not actually reading this article right now; you might be dreaming; and so Descartes would say (at that point -- later he thought he refuted this skepticism) that you don't know you're reading this right now.

So this forces us to ask ourselves: Do we have to have absolute certainty, lacking any doubt whatsoever, in order to have knowledge? That would be the absolutely strongest grade of justification possible. And then we would be saying that knowledge is not just sufficiently justified true belief, but certainly true belief.

Many philosophers don't think that such a strong degree of justification is necessary for knowledge. After all, they claim, we can know what the weather is going to be like, just by reading the morning forecast. Sometimes we're wrong; but if we're right then we have knowledge. So they are not particularly worried if they can't prove that they're not dreaming. They think it's extremely unlikely that they're dreaming, and they think they're perfectly well justified in thinking they're awake. And they don't have to know with absolute certainty that they're awake, of course, to be well-justified in believing they're awake. Note too that Descartes himself rejected his skeptical doubts in the end.

Here's a second thing you might observe about skepticism: if the skeptic makes absolute certainty a requirement for knowledge, then you could reply that this observation should be applied to skepticism itself. Is skepticism itself entirely beyond doubt? Isn't it possible to raise various kinds of objection to skepticism? So it would appear; but then no one can know that skepticism is true. So then the skeptic can't know that skepticism is true. But this is actually a bit of a weak reply, because it doesn't really refute skepticism. The skeptic, after all, may be perfectly happy to admit that no one knows that skepticism is true. The skeptic might rest content saying that skepticism is very probably true. That's not the kind of claim that most non-skeptics will be happy to allow.

However, any claim about the likelihood of a belief is open to sceptical questioning itself. The claim that a theory is likely to be true if it has good predictive success assumes that the reality that is behind our perceptions is itself predictable. The claim that the degree of coherency of the theory affects its likelihood of being true assumes that reality is itself coherent. So any attempt to deny the relevance of scepticism on the basis that it is unlikely cannot avoid begging the question in this respect too, beacause their account of what makes something likely can, at most, be likely to be true!

Process reliabilism

A third objection, which especially applies to the circularity argument, comes from the common-sense Scotsman, Thomas Reid. Reid argued as follows. Suppose the skeptic is right, and perception is not reliable. But perception is just another one of my cognitive processes; and if it is not reliable then my others are also bound not to be reliable. All of my faculties came out of the same shop, he said; so if one is faulty the others are bound to be as well. But that means that the faculty of reasoning, which the skeptic uses, is also bound to be unreliable too. In other words, when we reason, we are bound to make errors, and so we can never trust the arguments we give for any claim. But then that applies to the skeptic's argument for skepticism! So if the skeptic is right, we should not pay attention to skepticism, since the skeptic arrives at the skeptical conclusion by reasoning. And if the skeptic is wrong, then of course we need not pay attention to skepticism. In either case, we need not take skepticism about the reliability of our faculties seriously.

The form of Reid's argument is a dilemma, like this: if P, then Q; if not-P, then Q; either P or not-P; therefore, in either case, Q. Either the skeptic is right, in which case we can't trust our ability to reason and so can't trust the skeptic's conclusion; or the skeptic is wrong, in which case again we can't trust the skeptic's conclusion. In either case we don't have to worry about skepticism! (In fact conclusion is of course not quite true. The dilemma demonstrates that the skeptic's conclusions do not follow from his argument. It does not prove that the conclusions are not true anyway. But it is not unreasonable to reject a conclusion if the only known argument for it has been dismissed.)

But Reid’s argument assumes that reasoning is a ‘faculty’ and that the skeptic uses it necessarily. So, where are the reasons of these assumptions? Can they not be refuted? The argument has dogmatic premises and they may be wrong.

References

  1. ^ On the ten modes, see Sextus Empiricus. Outlines of Scepticism I.35-164.

See also

External links

Kata filsafat

sub·vert

tr.v. sub·vert·ed, sub·vert·ing, sub·verts

1. To destroy completely; ruin: "schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community" Alexander Hamilton.

2. To undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of; corrupt.

3. To overthrow completely: "Economic assistance ... must subvert the existing ... feudal or tribal order" Henry A. Kissinger. See Synonyms at overthrow.


[Middle English subverten, from Old French subvertir, from Latin subvertere : sub-, sub- + vertere, to turn; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.]

Empiricims

In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas.

In the philosophy of science, empiricism is a theory of knowledge which emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to experience, especially as formed through deliberate experimental arrangements. It is a fundamental requirement of scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature.

The term "empiricism" has a dual etymology. It comes from the Greek word εμπειρισμός, the Latin translation of which is experientia, from which we derive the word experience. It also derives from a more specific classical Greek and Roman usage of empiric, referring to a physician whose skill derives from practical experience as opposed to instruction in theory.[1]

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Philosophical usage

John Locke, founder of British empiricism

John Locke, founder of British empiricism

The term "empirical" was originally used to refer to certain ancient Greek practitioners of medicine who rejected adherence to the dogmatic doctrines of the day, preferring instead to rely on the observation of phenomena as perceived in experience.[1] The doctrine of empiricism was first explicitly formulated by John Locke in the 17th century. Locke argued that the mind is a tabula rasa ("clean slate" or "blank tablet"; Locke used the words "white paper") on which experiences leave their marks. Such empiricism denies that humans have innate ideas or that anything is knowable without reference to experience.

It is worth remembering that empiricism does not hold that we have empirical knowledge automatically. Rather, according to the empiricist view, for any knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced, it is to be gained ultimately from one's sense-based experience.[2] As a historical matter, philosophical empiricism is commonly contrasted with the philosophical school of thought known as "rationalism" which, in very broad terms, asserts that much knowledge is attributable to reason independently of the senses. However, this contrast is today considered to be an extreme oversimplification of the issues involved, because the main continental rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz) were also advocates of the empirical "scientific method" of their day. Furthermore, Locke, for his part, held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone.

Some important philosophers commonly associated with empiricism include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

[edit] Scientific usage

Main articles: Empirical method and Empirical research

A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence that is observable by the senses. It is differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically". Empirical is used in conjunction with both the natural and social sciences, and refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment. In this sense of the word, scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations.

In a second sense "empirical" in science may be synonymous with "experimental". In this sense, an empirical result is an experimental observation. The term semi-empirical is sometimes used to describe theoretical methods which make use of basic axioms, established scientific laws, and previous experimental results in order to engage in reasoned model building and theoretical inquiry.

[edit] History

[edit] Early forms of empiricism

Early forms of empiricism include the epistemological works of Buddha,[3] Aristotle, Alhazen,[4] Avicenna,[5] Averroes,[6] Thomas Aquinas, and Roger Bacon, among others.

The first empiricists in Western philosophy were probably the Sophists (c. 5th Century BC), who rejected the rationalistic speculations about the nature of the world common among their predecessors, in favor of focusing "on such relatively concrete entities as man and society".[7][8] The Sophists invoked skeptical semantic arguments, using examples that could be readily seen and observed by others, to undermine the claims of pure reason.

Aristotle stressed the importance of induction based on experience.

Aristotle stressed the importance of induction based on experience.

About a century later, reacting against the deeply rationalistic and highly speculative approach of Plato (427–347 BC), Aristotle (384–322 BC) in his later years placed an increasingly strong emphasis on what is received by the senses, that is, on a posteriori observations.[9] Aristotle applied the term natural philosophy to the task of making sense of the natural world, using what would much later become known as inductive reasoning to arrive at categories and principles based upon sense data. This was in sharp opposition to Plato's theory of forms, which was very heavily dependent on a priori assumptions (ibid). In his "middle" and "late" periods, Aristotle became increasingly dissatisfied with Plato's views, and developed an increasingly strict expectation for more explicit empirical confirmations for all inductions.[10] Aristotle also stated the core empiricist tenet that human knowledge of reality is grounded in sense experience.[11]

A generation after Aristotle, both the Stoics and the Epicureans formulated more explicitly empiricist explanations of the formation of ideas and concepts. The Stoics, anticipating Locke by some two-thousand years, claimed that the human mind is a clean slate which came to be filled up with ideas by way of the perceptions of the senses. However they also maintained that there were certain "common notions" which are present in the minds of all persons a-priori. The Epicureans held an even more strongly empirical a posteriori view. For them, mental concepts are memory images or copies of previous sense experience, and sensations are invariably good evidence of their causes. They worked out a complex account of how objects produce sense impressions and explained error by positing the disruption of causal "effluences" in transit.[12] These ideas were carried on by the skeptics, in particular Sextus Empiricus, the first moderate skeptic. He is where the foundation for probability came from.

Among the medieval Scholastics, Thomas Aquinas derived from Aristotle the famous peripatetic axiom: "Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses".[13][14] Aquinas argued that the existence of God could be proved by reasoning from sense data.[14] He used a variation on the Aristotelian notion of the "active intellect" which he interpreted as the ability to abstract universal meanings from particular empirical data.[15]

[edit] British empiricism

Earlier concepts of the existence of "innate ideas" were the subject of debate between the Continental rationalists and the British empiricists in the 17th Century through the late 18th Century. John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume were the primary exponents of empiricism.

Responding to the continental "rationalism" most prominently defended by René Descartes (a type of philosophical approach which should not be confused with rationalism generally), John Locke (1632-1704), writing in the late 17th century, in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), proposed a new and ultimately very influential view wherein the only knowledge humans can have is a posteriori, i.e., based upon experience. Locke is famously attributed with holding the proposition that the human mind is a tabula rasa, a "blank tablet," in Locke's words "white paper," on which is written the experiences derived from sense impressions as a person's life proceeds. There are two sources of our ideas: sensation and reflection. In both cases, a distinction is made between simple and complex ideas. The former are unanalysable, and are broken down into primary and secondary qualities. Complex ideas are those which combine simple ones and are divided into substances, modes and relations. According to Locke, our knowledge of things is a perception of ideas that are in accordance or discordance with each other, which is very different from the quest for certainty of Descartes.

Bishop George Berkeley

Bishop George Berkeley

A generation later, the Irish Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) determined that Locke's view immediately opened a door that would lead to eventual atheism. In response to Locke, he put forth in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) a different, very extreme form of empiricism in which things only exist either as a result of their being perceived, or by virtue of the fact that they are an entity doing the perceiving. (For Berkeley, God fills in for humans by doing the perceiving whenever humans are not around to do it). In his text Alciphron, Berkeley maintained that any order humans may see in nature is the language or handwriting of God.[16] Berkeley's approach to empiricism would later come to be called subjective idealism.[17][18]

The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) added to the empiricist viewpoint an extreme skepticism that he brought to bear against the accumulated arguments and counterarguments of Descartes, Locke and Berkeley, among others. Hume argued in keeping with the empiricist view that all knowledge derives from sense experience. In particular, he divided all of human knowledge into two categories: relations of ideas and matters of fact. Mathematical and logical propositions (e.g. "that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the square of the two sides") are examples of the first, while propositions involving some contingent observation of the world (e.g. "the sun rises in the East") are examples of the second. All of people's "ideas", in turn, are derived from their "impressions". For Hume, an "impression" corresponds roughly with what we call a sensation. To remember or to imagine such impressions is to have an "idea". Ideas are therefore the faint copies of sensations.[19]

David Hume's empiricism led to numerous philosophical schools

David Hume's empiricism led to numerous philosophical schools

Via his skeptical arguments (which became famous for the tenacity of their logic) he maintained that all knowledge, even the most basic beliefs about the natural world, cannot be conclusively established by reason. Rather, he maintained, our beliefs are more a result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences. Among his many arguments Hume also added another important slant to the debate about scientific method — that of the problem of induction. Hume argued that it requires inductive reasoning to arrive at the premises for the principle of inductive reasoning, and therefore the justification for inductive reasoning is a circular argument.[19] Among Hume's conclusions regarding the problem of induction is that there is no certainty that the future will resemble the past. Thus, as a simple instance posed by Hume, we cannot know with certainty by inductive reasoning that the sun will continue to rise in the East, but instead come to expect it to do so because it has repeatedly done so in the past.[19]

Hume concluded that such things as belief in an external world and belief in the existence of the self were not rationally justifiable. According to Hume these beliefs were to be accepted nonetheless because of their profound basis in instinct and custom. Hume's lasting legacy, however, was the doubt that his skeptical arguments cast on the legitimacy of inductive reasoning, allowing many skeptics who followed to cast similar doubt.

[edit] Phenomenalism

Main article: Phenomenalism

Most of Hume's followers have disagreed with his conclusion that belief in an external world is rationally unjustifiable, contending that Hume's own principles implicitly contained the rational justification for such a belief, that is, beyond being content to let the issue rest on human instinct, custom and habit.[20] According to an extreme empiricist theory known as Phenomenalism, anticipated by the arguments of both Hume and George Berkeley, a physical object is a kind of construction out of our experiences.[21] Phenomenalism is the view that physical objects, properties, events (whatever is physical) are reducible to mental objects, properties, events. Ultimately, only mental objects, properties, events, exist — hence the closely related term subjective idealism. By the phenomenalistic line of thinking, to have a visual experience of a real physical thing is to have an experience which belongs to a certain kind of group of experiences. This type of set of experiences possesses a constancy and coherence that is lacking in the set of experiences of which hallucinations, for example, are a part. As John Stuart Mill put it in the mid-19th Century, matter is the "permanent possibility of sensation".[22] Mill's empiricism went a significant step beyond Hume in still another respect: in maintaining that induction is necessary for all meaningful knowledge including mathematics. As summarized by D.W. Hamlin:

[Mill] claimed that mathematical truths were merely very highly confirmed generalizations from experience; mathematical inference, generally conceived as deductive [and a priori] in nature, Mill set down as founded on induction. Thus, in Mill's philosophy there was no real place for knowledge based on relations of ideas. In his view logical and mathematical necessity is psychological; we are merely unable to conceive any other possibilities than those which logical and mathematical propositions assert. This is perhaps the most extreme version of empiricism known, but it has not found many defenders.[23]

Mill's empiricism thus held that knowledge of any kind is not from direct experience but an inductive inference from direct experience.[24] The problems other philosophers have had with Mill's position center around the following issues: Firstly, Mill's formulation encounters difficulty when it describes what direct experience is by differentiating only between actual and possible sensations. This misses some key discussion concerning conditions under which such "groups of permanent possibilities of sensation" might exist in the first place. Berkeley put God in that gap; the phenomenalists, including Mill, essentially left the question unanswered. In the end, lacking an acknowledgement of an aspect of "reality" that goes beyond mere "possibilities of sensation", such a position leads to a version of subjective idealism. Questions of how floor beams continue to support a floor while unobserved, how trees continue to grow while unobserved and untouched by human hands, etc, remain unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable in these terms.[23][25] Secondly, Mill's formulation leaves open the unsettling possibility that the "gap-filling entities are purely possibilities and not actualities at all".[25] Thirdly, Mill's position, by calling mathematics merely another species of inductive inference, misapprehends mathematics. It fails to fully consider the structure and method of mathematical science, the products of which are arrived at through an internally consistent deductive set of procedures which do not, either today or at the time Mill wrote, fall under the agreed meaning of induction.[23][26][27]

The phenomenalist phase of post-Humean empiricism ended by the 1940s, for by that time it had become obvious that statements about physical things could not be translated into statements about actual and possible sense data.[28] If a physical object statement is to be translatable into a sense-data statement, the former must be at least deducible from the latter. But it came to be realized that there is no finite set of statements about actual and possible sense-data from which we can deduce even a single physical-object statement. Remember that the translating or paraphrasing statement must be couched in terms of normal observers in normal conditions of observation. There is, however, no finite set of statements that are couched in purely sensory terms and which can express the satisfaction of the condition of the presence of a normal observer. According to phenomenalism, to say that a normal observer is present is to make the hypothetical statement that were a doctor to inspect the observer, the observer would appear to the doctor to be normal. But, of course, the doctor himself must be a normal observer. If we are to specify this doctor's normality in sensory terms, we must make reference to a second doctor who, when inspecting the sense organs of the first doctor, would himself have to have the sense data a normal observer has when inspecting the sense organs of a subject who is a normal observer. And if we are to specify in sensory terms that the second doctor is a normal observer, we must refer to a third doctor, and so on (also see the third man).[29][30]

[edit] Logical empiricism

Main article: Logical positivism

Logical empiricism (aka logical positivism or neopositivism) was an early 20th century attempt to synthesize the essential ideas of British empiricism (e.g. a strong emphasis on sensory experience as the basis for knowledge) with certain insights from mathematical logic that had been developed by Gottlob Frege and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Some of the key figures in this movement were Otto Neurath, Moritz Schlick and the rest of the Vienna Circle, along with A.J. Ayer, Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach. The neopositivists subscribed to a notion of philosophy as the conceptual clarification of the methods, insights and discoveries of the sciences. They saw in the logical symbolism elaborated by Frege (d. 1925) and Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) a powerful instrument which could be used to rationally reconstruct all scientific discourse into an ideal, logically perfect, language which would be free of the ambiguities and deformations of natural language. This gave rise to what they saw as metaphysical pseudoproblems and other conceptual confusions. By combining Frege's thesis that all mathematical truths are logical with the early Wittgenstein's idea that all logical truths are mere linguistic tautologies, they arrived at a twofold classification of all propositions: the analytic (a priori) and the synthetic (a posteriori).[31] On this basis, they formulated a strong principle of demarcation between sentences which have sense and those which do not: the so-called verification principle. Any sentence which is not purely logical or for which there is no method of verification was to be considered devoid of meaning. As a result, most metaphysical, ethical, aesthetic and other traditional philosophical problems came to be considered pseudoproblems.[32]

The extreme empiricism of the neopositivists was expressed, at least before the 1930s, in the idea that any genuinely synthetic assertion must be reducible to an ultimate assertion (or set of ultimate assertions) which expresses direct observations or perceptions. In later years, Carnap and Neurath abandoned this sort of phenomenalism in favor of a rational reconstruction of knowledge into the language of an objective spatio-temporal physics. That is, instead of translating sentences about physical objects into sense-data, such sentences were to be translated into so-called protocol sentences, for example, "X at location Y and at time T observes such and such."[33] The central theses of logical positivism (verificationism, the analytic-synthetic distinction, reductionism, etc.) came under sharp attack after World War 2 by thinkers such as Nelson Goodman, W.V. Quine, Hilary Putnam, Karl Popper, and Richard Rorty. By the late 1960s, it had become evident to most philosophers that the movement had pretty much run its course, though its influence is still significant among contemporary analytic philosophers such as Michael Dummett and other anti-realists.

[edit] Integration of empiricism and rationalism

In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century several forms of pragmatic philosophy arose. The ideas of pragmatism, in its various forms, developed mainly from discussions that took place while Charles Sanders Peirce and William James were both at Harvard in the 1870s. James popularized the term "pragmatism", giving Peirce full credit for its patrimony, but Peirce later demurred from the tangents that the movement was taking, and redubbed what he regarded as the original idea with the name of "pragmaticism". Along with its pragmatic theory of truth, this perspective integrates the basic insights of empirical (experience-based) and rational (concept-based) thinking.

Charles Sanders Peirce

Charles Peirce (1839–1914) was highly influential in laying the groundwork for today's empirical scientific method. Although Peirce severely criticized many elements of Descartes' peculiar brand of rationalism, he did not reject rationalism outright. Indeed, he concurred with the main ideas of rationalism, most importantly the idea that rational concepts can be meaningful and the idea that rational concepts necessarily go beyond the data given by empirical observation. In later years he even emphasized the concept-driven side of the then ongoing debate between strict empiricism and strict rationalism, in part to counterbalance the excesses to which some of his cohorts had taken pragmatism under the "data-driven" strict-empiricist view. Among Peirce's major contributions was to place inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning in a complementary rather than competitive mode, the latter of which had been the primary trend among the educated since David Hume wrote a century before. To this, Peirce added the concept of abductive reasoning. The combined three forms of reasoning serve as a primary conceptual foundation for the empirically based scientific method today. Peirce's approach "presupposes that (1) the objects of knowledge are real things, (2) the characters (properties) of real things do not depend on our perceptions of them, and (3) everyone who has sufficient experience of real things will agree on the truth about them. According to Peirce's doctrine of fallibilism, the conclusions of science are always tentative. The rationality of the scientific method does not depend on the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character: by continued application of the method science can detect and correct its own mistakes, and thus eventually lead to the discovery of truth".[34]

In his Harvard "Lectures on Pragmatism" (1903), Peirce enumerated what he called the "three cotary propositions of pragmatism" (L: cos, cotis whetstone), saying that they "put the edge on the maxim of pragmatism". First among these he listed the peripatetic-thomist observation mentioned above, but he further observed that this link between sensory perception and intellectual conception is a two-way street. That is, it can be taken to say that whatever we find in the intellect is also incipiently in the senses. Hence, if theories are theory-laden then so are the senses, and perception itself can be seen as a species of abductive inference, its difference being that it is beyond control and hence beyond critique — in a word, incorrigible. This in no way conflicts with the fallibility and revisability of scientific concepts, since it is only the immediate percept in its unique individuality or "thisness" — what the Scholastics called its haecceity — that stands beyond control and correction. Scientific concepts, on the other hand, are general in nature, and transient sensations do in another sense find correction within them. This notion of perception as abduction has received periodic revivals in artificial intelligence and cognitive science research, most recently for instance with the work of Irvin Rock on indirect perception.[35][36]

William James

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, William James (1842-1910) coined the term "radical empiricism" to describe an offshoot of his form of pragmatism, which he argued could be dealt with separately from his pragmatism - though in fact the two concepts are intertwined in James's published lectures. James maintained that the empirically observed "directly apprehended universe, requires no extraneous trans-empirical connective support",[37] by which he meant to rule out the perception that there can be any value added by seeking supernatural explanations for natural phenomena. James's "radical empricism" is thus not radical in the context of the term "empiricism", but is instead fairly consistent with the modern use of the term "empirical". (His method of argument in arriving at this view, however, still readily encounters debate within philosophy even today.)

John Dewey

John Dewey (1859-1952) modified James' pragmatism to form a theory known as instrumentalism. The role of sense experience in Dewey's theory is crucial, in that he saw experience as unified totality of things through which everything else is interrelated. Dewey's basic thought, in accordance with empiricism was that reality is determined by past experience. Therefore, humans adapt their past experiences of things to perform experiments upon and test the pragmatic values of such experience. The value of such experience is measured by scientific instruments, and the results of such measurements generate ideas which serve as instruments for future experimentation.[38] Thus, ideas in Dewey's system retain their empiricist flavour in that they are only known a posteriori.

3 komentar:

Anonim mengatakan...

You can also make the stir-fry a staple within your daily meal plan.
The results of another 3-month study, showed that the Paleo
Diet excludes refined sugar, high levels of protein can be highly
acidic to your body. Some peptides from this protein have structural homology with peptides from our own
tissues, and BSA has been implicated as one of your objectives.
What is the Paleo Diet that you'll still be satisfied and full.

Take a look at my web page ... lorettaoxgdpl.skyrock.com

Anonim mengatakan...

The most common detox your body in 3 days bath recipes call for one
cup of sea salts/Epsom salts.

my web blog body cleansing products

Anonim mengatakan...

This is where your website lives, and it will be the most
profitable keyword for you to have such a huge list of
friends. These and other services may be given independently, or as business packages.
But that's where the similarity ends -- some bloggers obsess about it, but there is even greater opportunity to analyze segments of people who would prefer to get a certain number of instruments. As you know, 80% of the information, and 80% more time to learn the technicalities of business. This is a free Google service that supplies a wealth of information.

Also visit my web site: Search engine optimization prices