Appendix

Appendix

  • I am most wiling to confess my errors.
    • I think corrections are more honourable than the most unerring judgment.
    • A man without mistakes can pretend to no praises, except from the justness of his understanding.
  • But a man who corrects his own mistakes, shows:
    • the justness of his understanding, and
    • the candour and ingenuity of his temper.
  • I have discovered only one considerable mistake in my reasonings.
    • I have found that some of my expressions have not been so well chosen.
      • It has caused mistakes with the readers.
    • I have added this appendix to remedy this defect.

 

  • We can never be induced to believe any matter of fact, except where its cause or effect is present to us.
    • But few have asked themselves what is the nature of that belief arising from the relation of cause and effect.
    • I think this dilemma is inevitable.
  • Either the belief is:
    • some new idea, such as that of reality or existence which we join to the simple conception of an object, or
    • it is merely a peculiar feeling or sentiment.
  • Two arguments may indicate that it is not a new idea annexed to the simple conception.
    • First, we have no abstract idea of existence distinguishable and separable from the idea of particular objects.
      • Therfore, it is impossible that this idea of existence can:
        • be annexed to the idea of any object, or
        • form the difference between a simple conception and belief.
    • Secondly, the mind:
      • has the command over all its ideas
      • can separate, unite, mix, and vary them, as it pleases.
        • If belief consisted merely in a new idea, annexed to the conception, it would be in a man’s power to believe what he pleased.
  • Therefore, we may conclude that belief consists merely in:
    • a certain feeling or sentiment, and
    • in something that does not depend on the will, but must arise from certain determinate causes and principles, which we are not masters of.
  • When we are convinced of any matter of fact, we only conceive it with a feeling different from what attends the reveries of the imagination.
    • When we express our incredulity on any fact, we mean that the arguments for the fact do not produce that feeling.
  • If the belief did not consist in a sentiment different from our mere conception, whatever objects were presented by the wildest imagination, would be on an equal footing with the most established truths founded on history and experience.
    • There is nothing but the feeling or sentiment to distinguish the one from the other.
  • Belief is nothing but a peculiar feeling different from the simple conception.
    • What then is the nature of this feeling?
    • Is it analogous to any other sentiment?
  • This question is important.
    • If it is not analogous to any other sentiment, we must:
      • despair of explaining its causes, and
      • consider it as an original principle of the human mind.
    • If it is analogous, we may:
      • explain its causes from analogy, and
      • trace it up to more general principles.
  • There is a greater firmness and solidity in the conceptions which are the objects of conviction and assurance, than in the loose and indolent reveries of a castle-builder.
    • They strike us with more force.
    • They are more present to us.
    • The mind:
      • has a firmer hold of them
      • is more actuated and moved by them
      • acquiesces in them, and
      • fixes and reposes itself on them.
  • In short, they approach nearer to the impressions which are:
    • immediately present to us, and
    • analogous to many other operations of the mind.
  • The only way to evade this conclusion is to assert that belief consists in some impression or feeling, distinguishable from its simple conception.
    • It does not:
      • modify the conception, nor
      • render it more present and intense.
    • It is only annexed to it in the same way that will and desire are annexed to particular conceptions of good and pleasure.
  • But I hope that the following considerations will be sufficient to remove this hypothesis.
  • First, It is directly contrary to experience and our immediate consciousness.
    • Everyone has thought that:
      • reasoning is merely an operation of our thoughts or ideas.
      • however those ideas may be different from the feeling, only ideas or our fainter conceptions enter into our conclusions.
    • For instance, I hear a voice in the next room from a person I know.
      • This impression from my senses immediately creates thoughts about the person, with all the surrounding objects.
      • I paint them as presently existing, with the same qualities and relations, that I knew they had.
      • These ideas are created faster than the ideas of an enchanted castle.
        • They are different to the feeling.
        • But there is no distinct or separate impression attending them.
    • It is the same case when I recollect the several incidents of a journey, or the events of any history.
      • Every particular fact there is the object of belief.
      • Its idea is modified differently from the loose reveries of a castle-builder.
      • But no distinct impression attends every distinct idea, or conception of matter of fact.
        • This is the subject of plain experience.
      • This experience can only be disputed when the mind has been agitated with doubts and difficulties.
      • The mind fixes and reposes itself in one settled conclusion and belief after it:
        • takes the object in a new point of view, or
        • is presented with a new argument.
      • In this case, there is a feeling distinct and separate from the conception.
      • The passage from doubt and agitation to tranquility and repose, gives satisfaction and pleasure to the mind.
    • But suppose I see the legs of a moving person, while some object conceals the rest of his body.
      • The imagination spreads out the whole figure.
      • I give him a head, shoulders, breast and neck.
      • This whole operation is done by the thought or imagination alone.
      • The transition is immediate.
      • The ideas presently strike us.
        • Their customary connection with the present impression varies and modifies them.
        • But they produce no act of the mind, distinct from this peculiarity of conception.
      • Anyone who examines his own mind will find this to be true.

 

  • Secondly, the mind has a steadier conception of what it takes to be matter of fact, than of fictions.
    • Why then look any farther, or multiply suppositions without necessity?

 

  • Thirdly, we can explain the causes of the firm conception, but not the causes of any separate impression.
    • The causes of the firm conception exhaust the whole subject.
    • Nothing is left to produce any other effect.
    • An inference concerning a matter of fact is nothing but the idea of an object that is:
      • frequently conjoined, or
      • associated with a present impression.
    • This is the whole of it.
      • Every part is requisite to explain, from analogy, the more steady conception.
      • Nothing else can produce any distinct impression.

 

  • Fourthly, the effects of belief, in influencing the passions and imagination, can all be explained from the firm conception.
    • There is no need for any other principle.
  • These arguments were enumerated in the foregoing volumes.
    • They sufficiently prove that belief only modifies the idea or conception.
    • They render it different to the feeling, without producing any distinct impression.
  • There are two important questions which we may recommend to philosophers.
    • Is there anything to distinguish belief from the simple conception beside the feeling of sentiment?
    • Is this feeling just a firmer conception or a faster hold that we take of the object?
  • If philosophers assent to my conclusion, the next business is to:
    • examine the analogy between belief and other acts of the mind
    • find the cause of the firmness and strength of conception.
  • This is not difficult.
    • The transition from a present impression, always enlivens and strengthens any idea.
  • When any object is presented, the idea of its usual attendant immediately strikes us, as something real and solid.
    • It is felt, rather than conceived.
    • It approaches the impression, from which it is derived, in its force and influence.
    • This I have proved at large.
    • I cannot add any new arguments.
  • I had hoped that no matter how deficient our theory of the intellectual world might be, it would be free from those contradictions and absurdities in every explanation of the material world.
  • But on a stricter review of the section on personal identity, I find myself involved in such a labyrinth.
    • I confess I do not know how to correct my former opinions and render them consistent.
  • If this be not a good general reason for scepticism, it is at least a sufficient one (if I were not already abundantly supplied) for me to entertain a diffidence and modesty in all my decisions.
  • I shall propose the arguments on both sides.
    • I begin with those that induced me to deny the strict and proper identity and simplicity of a self.
  • When we talk of self or substance, we must have an idea annexed to these terms.
    • Otherwise they are unintelligible.
  • Every idea is derived from preceding impressions.
    • We have no impression of self or substance, as something simple and individual.
    • We therefore have idea of them in that sense.
  • Whatever is distinct is distinguishable.
    • Whatever is distinguishable, is separable by the thought or imagination.
  • All perceptions are distinct.
  • Therefore, they:
    • are distinguishable and separable,
    • may be conceived as separately existent, and
    • may exist separately without any contradiction or absurdity.
  • When I view this table and that chimney, only those particular perceptions are present to me, which are of a like nature with all the other perceptions.
    • This is the doctrine of philosophers.
  • But this table and the chimney present to me may exist separately.
    • This is the doctrine of the vulgar.
      • It implies no contradiction.
  • Therefore, there is no contradiction in extending the same doctrine to all the perceptions.
  • In general, the following reasoning seems satisfactory.
    • All ideas are borrowed from preceding perceptions.
    • Therefore, our ideas of objects are derived from perceptions.
  • Consequently, no proposition can be intelligible or consistent with regard to objects, which is not intelligible or consistent with regard to perceptions.
    • But it is intelligible and consistent to say, that objects exist distinct and independent, without any common simple substance or subject of inhesion.
    • Therefore, this proposition can never be absurd with regard to perceptions.
  • When I reflect on myself, I can never perceive this self without some one or more perceptions.
    • I can only perceive the perceptions.
  • Therefore, the composition of these forms the self.
    • We can conceive a thinking being to have many or few perceptions.
  • Suppose the mind is reduced below the life of an oyster.
    • Suppose it has only one perception, as of thirst or hunger.
    • Do you conceive anything but that perception?
    • Have you any notion of self or substance?
      • If not, the addition of other perceptions can never give you that notion.
  • Some people suppose death to be followed by the complete annihilation of this self.
    • Death is nothing but an extinction of all particular perceptions:
      • love and hatred,
      • pain and pleasure, and
      • thought and sensation.
    • Therefore, these must be the same with self, since the one cannot survive the other.
  • Is the self the same with substance?
    • If it is, how can that question have place concerning the subsistence of self, under a change of substance?
    • If they are distinct, what is the difference between them?
  • I have a notion of neither, when conceived distinct from particular perceptions.
  • Philosophers begin to be reconciled to the principle, that we have no idea of external substance, distinct from the ideas of particular qualities.
    • This must pave the way for a like principle with regard to the mind, that we have no notion of it, distinct from the particular perceptions.
  • So far I seem to be attended with sufficient evidence.
    • I explain the principle of connection which:
      • binds our perceptions together
      • makes us attribute a real simplicity and identity to them.
    • I know that my account is very defective.
    • I know that only the evidence of the precedent reasonings could have induced me to receive it.
  • If perceptions are distinct existences, they form a whole only by being connected together.
    • But no connections among distinct existences are ever discoverable by human understanding.
  • We only feel a connection or determination of the thought, to pass from one object to another.
    • Therefore, it follows that the thought alone finds personal identity, when reflecting on the train of past perceptions, that compose a mind
    • The ideas of them are felt to be connected together, and naturally introduce each other.
  • This conclusion may seem extraordinary.
    • But it should not surprise us.
  • Most philosophers think that:
    • personal identity arises from consciousness, and
    • consciousness is nothing but a reflected thought or perception.
  • Therefore, the present philosophy has so far a promising aspect.
    • But all my hopes vanish when explain the principles that unite our successive perceptions in our thought or consciousness.
    • I cannot discover any theory, which satisfies me on this.
  • In short, there are two inconsistent principles:
    1. All our distinct perceptions are distinct existences
    2. The mind never perceives any real connection among distinct existences.
      • I cannot renounce either of them.
  • There would be no difficulty if:
    • our perceptions inhered in something simple and individual, or
    • the mind perceived some real connection among our perceptions.
  • I must:
    • plead the privilege of a sceptic, and
    • confess that this difficulty is too hard for my understanding.
  • It is not absolutely insuperable.
    • On more mature reflections may discover some hypothesis that will reconcile those contradictions.
  • I also confess two other smaller errors, which I have discovered from my more mature reflection.
    • The first is in Vol. 1, page 106, where I said that the distance between two bodies is known, among other things, by the angles which the rays of light flowing from the bodies make with each other.
      • These angles are not known to the mind.
      • They consequently can never discover the distance.
    • The second error is in Vol. 1, page 144 where I said that two ideas of the same object can only be different by their different degrees of force and vivacity.
  • I believe there are other differences among ideas which cannot properly be comprehended under these terms.
    • I would have been nearer the truth if I had said that two ideas of the same object can only be different by their different feeling.

Words: 2,366

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