Sec 5: Soul

SEC 5: THE SOUL’s IMMATERIALITY

  • We have found such contradictions and difficulties in every system on:
    • external objects
    • the idea of matter
  • These contradictions are so clear and determinate in our fancy.
  • We shall naturally expect greater difficulties and contradictions in every hypothesis on:
    • our internal perceptions
    • the nature of the mind
      • We imagine that these are so much more obscure and uncertain.
  • But we would deceive ourselves in this.
  • The intellectual world is involved in infinite obscurities.
    • It is not perplexed with any such contradictions, as those we have discovered in the natural.
    • What is known concerning it, agrees with itself.
    • What is unknown, we must be contented to leave so.
  • Certain philosophers promise to reduce our ignorance at the hazard of running us into contradictions from which the subject is itself exempted.
    • These philosophers are the curious reasoners on the material or immaterial substances, in which they suppose our perceptions to inhere.
  • To stop these endless cavils on both sides, I can only ask these philosophers: what they mean by substance and inhesion?
    • I will enter seriously into the dispute after they have answered this question.
  • This question is impossible to answer with regard to matter and body.
    • This question labours under all the same difficulties in the case of the mind.
    • It is burdened with some additional labours which are peculiar to that subject.
  • Every idea is derived from a precedent impression.
    • If we any idea of the substance of our minds, we must also have an impression of it.
    • This is very difficult, if not impossible, to be conceived.
      • How can an impression represent a substance, otherwise than by resembling it?
      • How can an impression resemble a substance, since, according to this philosophy, it:
        • is not a substance
        • has none of the peculiar qualities or characteristics of a substance?
  • Those philosophers pretend that we have an idea of the substance of our minds.
    • I want to:
      • point out the impression that produces it
      • tell distinctly how that impression operates and from what object it is derived.
    • Is it an impression of sensation or of reflection?
    • Is it pleasant, or painful, or indifferent?
  • Does it attend us at all times, or does it only return at intervals?
    • If at intervals, when does it return principally, and by what causes is it produced?
  • If instead of answering these questions, anyone should evade the difficulty by saying that:
    • the definition of a substance is something which may exist by itself
    • this definition should satisfy us
  • This definition agrees to everything that can possibly be conceived.
    • It never will distinguish substance from accident, or the soul from its perceptions.
  • Here are two principles:
    • Whatever is clearly conceived may exist.
      • Whatever is clearly conceived after any manner, may exist after the same manner.
    • Again, everything, which is different, is distinguishable.
      • Everything which is distinguishable, is separable by the imagination.
  • My conclusion from both is that since all our perceptions are different from each other, and from everything else in the universe, they are also distinct and separable.
    • They may exist separately and have no need of anything else to support their existence.
    • They are, therefore, substances, as far as this definition explains a substance.
  • We cannot arrive at any satisfactory notion of substance
    • by considering the first origin of ideas
    • by means of a definition.
  • This is a sufficient reason for abandoning that dispute on the soul’s materiality and immateriality.
    • It makes me absolutely condemn the question itself.
  • We have no perfect idea of anything but of a perception.
    • A substance is entirely different from a perception.
    • Therefore, we have no idea of a substance.
  • Inhesion in something that is supposed to be requisite to support the existence of our perceptions.
    • Nothing appears requisite to support the existence of a perception.
    • Therefore, we have no idea of inhesion.
  • How then can we possibly answer: whether perceptions inhere in a material or immaterial substance, when we do not understand the question’s meaning?
  • A remarkable argument is commonly used for the soul’s immateriality.
    • Whatever is extended consists of parts.
    • Whatever consists of parts is divisible, at least in the imagination.
  • But it is impossible that anything divisible can be conjoined to a thought or perception, which is an inseparable and indivisible being.
    • Supposing such a conjunction, would the indivisible thought exist on the left or the right hand of this extended divisible body?
      • On the surface or in the middle?
      • On the back or the front of it?
  • If it is conjoined with the extension, it must exist somewhere within its dimensions.
    • If it exists within its dimensions, it must either exist in one part, or
      • That one part is indivisible.
      • The perception is conjoined only with it, not with the extension.
    • If the thought exists in every part, it must also be extended, separable, and divisible, as well as the body.
      • This is utterly absurd and contradictory.
  • Can anyone conceive a passion of a yard in length, a foot in breadth, and an inch in thickness?
    • Therefore, thought and extension:
      • are qualities wholly incompatible
      • can never incorporate together into one subject.
  • This argument does not affect the question on the substance of the soul.
    • It only affects the question on its local conjunction with matter.
  • Therefore, we may consider what objects are or are not susceptible of a local conjunction.
    • This is a curious question.
      • It may lead us to some considerable discoveries.
  • The first notion of space and extension is derived solely from the senses of sight and feeling.
    • Only what is coloured or tangible can convey that idea.
  • When we reduce or increase a relish, we do not reduce or increase any visible object in the same way.
    • When several sounds strike our hearing at once, custom and reflection alone make us form an idea of the degrees of the distance and contiguity of those bodies they are derived from.
  • Whatever marks the place of its existence must be:
    • extended, or
    • a mathematical point, without parts or composition.
      • What is extended must have a particular figure, as square, round, or triangular.
      • None of these will agree to:
        • a desire, or
        • any impression or idea, except to sight and feeling.
  • A desire is indivisible.
    • But it should not be considered as a mathematical point.
    • Otherwise, desires could be added into two, three, or four desires.
    • They would be disposed in a way as to have a determinate length, breadth and thickness.
    • This is absurd.
  • I deliver a maxim that an object may exist and yet be nowhere.
    • This is not only possible, but that most beings do and must exist after this manner.
    • This maxim is:
      • condemned by several metaphysicians.
      • contrary to the most certain principles of reason.
  • An object may be nowhere when its parts are not so situated with respect to each other, as to form:
    • any figure or quantity
    • the whole with respect to other bodies so as to answer to our notions of contiguity or distance.
  • This is the case with all our perceptions and objects, except those of the sight and feeling.
    • A moral reflection cannot be placed on the right or on the left hand of a passion.
    • Smell or sound cannot be of a circular or a square figure.
  • These objects and perceptions , so far from requiring any particular place, are absolutely incompatible with it.
    • Even the imagination cannot attribute it to them.
  • If the passions and sentiments appear to the perception to have any particular place, the idea of extension might be derived from them as well as from the sight and touch.
    • This is contrary to what we have already established.
  • If they appear not to have any particular place, they may possibly exist in the same manner.
    • Since whatever we conceive is possible.
  • It will not be necessary to prove that those simple perceptions that exist nowhere, are incapable of any conjunction in place with extended and divisible matter or body.
    • Since it is impossible to found a relation but on some common quality.
  • It may be more worthwhile to remark that this question of the local conjunction of objects occurs in:
    • metaphysical disputes on the soul’s nature
    • common life.
  • Supposing we consider a fig at one end of the table and an olive at the other.
    • One of the most obvious complex ideas of these substances is their different relishes.
    • We incorporate and conjoin these coloured and tangible qualities.
  • The bitter taste of the one, and sweet of the other are supposed to:
    • lie in the very visible body
    • be separated from each other by the whole length of the table.
  • This is so notable and so natural an illusion.
    • It may be proper to consider the principles it is derived from.
  • An extended object is incapable of a conjunction in place with another that exists without any place or extension.
    • Yet they are susceptible of many other relations.
    • Thus, the taste and smell of any fruit are inseparable from its other qualities of colour and tangibility.
    • Whichever is the cause or effect, they are always co-existent.
      • They are also co-temporary in their appearance in the mind.
      • We perceive the extended body’s particular taste and smell on its application to our senses.
  • These relations of causation and contiguity must have such an effect on the mind.
    • In the time of their appearance, between the extended object and the quality which exists without any particular place,
    • On the appearance of one, the mind will immediately turn its thought to conceive the other.
      • Nor is this all.
  • We turn our thought from one to the other on account of their relation and try to give them a new relation.
    • This new relation is the CONJUNCTION IN PLACE.
    • This lets us render the transition more easy and natural.
  • The quality of human nature is that when objects are united by any relation, we have a strong propensity to add some new relation to them to complete the union.
    • I shall explain this fully in its proper place.
  • In our arrangement of bodies, we never fail to place such as are resembling, in contiguity to each other, or at least in correspondent points of view: Why?
    • Because we feel a satisfaction in joining the relation of contiguity to that of resemblance, or the resemblance of situation to that of qualities.
    • The effects this propensity have been (towards the end of Sec. 2) already observed in that resemblance.
    • We readily suppose this resemblance between particular impressions and their external causes.
    • But we shall not find a more evident effect of it, than in the present instance.
    • From the relations of causation and contiguity in time between two objects, we likewise feign the relation of a conjunction in place, to strengthen the connection.
  • Whatever confusions we may have of an union in place between an extended body, as a fig and its taste, upon reflection we must observe this union altogether unintelligible and contradictory.
    • If the a taste in the body’s circumference is in one part or all parts, we would quickly:
      • find ourselves at a loss.
      • perceive the impossibility of ever giving a satisfactory answer.
  • We cannot rely, that it is only in one part:
    • Experience convinces us that every part has the same relish.
    • We can as little reply, that it exists in every part:
  • We must then suppose it figured and extended.
    • This is absurd and incomprehensible.
    • We are then influenced by two principles directly contrary to each other:
      • that inclination of our fancy by which we are determined to incorporate the taste with the extended object
      • our reason, which shows us the impossibility of such an union.
  • Being divided between these opposite principles, we renounce neither one nor the other.
    • We involve the subject in such confusion and obscurity, that we no longer perceive the opposition.
  • We suppose that the taste exists within the circumference of the body, but in a way that it:
    • fills the whole without extension
    • exists entire in every part without separation.
  • In short, we use the following scholastic principles in our most familiar way of thinking:
    • totum in toto (extending over the whole)
    • totum in qualibet parte (extending to all parts)
  • When crudely proposed, this appears so shocking.
    • This is the same as saying that a thing is in a certain place, but is not there.
  • All this absurdity proceeds from us trying to bestow a place on what is utterly incapable of it.
    • That endeavour arises from our inclination to complete a union founded on causation and a contiguity of time, by attributing a conjunction to the objects in place.
  • But if reason has sufficient force to overcome prejudice, it must prevail.
    • We can only choose to suppose that:
      • some beings exist without any place, or
      • they are figured and extended; or
      • when they are incorporated with extended objects, the whole is:
        • in the whole
        • in every part.
  • The absurdity of the two last suppositions proves sufficiently the veracity of the first.
    • There is no fourth opinion.
  • The supposition of their existence in the manner of mathematical points resolves itself into the second opinion.
    • It supposes that several passions may be placed in a circular figure.
    • A number of smells conjoined with a number of sounds, may make a body of 12 cubic inches.
      • This is ridiculous.
  • In this view, we cannot refuse to condemn the materialists.
    • They conjoin all thought with extension.
    • Little reflection will show us equal reason for blaming their antagonists.
      • Their antagonists conjoin all thought with a simple and indivisible substance.
  • The most vulgar philosophy informs us that no external object can make itself known to the mind:
    • immediately
    • without the interposition of an image or perception.
  • That table which appears to me, is only a perception.
    • All its qualities are qualities of a perception.
    • The most obvious of its qualities is extension.
  • The perception consists of parts.
    • These parts are situated to afford us the notion of distance and contiguity, length, breadth, and thickness.
    • The termination of these three dimensions is what we call figure.
    • This figure is moveable, separable, and divisible.
  • Mobility and separability are the distinguishing properties of extended objects.
    • To cut short all disputes, the very idea of extension is copied from nothing but an impression.
    • Consequently, extension must perfectly agree to its impression.
  • To say the idea of extension agrees to anything, is to say it is extended.
  • The free-thinker may now triumph in his turn.
    • After finding that there are extended impressions and ideas, he may ask his antagonists how can they incorporate a simple and indivisible subject with an extended perception?
    • All the arguments of Theologians may here be retorted on them.
  • Is the indivisible subject or immaterial substance on the left or on the right hand of the perception?
    • Is it:
      • in this particular part, or in that other?
      • in every part without being extended?
      • entire in any one part without deserting the rest?
  • The only answer to these questions:
    • is absurd in itself
    • will account for the union of our indivisible perceptions with an extended substance.
  • I have condemned the question of the sou’s substance as utterly unintelligible.
    • I assert that the doctrine of the immateriality, simplicity, and indivisibility of a thinking substance is a true atheism.
    • It will justify all those sentiments Spinoza is so universally infamous for.
  • I hope at least to reap one advantage.
    • My adversaries will not have any pretext to render the present doctrine odious by their declamations, when they see that they can be so easily retorted on them.
  • The fundamental principle of Spinoza’s atheism is the doctrine of the:
    • universe’s simplicity
    • unity of that substance, in which he supposes both thought and matter to inhere.
  • He says that there is only one substance in the world.
    • That substance is perfectly simple, indivisible, and exists everywhere, without any local presence.
  • Whatever we discover externally by sensation; whatever we feel internally by reflection; all these are nothing but modifications of that one, simple, and necessarily existent being, and does not have any separate existence.
  • Every passion of the soul, every configuration of matter, however different and various:
    • inhere in the same substance
    • preserve in themselves their characters of distinction, without communicating them to that subject, in which they inhere.
  • The same substratum supports the most different modifications, without any difference in itself; and varies them, without any variation.
    • Time, place, and all nature’s diversity cannot produce any composition or change in its perfect simplicity and identity.
  • These are gloomy and obscure regions.
  • I shall show that this hideous hypothesis is almost the same with that of the soul’s immateriality which has become so popular.
  • Let us remember that every idea is derived from a preceding perception (Part 2, Sec. 6).
    • It is impossible that our idea of a perception, and that of an object or external existence, can ever be different from each other.
    • Whatever difference between them is still incomprehensible to us.
  • We are obliged to:
    • conceive an external object merely as a relation without a relative, or
    • make it the very same with a perception or impression.
  • The consequence I draw from this may appear a mere sophism.
    • But it will be found solid and satisfactory on the smallest examination.
  • We can never conceive a specific deference between an object and impression.
  • Any conclusion we form on the connection and repugnance of impressions will not be applicable to objects.
    • On the other hand, whatever conclusions of this kind we form concerning objects, will be applicable to impressions.
  • The reason is not difficult.
    • An object is supposed to be different from an impression.
    • We cannot be sure that the circumstance of our reasoning is common to both, if we form the reasoning on the impression.
  • It is still possible that the object may differ from it in that particular.
    • But when we first form our reasoning on the object, that the same reasoning must extend to the impression.
    • Because the quality of the object on which the argument is founded, must at least be conceived by the mind.
    • It could not be conceived, unless it were common to an impression; since we have no idea but what is derived from that origin.
  • Thus we may establish a maxim that we can only discover a connection or repugnance, between objects not extending to impressions, from an irregular principle of reasoning from experience (like that of Sec. 2, form the coherence of our perceptions).
    • Though the inverse proposition might not be equally true, that all the discoverable relations of impressions are common to objects.
  • I apply this to two different systems of being.
    • I will assign some substance, or ground of inhesion.
  • I first observe the universe of objects or of body:
    • The sun, moon, and stars
    • The earth, seas, plants, animals, men, ships, houses, and other productions of art or nature.
  • Spinoza tells me that these are only modifications.
    • The subject, in which they inhere, is simple, uncompounded, and indivisible.
  • The second system of beings is the universe of thought, or my impressions and ideas.
    • Here I observe:
      • another sun, moon and stars; an earth, and seas, covered and inhabited by plants and animals; towns, houses, mountains, rivers
      • in short, everything I can discover or conceive in the first system.
  • Theologians present themselves when I inquire on these.
    • They tell me that these are also modifications.
    • They are modifications of one simple, uncompounded, and indivisible substance.
    • I am deafened immediately with the noise of 100 voices.
    • They treat:
      • the first hypothesis with detestation and scorn
      • the second hypothesis with applause and veneration.
  • I turn my attention to these hypotheses to see the reason of so great a partiality.
    • I find that they:
      • are both unintelligible
      • so much alike
        • It is impossible to discover any absurdity in one, not common to both.
  • We have no idea of any quality in an object which does not agree to, and may not represent a quality in an impression.
    • Because all our ideas are derived from our impressions.
  • Therefore, we can never find any repugnance between an extended object as a modification, and a simple uncompounded essence, as its substance.
    • Unless that repugnance takes place equally between:
      • the perception or impression of that extended object, and
      • the same uncompounded essence.
    • Every idea of a quality in an object passes through an impression.
  • Therefore, every perceivable relation, whether of connection or repugnance, must be common to both objects and impressions.
  • Let us:
    • survey this argument in detail to make it more clear and sensible.
    • see whether all the absurdities in Spinoza’s system may not be discovered in that of Theologians.
    • (See Bayle’s dictionary, article of Spinoza)
  • First, it has been said against Spinoza scholastically, that a mode is not any distinct or separate existence.
    • It must be the very same with its substance.
    • Consequently, the extension of the universe must be in a manner identified with that simple, uncompounded essence, in which the universe is supposed to inhere.
  • But it may be pretended that this is utterly impossible and inconceivable unless the indivisible substance expands itself, so as to correspond to:
    • the extension, or
    • the extension contract itself
      • so as to answer to the indivisible substance.
  • This argument seems just.
    • Only a change of terms is needed to apply the same argument to our extended perceptions
    • The simple essence of the soul and the ideas of objects and perceptions are the same.
      • They only have a supposition of a difference, that is unknown and incomprehensible.
  • Secondly, It has been said, that we do not have any idea:
    • of substance which is not applicable to matter
    • of a distinct substance which is not applicable to every distinct portion of matter.
  • Matter, therefore, is not a mode but a substance.
    • Each part of matter is not a distinct mode, but a distinct substance.
  • We have no perfect idea of substance.
    • We take it for something that can exist by itself.
    • Thus:
      • every perception is a substance
      • every distinct part of a perception is a distinct substance.
    • Consequently, the one hypothesis labours under the same difficulties with the other.
  • Thirdly, It has been objected to the system of one simple substance in the universe, that this substance is the support or substratum of everything.
    • It must at the very same instant be modified into forms which are contrary and incompatible.
    • The round and square figures are incompatible in the same substance at the same time.
  • How then is it possible, that the same substance can at once be modified into that square table, and into this round one?
    • I ask the same question concerning the impressions of these tables.
    • I find that the answer is no more satisfactory in one case than in the other.
  • Whatever side we turn to, the same difficulties follow us.
  • We cannot advance one step towards the establishing the soul’s simplicity and immateriality without preparing the way for a dangerous and irrecoverable atheism.
  • The same is true if we call ‘thought’ in the more ancient and popular name of ‘action’, instead of ‘a modification of the soul’.
    • We mean the same thing in ‘action’ as what we mean in an ‘abstract mode’.
    • We mean something:
      • indistinguishable and inseparable from its substance
      • only conceived by a distinction of:
        • reason, or
        • an abstraction.
  • Nothing is gained by this name change of ‘modification’ for ‘action’.
    • We do not free ourselves from one single difficulty through it.
    • The two following reflections will show this.
  • First, the word ‘action’ can never justly be applied to any perception derived from a mind or thinking substance.
    • Our perceptions are all really different, separable, and distinguishable from each other and from everything we can imagine.
    • Therefore, it is impossible to conceive how they can be the action or abstract mode of any substance.
  • The instance of motion is commonly used to show how perception works, in the same way that an action is used to show how its substance works.
    • This confounds us than instructs us.
  • Motion to all appearance induces no real nor essential change on the body.
    • It only varies its relation to other objects.
  • There is a radical difference between:
    • a person in the morning walking a garden with friends, and
    • a person in the afternoon enclosed in a dungeon, full of terror, despair, and resentment.
  • This difference is different from what is produced on a body by the change of its situation.
    • We conclude that external objects have a separate existence from each other because of the distinction and separability of their ideas.
    • So when we make these ideas themselves our objects, we must draw the same conclusion concerning them, according to the precedent reasoning.
  • It is impossible for us to tell how the soul’s substance can admit of such differences and even contrarieties of perception without any fundamental change.
    • Consequently, we can never tell in what sense perceptions are actions of that substance.
  • Therefore, the use of the word ‘action’ unaccompanied with any meaning, instead of that of ‘modification’, makes no addition to our knowledge.
    • It is not of any advantage to the doctrine of the soul’s immateriality.
  • Secondly, if it brings any advantage to the cause of the soul’s immateriality, it must bring an equal advantage to the cause of atheism.
  • Do our Theologians pretend to make a monopoly of the word ‘action’?
  • Will the atheists likewise:
    • not take it?
    • affirm that:
      • plants, animals, men, etc. are just actions of one simple universal substance?
      • this universal substance exerts itself from a blind and absolute necessity?
  • You’ll say this is utterly absurd.
  • I say:
    • It is unintelligible.
    • It is impossible to discover any absurdity in the supposition that all the objects in nature are actions of one simple substance.
      • This absurdity will not be applicable to a like supposition on impressions and ideas.
  • From these hypotheses on the substance and local conjunction of our perceptions, we may pass to another
  • which is more intelligible than the former, and more important than the latter, viz. concerning the cause of our perceptions.
  • The schools commonly say that matter and motion are still matter and motion, however varied.
    • Matter and motion produce only a difference in the position and situation of objects.
  • Divide a body as often as you please, it is still body.
    • Place it in any figure and nothing ever results but figure, or the relation of parts.
    • Move it in any way, you still find motion or a change of relation.
  • It is absurd to imagine that:
    • a motion in a circle is nothing but a motion in a circle while a motion in an ellipse is also a passion or moral reflection
    • the shocking of two globular particles should become a sensation of pain
    • the meeting of two triangular particles should afford a pleasure.
  • These different shocks, variations, and mixtures are the only changes matter is susceptible of.
    • These never afford us any idea of thought or perception.
    • It is impossible that thought can ever be caused by matter.
  • Few have been able to withstand the seeming evidence of this argument.
    • Yet it is the easiest in the world to refute it.
  • We only need to reflect that:
    • we are never sensible of any connection between causes and effects
    • it is only by our experience of their constant conjunction, we can arrive at any knowledge of this relation.
  • All objects which are not contrary, are susceptible of a constant conjunction.
    • No real objects are contrary (Part 3. Sec. 15).
    • Thus, to consider the matter A PRIORI:
      • anything may produce anything
      • we shall never discover a reason why any object may or may not be the cause of any other, no matter the resemblance between them.
  • This destroys the precedent reasoning on the cause of thought or perception.
    • There is no connection between motion or thought.
    • The case is the same with all other causes and effects.
  • Place a pound weight on one end of a lever and another pound weight on another end.
    • You will never find any principle of motion in these bodies dependent on their distances from the center, more than of thought and perception.
  • If you pretend to prove a priori that such a position of bodies can never cause thought because it is nothing but a position of bodies, turn it in whatever way, you must conclude that it can never produce motion.
    • Since there is no more apparent connection in the one case than in the other.
    • But this latter conclusion is contrary to experience.
  • We might:
    • have a like experience in the mind’s operations
    • may perceive a constant conjunction of thought and motion.
  • You reason too hastily when you conclude that:
    • it is impossible that motion can ever produce thought, or
    • a different position of parts can give rise to a different passion or reflection from the mere consideration of the ideas
  • We certainly have such an experience.
    • Everyone may perceive that the different dispositions of his body change his thoughts and sentiments.
  • If it would be said that this change depends on the union of soul and body, I would answer that we must separate the question on the mind’s substance from the substance of the cause of its thought.
    • If we compare the ideas of the substance of the mind and of the cause of its thought, we will find that thought and motion are:
      • different from each other
      • constantly united by experience.
  • which being all the circumstances, that enter into the idea of cause and effect, when applied to the operations of matter, motion is the cause of thought and perception.
  • Only this dilemma is left to us:
    • to assert that nothing can be the cause of another, but where the mind can perceive the connection in its idea of the objects, or
    • to maintain that all objects we find constantly conjoined are to be regarded as causes and effects.
  • If we choose the first part of the dilemma, these are the consequences.
    • First, we in reality affirm that there is no such thing as:
      • a cause or productive principle
      • the deity himself.
    • Our idea of that supreme Being is derived from particular impressions.
      • None of those impressions contain any efficacy, nor seem to have any connection with any other existence.
  • I has been said that the connection between the idea of an infinitely powerful being and the idea of any effect he wills, is necessary and unavoidable.
    • I answer that we have no idea of a being endowed with any power, much less of one endowed with infinite power.
  • But if we will change expressions, we can only define power by connection.
  • The idea of an infinitely powerful being is connected with the idea of every effect which he wills.
  • We only do assert that a being, whose volition is connected with every effect, is connected with every effect.
    • This is an identical proposition.
    • It gives us no insight into the nature of this power or connection.
  • Secondly, supposing that the deity were the great and effective principle which supplies the deficiency of all causes, this leads us into the grossest impieties and absurdities.
  • For on the same account, that we have recourse to him in natural operations and assert that matter cannot of itself communicate motion, or produce thought because there is no apparent connection between these objects.
  • I say on the very same account, we must acknowledge that the deity is the author of all our volitions and perceptions.
    • Since they have no more apparent connection with one another or with the supposed but unknown substance of the soul.
  • This agency of the supreme Being we know to have been asserted by several philosophers (Father Malebranche and other Cartesians) with relation to all the mind’s actions, except volition, or rather an inconsiderable part of volition.
    • It is easy to perceive that this exception is a mere pretext to avoid the dangerous consequences of that doctrine.
  • If nothing is active but what has an apparent power, thought is in no case any more active than matter
    • If this inactivity must make us have recourse to a deity, the supreme being is the real cause of all our actions, bad as well as good, vicious as well as virtuous.
  • Thus, we are necessarily reduced to the other side of the dilemma, that all objects constantly conjoined are only to be regarded as causes and effects.
    • All objects which are not contrary are susceptible of a constant conjunction.
  • No real objects are contrary.
    • It follows that for ought we can determine by the mere ideas, anything may be the cause or effect of anything
    • This evidently gives the advantage to the materialists above their antagonists.
  • The question on the soul’s substance is absolutely unintelligible.
  • All our perceptions are not susceptible of a local union with what is extended or unextended.
    • Some of them is of the one kind, and some of the other.
  • The constant conjunction of objects constitutes the very essence of cause and effect.
    • Matter and motion may often be regarded as the causes of thought, as far as we have any notion of that relation.
  • It is an indignity to philosophy, whose sovereign authority should everywhere be acknowledged, to oblige her always to:
    • make apologies for her conclusions
    • justify herself to every particular art and science, which may be offended at her.
  • This puts one in mind of a king arraigned for high-treason against his subjects.
    • There is only one occasion when philosophy will think it necessary and even honourable to justify herself.
    • That is when religion is in the least offended.
      • The rights of religion are as dear to philosophy as her own, and are the same.
  • Therefore, if anyone imagines that the foregoing arguments are dangerous to religion, I hope the following apology will remove his apprehensions.
  • There is no foundation for any conclusion a priori, on the operations or duration of any object of which it is possible for the human mind to form a conception.
    • Any object may be imagined to:
      • become entirely inactive, or
      • be annihilated in a moment.
  • It is an evident principle that whatever we can imagine is possible.
    • This is no more true of matter, than of spirit of an extended compounded substance, than of a simple and unextended.
  • In both cases:
    • the metaphysical arguments for the immortality of the soul are equally inconclusive:
    • the moral arguments and those derived from the analogy of nature are equally strong and convincing.
  • Therefore, if my philosophy makes no addition to the arguments for religion, it at least takes nothing from them.
    • Everything remains precisely as before.

Words: 5742

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