Sec 14: The Idea of Necessary Connection

SEC 14: THE IDEA OF NECESSARY CONNEctiON

  • I have explained how we:
    • reason beyond our immediate impressions
    • conclude that such causes must have such effects
  • What is our idea of necessity (Sec. 2), when we say that two objects are connected?
    • We have no idea not derived from an impression.
    • We must find some impression that creates this idea of necessity.
  • To do this, I consider where necessity is commonly in.
    • It is always ascribed to causes and effects.
      • I look at two objects placed in that relation.
      • I examine them in all the situations they are susceptible.
      • I immediately perceive that:
        • they are contiguous in time and place
        • the object we call cause precedes the object we call effect.
      • I cannot go any further.
      • It is impossible for me to discover any third relation between these objects.
  • I enlarge my view to comprehend instances where I find like objects always existing in like relations of contiguity and succession.
  • Initially, this seems to serve little to my purpose.
    • The reflection on several instances only repeats the same objects.
      • Therefore, it can never create a new idea.
  • On further inquiry, I find that the repetition is not the same.
    • It produces a new impression.
    • By that means, it produces the idea I am examining.
  • After a frequent repetition, I find that on the appearance of one of the objects, the mind is determined by custom to consider:
    • its usual attendant
    • it in a stronger light because of its relation to the first object.
      • This impression or determination affords me the idea of necessity.
  • These consequences will be initially received without difficulty, as deductions from our previous principles.
    • This evidence both in the first principles, and in the deductions, might:
      • seduce us unwarily into the conclusion
      • make us imagine that it contains nothing extraordinary, nor worthy of our curiosity.
  • Such an inadvertence may facilitate the reception of this reasoning, but it will also make it more easily forgotten.
    • The most sublime questions in philosophy concerns the power and efficacy of causes.
      • All the sciences seem so much interested in it.
    • I warn that I have just now examined this question.
      • Such a warning will naturally:
        • rouse up the reader’s attention
        • make the reader want:
          • a fuller account of my doctrine
          • the arguments on which my doctrine is founded.
    • This request is so reasonable.
      • I cannot refuse complying with it, especially as I am hopeful that these principles will acquire more force and evidence, the more they are examined.
  • The efficacy of causes is the quality which makes causes to be followed by their effects.
    • This question of efficacy is important and difficult.
      • It has caused the most disputes among ancient and modern philosophers.
  • Before they entered on these disputes, I think it would have been proper to examine our idea of that efficacy.
    • I find this principally lacking in their reasonings.
    • I shall try to supply it here.
  • The terms of efficacy, agency, power, force, energy, necessity, connection, and productive quality are all nearly synonymous.
    • It is absurd to use any of them to define the rest.
  • We reject at once all the vulgar definitions which philosophers have given of power and efficacy.
    • Instead of searching for the idea in these definitions, must look for it in the impressions where it is originally derived from.
  • If it is a compound idea, it must arise from compound impressions.
    • If simple, from simple impressions.
  • The most general and popular explanation of this is (Locke, chapter of power) that we experience several new productions in matter, such as the motions and variations of body.
    • We conclude that there must be a power capable of producing them.
    • We then arrive at the idea of power and efficacy.
  • This explanation is more popular than philosophical.
  • This is proven by two very obvious principles.
    1. Reason alone can never create any original idea.
    2. Reason, as distinguished from experience, can never make us conclude that a cause or productive quality is absolutely needed to every beginning of existence.
      • Both these considerations have been sufficiently explained.
  • Since reason can never give rise to the idea of efficacy, that idea must be derived from:
    • experience
    • some particular instances of this efficacy.
      • These instances make their way into the mind through sensation or reflection.
  • Ideas always represent their objects or impressions.
    • Vice versa, there are some objects necessary to give rise to every idea.
  • If we pretend to have any just idea of this efficacy, we must produce some instance, wherein:
    • the efficacy is plainly discoverable to the mind
    • the efficacy’s operations are obvious to our consciousness or sensation.
  • By refusing this, we acknowledge that the idea is impossible and imaginary.
    • The principle of innate ideas can alone can save us from this dilemma.
      • But this principle:
        • has already been refuted
        • is now almost universally rejected in the learned world.
  • We must find some natural production, where the operation and efficacy of a cause can be clearly conceived and comprehended by the mind, without any mistake.
  • Some philosophers have pretended to explain the secret force and energy of causes. (Father Malbranche, Book 6, Part 2, Chap. 3)
    • Some maintain that bodies operate by their substantial form.
    • Others, by their accidents or qualities.
    • Several, by their matter and form.
    • Some, by their form and accidents.
    • Others, by certain virtues and faculties distinct from all this.
  • All these sentiments again:
    • are mixed and varied in 1,000 ways
    • form a strong presumption.
  • None of them have any solidity or evidence.
  • The supposition of an efficacy in any of the known qualities of matter is entirely baseless.
    • This presumption increases on us when we consider that these principles of substantial forms, accidents, and faculties, are in reality not any of the known properties of bodies.
      • Instead, they are perfectly unintelligible and inexplicable.
  • Philosophers would never have had recourse to such obscure and uncertain principles, if they had clear and intelligible principles.
    • This is especially true in affairs such as this.
    • This affair must be an object of the simplest understanding, if not of the senses.
  • On the whole, we may conclude that:
    • it is impossible in any one instance to show the principle, in which the force and agency of a cause is placed
    • the most refined and vulgar understandings are equally at a loss in this.
    • if anyone refutes this assertion, he does not need to invent long reasonings.
      • He may at once show us an instance of a cause, where we discover the power or operating principle.
    • We must frequently use this defiance, as being almost the only means of proving a negative in philosophy.
  • The small success in the attempts to fix this power, has obliged philosophers to conclude that:
    • the ultimate force and efficacy of nature is perfectly unknown to us
    • it is in vain to search for it in all the known qualities of matter.
  • They are almost unanimous in this opinion.
    • They only difference in their sentiments on their inference from it.
  • The Cartesians established a principle that we are perfectly acquainted with the essence of matter.
    • They have very naturally inferred that:
      • matter is endowed with no efficacy
      • it is impossible for matter to:
        • communicate motion, or
        • produce any of the effects we ascribe to it.
  • The essence of matter consists in extension.
    • Extension does not imply actual motion, but only mobility.
    • They therefore conclude that the energy which produces the motion cannot lie in the extension.
  • This conclusion leads them into another unavoidable conclusion.
  • They say that matter is:
    • entirely inactive in itself
    • deprived of any power, by which it may produce, or continue, or communicate motion.
  • Power must lie in the Deity, or that divine being who contains all perfection in his nature, since:
    • these effects are evident to our senses
    • the power that produces them must be placed somewhere.
  • The deity, therefore:
    • is the prime mover of the universe.
    • first created matter and gave it its original impulse
    • supports its existence, by a continued exertion of omnipotence
    • successively bestows on existence all of its motions, configurations, and qualities.
  • This opinion is very curious and well worth our attention.
    • But it will appear superfluous if we reflect why we notice it.
  • All ideas are derived from impressions, or some precedent perceptions.
    • It is impossible we can have any idea of power and efficacy, unless there are some instances wherein this power is perceived to exert itself.
  • These instances can never be discovered in body.
    • The Cartesians, proceeding on their principle of innate ideas, have had recourse to a supreme spirit or deity.
    • They consider it as:
      • the only active being in the universe
      • the immediate cause of every alteration in matter.
  • But the principle of innate ideas is false.
    • It follows that the supposition of a deity is useless in accounting for that idea of agency.
    • We search for that idea in vain in all the objects:
      • presented to our senses, or
      • which we are internally conscious of.
  • If every idea were derived from an impression, the idea of a deity proceeds from the same origin.
    • If no impression, of sensation or reflection, implies any force or efficacy, it is equally impossible to discover or imagine any such active principle in the deity.
  • They concluded that matter cannot be endowed with any efficacious principle, because it is impossible to discover such a principle in matter.
    • The same reasoning should make them exclude it from the supreme being.
      • This opinion is absurd and impious.
      • They may avoid this opinion by concluding from the beginning, that they have no adequate idea of power or efficacy in any object.
      • Since they are unable to discover an instance of it in body or spirit, in superior or inferior natures.
  • Other philosophers:
    • maintain the efficacy of second causes
    • attribute a derivative, real power and energy to matter.
  • The previous opinion applies to this hypothesis.
    • They confess that this energy does not lie in any of the known qualities of matter.
    • The difficulty still remains on the origin of its idea.
  • If we really have an idea of power, we may attribute power to an unknown quality.
    • But it is impossible that that idea can be derived from such a quality.
      • There is nothing in known qualities which can produce it.
    • It follows that we deceive ourselves when we imagine we have any idea of this kind
  • All ideas are derived from, and represent impressions.
    • We never have any impression that contains any power or efficacy.
    • We never therefore have any idea of power.
  • Some have asserted that we feel an energy or power in our own mind.
    • We transfer this power to matter when we are not able immediately to discover it.
    • Our body’s motions and our mind’s thoughts and sentiments obey the will.
    • We do not seek further to acquire a just notion of force or power.
  • To convince us how false this reasoning is, we only need to consider that the will is here considered as a cause.
    • It has no more a discoverable connection with its effects, than any material cause has with its proper effect.
  • The effect of the connection between an act of volition and a motion of the body is most inexplicable from the powers and essence of thought and matter.
    • The empire of the will over our mind is not more intelligible.
  • The effect there:
    • is distinguishable and separable from the cause
    • could not be foreseen without the experience of their constant conjunction.
  • We have command over our mind to a certain degree.
    • But beyond that, we lose all empire over it.
    • It is impossible to fix any precise bounds to our authority when we do not consult experience.
  • In short, the mind’s actions are the same with those of matter in this respect.
    • We only perceive their constant conjunction.
    • We can never reason beyond it.
  • No internal impression has an apparent energy, more than external objects have.
  • Since, therefore, matter is confessed by philosophers to operate by an unknown force, we should in vain hope to attain an idea of force by consulting our own minds. [Footnote 8]

Footnote 8.

  • The same imperfection attends our ideas of the Deity.
    • But this can have no effect on religion or morals.
  • The order of the universe proves an omnipotent mind.
    • That mind has a will which is constantly attended with the obedience of every creature and being.
  • Nothing more is needed to give a foundation to all the articles of religion.
    • It is unnecessary that we should form a distinct idea of the force and energy of the supreme Being.
  • It has been established as a certain principle, that:
    • general or abstract ideas are nothing but individual ones taken in a certain light
    • in reflecting on any object, it is as impossible to exclude from our thought all degrees of quantity and quality, as from the real nature of things.
  • If we had any idea of power in general, we must also be able to conceive some species of it.
    • Power cannot subsist alone.
    • It is always regarded as an attribute of some being or existence.
      • We must be able to:
        • place this power in some particular being
        • conceive that being as endowed with a real force and energy which causes such effects.
  • We must distinctly and particularly:
    • conceive the connection between the cause and effect
    • be able to pronounce, from a simple view of the one, that it must be followed or preceded by the other.
  • This is the true manner of conceiving a power in a body.
    • A general idea is impossible without an individual idea.
      • Where the latter is impossible, the former certainly can never exist.
  • The human mind cannot form such an idea of two objects, as to:
    • conceive any connection between them, or
    • comprehend distinctly that power or efficacy which unite them.
  • Such a connection would:
    • amount to a demonstration
    • imply the absolute impossibility for the one object:
      • not to follow, or
      • to be conceived not to follow the other.
  • This kind of connection has already been rejected in all cases.
    • If anyone thinks otherwise, that he has attained a notion of power in any object, he should point out that object to me.
  • Until I meet such a person, I conclude that:
    • We can never distinctly conceive how any power can possibly reside in any object.
    • We therefore deceive ourselves in imagining that we can form any such general idea.
  • We may infer that we:
    • really have no distinct meaning when:
      • we talk of any being, superior or inferior, endowed with a power proportioned to any effect
      • we speak of a necessary connection between objects and suppose that this connection depends on an efficacy or energy, which any of these objects are endowed with
    • use only common words, without any clear and determinate ideas.
  • These expressions probably here lose their true meaning by being wrongly applied, than them never having any meaning.
    • We shall see if we can discover the nature and origin of those ideas that we annex to those expressions.
  • Suppose two objects are presented to us.
    • One is the cause.
    • The other the effect.
    • From the simple consideration of one or both these objects, we shall never:
      • perceive the tie by which they are united, or
      • be able certainly to pronounce that there is a connection between them.
  • It is not from any one instance that we arrive at the idea of:
    • cause and effect
    • a necessary connection of power, force, energy, and efficacy.
  • If we never see any conjunctions of objects different from each other, we would never be able to form such ideas.
  • Suppose we observe several instances when the same objects are always conjoined together.
    • We immediately:
      • conceive a connection between them
      • begin to draw an inference from one to another.
  • This multiplicity of resembling instances, therefore:
    • constitutes the very essence of power or connection
    • is the source of its idea.
  • To understand the idea of power, we must consider that multiplicity.
    • I do not ask more to solve that difficulty which has so long perplexed us.
  • Thus, I reason that the repetition of perfectly similar instances can never alone give rise to an original idea, different from the idea in any particular instance.
    • It follows from our fundamental principle, that all ideas are copied from impressions.
  • The idea of power is a new original idea.
    • It is not found in any one instance.
    • It arises from the repetition of several instances.
      • It follows that the repetition alone does not have that effect.
      • It must either discover or produce something new, which is the source of that idea.
  • If the repetition did not discover nor produce anything new, our ideas might be multiplied by it.
    • But our ideas would not be enlarged above what they are on the observation of a single instance.
  • Therefore, every enlargement (such as the idea of power or connection) which arises from the multiplicity of similar instances:
    • is copied from some effects of the multiplicity
    • will be perfectly understood by understanding these effects.
  • Wherever we find anything new to be discovered or produced by the repetition, there we must:
    • place the power
    • never look for it in any other object.
  • But in the first place, the repetition of like objects in like relations of succession and contiguity discovers nothing new in any one of them, since we cannot:
    • draw any inference from it
    • make it a subject of our demonstrative or probable reasonings (Sec. 6).
  • If we could draw an inference, it would be of no consequence in the present case.
    • Since no kind of reasoning can give rise to a new idea, such as this of power.
    • Wherever we reason, we must antecedently have clear ideas, which may be the objects of our reasoning.
  • The conception always precedes the understanding.
    • Where the one is obscure, the other is uncertain.
    • Where the one fails, the other must fail also.
  • Secondly, it is certain that this repetition of similar objects in similar situations produces nothing new in these objects or in any external body.
  • The several instances we have of the conjunction of resembling causes and effects are in themselves entirely independent.
    • The communication of motion, which I see resulting from the shock of two billiard-balls, is totally distinct from the motion from the shock I saw a year ago.
    • These impulses have no influence on each other.
    • They are entirely divided by time and place.
      • One might have existed and communicated motion, though the other never had been in being.
  • There is then nothing new discovered or produced in any objects by:
    • their constant conjunction
    • the uninterrupted resemblance of their relations of succession and contiguity.
  • The ideas of necessity, power, and efficacy are derived from this resemblance.
    • These ideas, therefore, represent nothing that belongs or can belong to the objects constantly conjoined.
  • This argument is perfectly unanswerable.
    • Similar instances are still the first source of our idea of power or necessity.
    • At the same time that they have no influence by their similarity either on each other, or on any external object.
  • We must, therefore, turn ourselves to some other quarter to seek the origin of that idea.
  • The several resembling instances, which give rise to the idea of power:
    • have no influence on each other
    • can never produce any new quality in the object, which can be the model of that idea
  • Yet the observation of this resemblance produces a new impression in the mind, which is its real model.
  • For after we have observed the resemblance in a sufficient number of instances, we immediately feel the mind’s determination to:
    • pass from one object to its usual attendant
    • conceive it in a stronger light because of that relation.
  • This determination is the only effect of the resemblance.
    • It must be the same with power or efficacy, whose idea is derived from the resemblance.
  • The several instances of resembling conjunctions lead us into the notion of power and necessity.
  • These instances are in themselves:
    • totally distinct from each other
    • have no union but in the mind, which observes them and collects their ideas.
  • Necessity, then, is:
    • the effect of this observation
    • nothing but an internal impression of the mind, or
    • a determination to carry our thoughts from one object to another.
  • Without considering it in this view, we can never:
    • arrive at the most distant notion of it, or
    • be able to attribute it to:
      • external or internal objects
      • spirit or body
      • causes or effects.
  • The necessary connection between causes and effects is the foundation of our inference from one to the other.
    • The foundation of our inference is the transition arising from the accustomed union.
    • Therefore, these are the same.
  • The idea of necessity arises from some impression.
    • There is no impression conveyed by our senses, which can give rise to necessity.
    • Therefore, it must be derived from some:
      • internal impression, or
      • impression of reflection.
  • No internal impression has any relation to necessity, but that propensity produced by custom to pass from an object to the idea of its usual attendant.
    • Therefore, this is the essence of necessity.
  • Necessity exists in the mind, not in objects.
    • It is impossible for us to ever form the most distant idea of necessity as a quality in bodies.
  • Either we have no idea of necessity, or necessity is nothing but the thought’s determination to pass from:
    • causes to effects
    • effects to causes, according to their experienced union.
  • The necessity which makes 2 * 2 = 4, or three angles of a triangle equal to two right ones, lies only in the act of the understanding, by which we consider and compare these ideas.
  • Similarly, the necessity or power which unites causes and effects, lies in the mind’s determination to pass from the one to the other.
  • The efficacy or energy of causes is not placed in:
    • the causes themselves
    • the deity
    • the concurrence of these two principles.
  • It belongs entirely to the soul, which considers the union of objects in all past instances.
    • The real power of causes is placed in the soul along with their connection and necessity.
  • This is the most violent paradox that I have advanced in this treatise.
  • It is merely by dint of solid proof and reasoning that I can ever hope for this paradox to:
    • have admission
    • overcome mankind’s inveterate prejudices.
  • We must often repeat to ourselves that the simple view of any two objects or actions, however related, can never give us any idea of power or of a connection between them.
    • This idea arises from the repetition of their union.
    • The repetition does not discover nor cause anything in the objects.
    • It has an influence only on the mind, by that customary transition it produces.
    • Therefore, this customary transition is the same with the power and necessity which are:
      • consequently qualities of perceptions not of objects
      • internally felt by the soul
      • not perceived externally in bodies.
  • There is commonly an astonishment attending everything extraordinary.
    • This astonishment changes immediately into esteem or contempt, as we approve or disapprove of the subject.
  • The foregoing reasoning is the shortest and most decisive imaginable.
    • But I am afraid that bias will prevail in most readers.
      • It will give them a prejudice against the present doctrine.
  • This contrary bias is easily accounted for.
  • The mind has a great propensity to:
    • spread itself on external objects
    • conjoin with them any internal impressions which:
      • they occasion
      • always appear at the same time that these objects discover themselves to the senses.
  • Certain sounds and smells are always found to attend certain visible objects.
    • We naturally imagine a conjunction, even in place, between the objects and qualities.
      • Though the qualities:
        • admit of no such conjunction,
        • really exist nowhere.
  • More of this fully in Part 4, Sec. 5.
  • The same propensity is why we suppose necessity and power to lie in the objects we consider, not in our mind that considers them.
    • It is impossible for us to form the most distant idea of that quality, when the mind is not determined to pass from the idea of an object to the idea of its usual attendant.
  • This is our only reasonable account of necessity.
    • I know that many will treat my sentiments as extravagant and ridiculous if the contrary notion is so riveted in the mind from the above principles.
  • The efficacy of causes lie in the mind’s determination!
    • Causes:
      • did not operate entirely independent of the mind
      • would not continue their operation even though there was:
        • no mind to contemplate them, or
        • no reason concerning them.
  • Thought may depend on causes for its operation, but causes do not depend on thought.
    • This would:
      • reverse the order of nature
      • make the secondary as the primary.
  • To every operation there is a proportional power.
    • This power must be placed on the operating body.
  • If we remove the power from one cause, we must ascribe it to another.
    • But it is a gross absurdity to:
      • remove power from all causes
      • bestow it on a being related to the cause or effect only by perceiving them
    • This is contrary to the most certain principles of human reason.
  • I reply that the case is the same as a blind man pretending to find many absurdities in the supposition that:
    • the colour of scarlet is different from the sound of a trumpet, or
    • the light is the same as solidity.
  • If we have no idea of a power or efficacy in any object, or of any real connection between causes and effects, it will be useless to prove that an efficacy is necessary in all operations.
    • We do not understand our own meaning in talking so.
    • We ignorantly confound ideas which are distinct from each other.
    • There are several qualities in material and immaterial objects which we are utterly unacquainted with.
    • If we call these power or efficacy, it will be of little consequence to the world.
  • Instead of meaning these unknown qualities, we make the terms of ‘power’ and ‘efficacy’ to signify something which:
    • we have a clear idea of
    • is incompatible with those objects we apply it to.
      • Obscurity and error begin then to take place.
      • We are led astray by a false philosophy.
  • This is the case when we:
    • transfer the determination of the thought to external objects
    • suppose any real intelligible connection between them.
      • This connection is a quality which can only belong to the mind that considers them.
  • The operations of nature are independent of our thought and reasoning.
    • Accordingly, objects bear the relations of contiguity and succession to each other.
      • Like objects may be observed in several instances to have like relations.
      • All this is independent of, and antecedent to the operations of the understanding.
  • But if we go further and ascribe a power or necessary connection to these objects, we can never observe this in them.
    • We must draw the idea of it from what we feel internally in contemplating them.
    • I carry this so far.
      • I am ready to convert my present reasoning into an instance of it, by a subtlety which is easy to understand.
  • When any object is presented to us, it immediately conveys a lively idea of that object to the mind which is usually found to attend it.
    • This determination of the mind forms the necessary connection of these objects.
  • But when we change the point of view, from the objects to the perceptions:
    • the impression is considered as the cause
    • the lively idea as the effect; and their necessary connection is that new determination, which we feel to pass from the idea of the one to that of the other.
  • The uniting principle among our internal perceptions is as unintelligible as that among external objects, and is not known to us any other way than by experience.
    • The nature and effects of experience have been already explained.
      • It never gives us any insight into the internal structure or operating principle of objects.
      • It only accustoms the mind to pass from one to another.
  • We now collect all parts of this reasoning to form an exact definition of the relation of cause and effect.
    • This is the subject of the present inquiry.
  • We will first examine our inference from the relation before explaining the relation itself.
    • If it were possible to proceed in a different way, this order would not have been excusable.
    • The nature of the relation depends so much on the relation of the inference, that we have been obliged to:
      • advance in this seemingly preposterous manner
      • use terms before we were able exactly to define them.
  • We shall correct this fault by giving a precise definition of cause and effect.
  • Two definitions can be given of this relation.
  • These are only different because they:
    • present a different view of the same object
    • make us consider it as either:
      • a philosophical or as a natural relation; either as a comparison of two ideas, or as an association between them.
  • We define a cause as an object precedent and contiguous to another, where all the objects resembling the former are placed in like relations of precedency and contiguity to those objects that resemble the latter.
    1. If this definition is defective because it is drawn from objects foreign to the cause, we may replace it with this other definition:
      • A cause is an object precedent and contiguous to another and so united with it, that:
        • the idea of the one determines the mind to form the idea of the other
        • the impression of the one determines the mind to form a more lively idea of the other.
    2. Should this definition also be rejected for the same reason, my only remedy is for its rejecters to substitute a more just definition in its place.
      • I must own my incapacity to offer such a definition.
  • When I accurately examine objects called ’causes’ and ‘effects’, I find in a single instance, that the one object is precedent and contiguous to the other.
    • In enlarging my view to consider several instances, I find only that like objects are constantly placed in like relations of succession and contiguity.
  • When I consider this constant conjunction’s influence, I perceive that such a relation can:
    • never be an object of reasoning
    • operate on the mind only through custom.
      • Custom determines the imagination to make a transition from:
        • the idea of one object to the idea of its usual attendant
        • the impression of one object to a more lively idea of the other object.
  • However extraordinary these sentiments may appear, it is fruitless for me to further reason on the subject.
    • Instead, I shall rest on them as I rest on established maxims.
  • We shall draw some corrollaries from this subject.
    • These will remove several prejudices and popular errors that have prevailed in philosophy.
  • First, we may learn from the foregoing doctrine that all causes are of the same kind.
    • In particular, there is no foundation for our distinction between:
      • efficient causes and causes sine qua non (essential), or
      • efficient formal, material causes and exemplary, final causes.
  • Our idea of efficiency is derived from the constant conjunction of two objects.
    • Wherever this is observed, the cause is efficient.
    • Where it is not observed, there can never be a cause.
  • For the same reason, we must reject the distinction between cause and occasion when supposed to signify anything essentially different from each other.
    • If constant conjunction is implied in occasion, it is a real cause.
    • If not, it is:
      • no relation at all
      • cannot give rise to any argument or reasoning.
  • Secondly, the same reasoning will make us conclude that:
    • there is but one kind of necessity, as there is but one kind of cause
    • the common distinction between moral and physical necessity is without any foundation in nature.
  • This clearly appears from the precedent explanation of necessity.
    • It is the constant conjunction of objects, along with the mind’s determination, which constitutes a physical necessity.
    • The removal of these is the same thing with chance.
  • Objects must be conjoined or not.
  • The mind must be determined or not to pass from one object to another.
    • It is impossible to admit of any medium between chance and an absolute necessity.
  • In weakening this conjunction and determination, you do not change the nature of the necessity.
    • Since even in the operation of bodies, these have different degrees of constancy and force, without producing a different species of that relation.
  • Our distinction between power and its exercise, is equally without foundation.
  • Thirdly, we can now fully overcome all that repugnance against the foregoing reasoning.
    • In that reasoning, we tried to prove that the necessity of a cause to every beginning of existence is not founded on any demonstrative or intuitive arguments.
    • Such an opinion will not appear strange after the foregoing definitions.
  • If:
    • we define a cause to be an object precedent and contiguous to another object, where all the objects resembling the precedent object are placed in a like relation of priority and contiguity to those objects resembling the other object
  • Then:
    • there is no absolute nor metaphysical necessity, that every beginning of existence should be attended with such an object.
  • We shall have less difficulty of assenting to this opinion if we define a cause as an object:
    • precedent and contiguous to another
    • so united with it in the imagination, that:
      • the idea of the one determines the mind to form the idea of the other
      • the impression of the one to form a more lively idea of the other.
  • Such an influence on the mind is in itself perfectly extraordinary and incomprehensible.
    • We can we be certain of its reality, but from experience and observation.
  • I shall add as a fourth corrollary that we can never have reason to believe that any object exists, of which we cannot form an idea.
    • All our reasonings on existence are derived from causation.
    • All our reasonings on causation are derived from the experienced conjunction of objects, not from any reasoning or reflection.
    • The same experience must:
      • give us a notion of these objects
      • remove all mystery from our conclusions.
  • This is so evident.
    • It only merited our attention for us to obviate objections of this kind, which might arise against the following reasonings on matter and substance.
  • A full knowledge of the object is not needed.
    • Only of the knowledge of its qualities, which we believe to exist, are needed.

Words: 5706

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s