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CHAPTER I - George Turnbull, The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 1: The Principles of Moral Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 1: The Principles of Moral Philosophy, ed. and with an Introduction by Alexander Broadie (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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The law of power, or activity.The first thing to be observed with regard to our make and state, is, “That we have a certain sphere of activity.”
Whatever disputes there are among philosophers about the freedom of our will, it is universally acknowledged, “That man has in several cases a power to do as he wills or pleases. Thus, if he wills to speak, or be silent, to sit down, or stand, ride, or walk; in fine, if his will changes like a weather-cock, he is able to do as he wills or pleases, unless prevented by some restraint or compulsion. He has also the same power in relation to the actions of his mind, as to those of the body. If he wills or pleases, he can think of this, or that subject, stop short, or pursue his thoughts, deliberate, or defer deliberation; resolve, or suspend his deliberations as he pleases,<25> unless prevented by pain, or a fit of an apoplexy, or some such intervening restraint or compulsion. And this, no doubt, is a great perfection for man to be able in relation both to his thoughts and actions, to do as he wills and pleases in all these cases of pleasure and interest. Had he this power or liberty in all things, he would be omnipotent.” And in having this power or liberty to a certain extent, does his superior excellence above the brute creation consist. Were not man so made, he would necessarily be a very low and mean creature in comparison of what he really is; as he is now constituted a free agent; or as he is invested with a certain extent of dominion and efficiency.
Power consists in dependence of effects upon the will.The power or dominion of a Being cannot consist in any thing else, but the dependence of certain effectsa upon its will as to their existence or non-existence. Its sphere of activity, liberty and efficiency is larger or narrower in proportion to the extent of this dependence on its will; for so far as it reaches does ones command or will reach. Now how far human power or activity extends; or, in other words,It is a perfection to have power. what are with respect to man the principal τα εϕ ημιν,25 will appear as we advance in this enquiry. Mean time, it is certainly necessary, in order to our dignity and perfection, that we should have a certain dominion and power in nature assigned to us. This, doubtless, is a greater perfection, than having no power, no command, no sphere of activity. Without power, creatures cannot make any acquisition: being capable of virtue and merit, necessarily presupposes some power or dominion.
Of human power.It is matter of universal experience, that, in the present state, a large share of what we enjoy or suffer is put in our own power; or, in other words, that pleasure and pain are the natural consequences of our actions. And consequently, the general method<26> of the author of nature, with regard to us, may be justly said to be teaching, or forewarning us by experience in consequence, of having endued us with the capacity of observing the connexions of things, that if we act so and so, we shall obtain such enjoyments, and if so and so, we shall have such and such sufferings.With regard to animal life and its functions. That is, the author of nature gives us such and such enjoyments; or makes us feel such and such pains in consequence of our actions. We find, by experience, our maker does not so much as preserve our lives independent of our own care and vigilance to provide for our sustenance, to ward against destruction, and to make a proper use of the means appointed by nature for our safety and well-being. And, in general, all the external objects of our various, natural appetites and affections, can neither be obtained, nor enjoyed without our exerting ourselves in the ways appointed to have them; but, by thus exerting ourselves, we obtain and enjoy those objects in which our natural good consists.With respect to moral attainments. In like manner, our progress in knowledge, in any art, or in any virtue, all moral improvements depend upon ourselves: they, with the goods resulting from them, can only be acquired by our own application, or by setting ourselves to acquire them according to the natural methods of acquiring them.Why it is so. This is really our state; such really is the general law of our natures.
Now, if it is asked, why the author of nature does not give to mankind promiscuously such and such perceptions without regard to their actions, or independently of themselves, as nature seems to do with inferior creatures? The answer is obvious, ’Tis because he has made moral agents as well as lower animals. For it is self-evident, that nothing can be called a moral attainment or perfection, but what is acquired by one’s own exercise or application to attain to it. There must be a very high and noble pleasure in considering any quality as one’s own acquisition,<27> which no Beings can have but those who are capable of making improvements and advancements by their own application, or who have a certain power and dominion in nature by which they can make purchases. Such Beings alone can have the satisfaction of looking upon any thing as their own; the pleasure of adding to their own happiness, or to that of others; and of approving themselves for the right use of their own powers in so doing; which are the highest of all enjoyments. In fine, without supposing the capacity of foreseeing consequences, and of willing and chusing to act in such and such manners, in order to attain to certain ends; virtue, merit, good and ill desert have no meaning at all. The capacity of attaining to certain goods, by our own powers duly exercised and applied, is the very basis of moral perfection.Our natural perfection consists in our being so constituted. It is in consequence of our having power to make considerable acquisitions by our industry; or by duly exercising our natural faculties, that man rises in the scale of life and perfection, as a moral agent capable of virtue and merit, praise, or blame, above merely perceptive beings, who never act or acquire, but are in all cases passive and acted upon. This is too evident to be longer insisted upon.
“It is therefore a perfection to have a certain sphere of activity, power, liberty, or dominion.”
Such power supposes nature to be governed by general laws.II. “But a sphere of power or activity, supposes the prevalence of general laws, as far as that sphere of power or activitya extends.” This is as plain, as it is, that goods cannot be obtained, nor pains be avoided by us, unless there is a fixed way of getting the one, and shuning the other, which may be foreseen and pursued. What is attainable, supposes a capacity and a certain way of attaining it, and what is evitable, supposes a capacity<28> and a certain way of escaping it. But a capacity and a way of attaining to; and a capacity and way of escaping certain ends and consequences, suppose general fixed uniform connexions in nature between certain manners of acting and certain consequences: that is, they suppose fixed, uniform and general laws with regard to the exercises of powers or actions. Were there not a certain fixed way of having or avoiding certain sensations, we could not have them nor avoid them as we will. And, in like manner, were there not a fixed way of attaining to knowledge, we could not possibly acquire it: were there not a fixed way of moving the passions, there could be no art of moving them: were there not a fixed way of conquering appetites and desires, we could not obtain the command and mastership of them: and so on with regard to all our powers, dispositions and affections, and their exercises and attainments. The same Author of nature, who hath conferred certain faculties upon us, must have established certain laws and connexions with regard to the exercises of them, and their effects and consequences; otherwise we could not know how to turn them to any account, how to employ them, or make any use of them.
Conclusion.The result of all this is in general, “That we can have no liberty, no dominion, no sphere of activity and power, natural or moral, unless the natural and moral world are governed by general laws: or so far only as they are so governed can any created beings have power or efficiency: so far only can effects be dependent on their will as to their existence or non-existence.”
We are now to enquire into some of these general laws which constitute our power.Now, it being fit that we should have a sphere of activity constituted by general laws regulating the dependence of certain effects on our will, it only remains to be enquired what these general laws, that make our sphere of activity, are; and what their <29> consequences are with respect to good or evil, happiness or misery.
First general law. Intelligent power must depend on knowledge, and encrease with it.III. The first thing remarkable with regard to our sphere of activity is, “that our power and dominion encreases with our knowledge.” Our power in the natural world encreases with our knowledge of the natural world. Thus, by the augmentation of our knowledge of the connexions that make the material or sensible world; or, in other words, of the properties of bodies, how much is our empire over sea, air, fire, and every element encreased? when any property of matter becomes known to us, then are we able to render it subservient to some use in life. And therefore in proportion to our advances in the knowledge and imitation of nature, have arts been invented, that are really so many additions to our power and dominion in the sensible world.In the natural World. It is the same with regard to the moral world. All true observations relative to the human mind, its powers and operations, and the connexions of moral objects do in like manner add to our moral dominion; to our empire over ourselves and others. Thus the knowledge of the passions, and their natural bearings and dependencies encrease our power and skill in governing them, by shewing us how they may be strengthned or diminished; directed to proper objects, or taken off from the pursuit of improper ones; in short, how they may be variously regulated so as to answer certain ends. No connexion belonging to the human mind, no law relative to intelligence, or the affections has been discovered, which has not, or may not be made conducive either to the direction of our conduct, or to the improvement of some pleasant and useful art.And in the moral world. It is not moral philosophy only, or the science of the conduct of life that depends upon the knowledge of the human mind; oratory, poetry, and all the fine arts which have it for their end and scope to touch the human<30> heart agreeably, do no less depend than morality and politics, upon the science of the human affections, and their natural dependence and ballance.
In general therefore, the increase of knowledge is necessary to the encrease of dominion; or rather, it is really an enlargement of power and property. Power not guided and directed by knowledge is not properly power, it is brute or blind force.It is because knowledge depends on us that we have or can acquire power. But intelligent power can only augment with knowledge, or intelligence. It is therefore because knowledge is dependent on us, or may be acquired by us, that we can have any power, any sphere of activity; were not the acquisition of knowledge dependent upon us to a certain degree, we could not have any power at all, nothing could be dependent upon us.
If knowledge be progressive, intelligent power must likewise be so.IV. But the encrease of our power depends upon the encrease of our knowledge; and therefore, if our knowledge must be suaccessive or progressive, so must our power be. Now, “that knowledge must be progressive is evident beyond all doubt.” Being gradually acquired by our application to study nature, take in ideas and compare them, it not only gives us a succession of growing pleasures; but it cannot but be progressive. For, 1. Nature itself, the sole object of all real knowledge, is successive or progressive. What else can direct our conduct, enable us to imitate nature, or to perform any operation in order to attain to any end, but the knowledge of nature’s laws?Knowledge cannot but be progressive. But nature is progressive in all its productions: and general rules or canons can only be inferred by induction, from the observation of many individuals, or from many experiments about particular objects. Creatures cannot possibly attain to the knowledge of analogies, harmonies and general laws, any other way, than by going over many particular effects which do not all exist at once, but are successive; and by comparing them one with another. 2. And as for abstract or theoretic knowledge,<31> (as mathematics for instance) which is collected from the comparison of ideas and their relations amongst themselves; that must likewise be progressive; because discoveries made this way are nothing but the different appearances, ideas and their relations offer to the mind in different views or juxta-positions. When the immediate juxta-position of known relations is not sufficient to give the mind the view it desires, but intermediate ideas must be employed in order to make the agreement or disagreement in question appear; then it is plain, however fast the mind may mount, yet it must mount by steps. And even where the immediate juxta-position of ideas, without any intermediate mean of comparison, is sufficient, yet one and the same juxta-position can produce but one view, or one truth. In order to every discovery, there must be a different position of objects; for perceiving truth, is nothing but perceiving the agreement or disagreement of ideas in consequence of some one or other way of placing or disposing them in respect to one another. It is perceiving the relations of ideas by comparing them; and no position can be any other position but that one which it is. In fine, all real knowledge must be progressive, because nature is successive; and the laws of nature can only be gathered from particular effects by induction. And all theoretic knowledge must be progressive, because the mind cannot possibly see ideas in different situations or juxta-positions to one another at one and the same time. That is absolutely impossible with regard to created minds.
“Our knowledge therefore is progressive.”
Knowledge must depend on our situations for taking in ideas or views.V. “This knowledge, which is in its nature progressive, must depend upon our situations to take in ideas or views.” It must be different as these are different, narrow if these be narrow, and proportionably large as these are large and extensive. 1. It is certain, that the knowledge of no being can possibly<32> exceed or go beyond its ideas. Ideas are the materials of knowledge. It cannot therefore extend further than our ideas; and consequently it cannot reach beyond experience, the only source of all our ideas. 2. Now, if it is asked, why men are placed in different situations? it may be answered, 1. It is because men are made for society, which, as shall be proved in its place, requires that men should be placed in different situations for many wise reasons; and with respect to knowledge, and social intercourse in that way, (for that is all that belongs to the present question) there is this obvious good end or it, even that being placed as it were in various points of sight with regard to nature the common object of our contemplation and imitation, men might thus have different prospects or views of the same object to compare one with another, and only be able to make out a tolerably adequate idea of any object by mutual assistance. 2. In whatever situation any man is placed, he may take in ideas that will afford him an exhaustless fund of pleasing contemplation. For what object does not as it were defy our intellect to exhaust it? however far we advance in any enquiry, there will still remain a surplusage of research with regard to its object, that can never be wholly gone through. Every field of speculation widens and enlarges to our view in proportion as we make progress in it. But, 3.Men must have different situations and views. Let us consider well what is demanded, when it is asked, why all men are not in the same situations, or precisely equal, or like ones for taking in ideas? For, in reality, it amounts to asking, why all different places in nature are not the same: since every different one must be a different point of sight. Now, whatever may be the case with respect to spirits without bodies; corporeal beings cannot penetrate one another and occupy the same space; different bodies must have each its own proper place peculiar to it; and consequently, every embodied being must have its own point of sight, or place of<33> observation, which no other can possess at the same time. 4. Nor is this all, every embody’d being must have its own particular organization distinguished by peculiar differences from that of every other of the same species, tho’ similar to them all, in such a manner, that they all are of the same specific sort. And must it not necessarily follow from this, that the sensible world to each individual of the same species, will be just as similar to the sensible world of any other, as their organizations are similar, and just as different as their organizations are different? The external, material world, whether it be called the external cause, or occasion of those sensible ideas and their connexions, which make to each of us what we call the sensible world, is entirely out of the question, when we speak of sensations excited by it in each individual mind according to certain fixed laws. It may be the same, immutable thing in itself. But as for the sensations produced in us from without by means of a material organization, these must be as different as the organizations are, by which they are produced.With respect to the sensible world. And it is not more certain, that the organizations of men being so like, that they may be justly said to be specifically the same; our sensations conveyed from without, must likewise be so like, that they may be said to be specifically the same; than it is certain, that our organizations, notwithstanding their specifical agreement, being really so different, that every one is justly said to have a peculiar organization, our sensations conveyed from without must like-wise be so different, that every one of us may be said to have different sensations. So that, in reality, there are not only as many different sensible worlds in species, as there are various species of sensitive beings; but there are as many different sensible worlds, as there are different or particular organizations of sensitive beings of any one species. It is similarity amidst vast variety with respect to sensations, and the orders in which they are conveyed, in consequence of similarity<34> amidst variety of organizations, that is the foundation of close and intimate intercourse among individuals of the same sensitive species. And the reason why there can only be a remote and very general intercourse among sensitive beings of a different species is, because there can only be a general similarity between their sensations.
In like manner with regard to mental frame and the moral world.VI. But which is yet more, every individual of any species of rational beings, howsoever like it may be specifically to the others of the same species, must however have its own particular fabrick of mind, and peculiar cast of understanding; and consequently, every one must take in views in a manner some what different from every other. The views of every one of the same species will be similar, their fabrick of mind being similar; but their views will likewise be different, every man’s complexion, or cast of understanding being different. Similarity of views in consequence of similarity of constitution is all that can constitute the same species of minds; and it will be a sufficient foundation for a close and intimate commerce among beings, that cannot possibly take place among minds differing from one another in species.
But if every body must have its particular organization, and every mind its particular fabrick, and consequently the sensations, perceptions, ideas, and views of every individual embodied mind must be peculiar; not precisely the same, but different; the only question with regard to our fabrick and situations for receiving or forming ideas, or for taking in and forming views, must be, “Whether there is not such a similarity and agreement amongst us in these, as makes our species capable of very much happiness in the way of social correspondence and intercourse?” Now, that we are so constituted, is very plain; since we are so made, that, notwithstanding all the variety amongst mankind, whether<35> in mental structure or bodily organization, it is hardly possible for us to mistake one another in our correspondence with regard to our sensations conveyed from without; and it is very possible for us to come to a right understanding with one another about all the other objects of our contemplation, enquiry and mutual commerce. But this reasoning will be better understood when we come to consider the effects of our relation to a sensible world by means of our bodies.
Thus then we have seen, that “our knowledge, without which we can have no power, must be progressive, and must depend upon our situation for taking in views or ideas.”
Knowledge must depend upon industry to acquire it.VII. But “it must likewise depend upon our application to make progress in it.” For, as it hath been shewn, this is the general law with regard to our nature; that the greater part of our happiness, shall be our own purchase. And what depends upon a being’s own purchase, must necessarily depend upon its exerting itself with more or less vigour and activity to make that purchase. It is therefore needless to dwell upon this head.
VIII. But there are yet two other remarkable circumstances, with regard to our capacity of making progress in knowledge. 1st. The difference amongst men in point of powers and abilities. 2dly, The dependence of our progress in knowledge upon our situations for receiving assistances by social communication.
It must depend upon difference with respect to natural abilities.Now as to the first, it will be easily granted that a difference in powers must make a difference with respect to progress in knowledge. And that all men have not equal abilities, for making proficiency in knowledge, is a fact beyond dispute. Wherefore the only remaining question on this head is with regard to the fitness of inequalities among mankind, in respect of powers; but this cannot be called into doubt, without denying the<36> fitness of making man a social creature, or of intending him for society and social happiness: since the interchange of good offices, in which society consists, necessarily supposes mutual dependence in consequence of mutual wants; and not only variety of talents, as well as of tastes, and tempers; but likewise superiority and inferiority, in respect of powers. Without such differences and inequalities, mankind would be, in a great measure, a number of independent individuals: or at least there would be no place for the greater part of those various employments and reciprocal obligations, without which, or some others analogous to them, there can be no community. This is as certain and obvious, as that giving supposes a receiver, as well as a giver; and that giving can only be necessary, where there is something wanted: One cannot bestow, or give what he has not; and he who is supplied or redressed, must have been in want or distress, previously to the relief received.
Progress in knowledge must depend on social assistances.As for the other, it is beyond all doubt. For in conversation, how does fancy warm and sprout! It is then that invention is most fertile, and that imagination is most vigorous and sprightly. The best way of getting to the bottom of any subject is by canvassing and sounding it in company: then is an object presented to us by turns in all its various lights, so that one is able, as it were, to see round it. As iron sharpens iron, so does conversation whet wit and invention. Ideas flow faster into the mind, and marshal themselves more easily and naturally into good order in society, than in solitary study. In fine, to be convinced of the happy effects of society in this respect, we need only compare a peasant confined to his hut and herd in the country, with a mechanic of the lowest order in a great city.a And when<37> we look into the history of arts and sciences or of mankind in general, nothing is more evident, than that learning of whatever sort, and arts and sciences, never made any great progress but in places of large and extensive commerce. There always was and always will be such a connexion; because men were intended by nature to arrive at perfection in a social way; or by united endeavours. Now as for that fitness, it cannot be called into question no more than the other just mentioned, unless it be said, it is not fit that men should be made for partnership, or for social happiness. For, how can beings be made for society without being so formed as to stand in need of one another; so made as to have pleasure in social communication; and to receive mutual benefits and assistances, or succours from one another in the exercises of their powers; or, unless their perfection and happiness be such a one as can only be acquired by social union and united force? But what relates to society shall be more fully considered in another place.
From what hath been said, it is clear, 1. “That it is the general law of our natures with regard to our dominion, power or liberty, that it shall depend upon our progress in knowledge.”Recapitulation. 2. That it is the general law of our natures with regard to knowledge, “That being in the nature of things progressive, it can only be acquired by experience in proportion to our application, and to our situation for taking in ideas and views, and to our situation for receiving assistances by social communication.” So that if men’s natural abilities be equal, their progress in knowledge will be in proportion to their situation for receiving ideas, and for receiving assistances by social communication: and if their situations are equal in both these respects, their progress in knowledge will be in proportion to their natural abilities, or their industry and application. But as one’s knowledge is, so will his capacity or skill be of employing all his other<38> powers. Intelligent power supposes intelligence or knowledge.
The laws with respect to our intelligent power and progress in knowledge are good.Now all these laws or circumstances relative to knowledge and intelligent action, having been proved to be either necessary or fit; it must follow, that all the phenomena which are reducible to these laws of nature are good, being the effects of good general laws. For without general laws there can be no power or sphere of activity; and all the interests of intelligent beings require, that the laws relative to them be general, that they may be ascertainable by them.
But we shall have yet a clearer view of our make and constitution with respect to knowledge, if we consider a little the faculties and dispositions with which we are provided and furnished for making progress in knowledge.
Instances of the care and concern of nature about us, with regard to knowledge consistently with the preceeding laws.Let us, however, before we go further, observe; that tho’ knowledge be progressive and dependent on our diligence and application to improve in it, yet the care of nature about us with regard to knowledge is very remarkable in several instances.
I. The wisdom and goodness of nature appears with great evidence, in making a part of knowledge, which it is necessary for us to have in our infant state, and before we can think,First instance. meditate, compare and reason, as it were unavoidable, or impossible not to be acquired by us insensibly; while, at the same time, knowledge is in the main progressive, and can only be acquired gradually in proportion to our diligence to improve in it. For how soon, how exceeding quickly do we learn by experience to form very ready judgments concerning such laws and connexions in the sensible world, as it is absolutely necessary to our well-being, that we should early know; or be able to judge of betimes with great readiness, or almost instantaneously? How soon do we learn to judge of magnitudes, distances and forms, and of<39> the connexions between the ideas of sight and touch, as far, at least, as the common purposes and conveniencies of life require; in so much, that when we are grown up and begin to reflect, we have quite forgot, how we learned these connexions, and became able to judge of them so readily. Nay, when we come to play the philosopher about them, it is very difficult for us not to confound those ideas, which are however totally distinct from one another, and only connected together by the institution of the Author of nature. It is indeed with wonderful facility that we learn any language in our tender years; but this most useful of all languages for us to know, the language of nature, as it may very properly be called, is what we learn soonest, and as it were necessarily and insensibly.a
Second instance.II. The wisdom and goodness of nature does no less evidently appear in directing and admonishing us by uneasy sensations to provide necessary supplies for our bodies, and to defend them against what is hurtful to them. For thus, nature teaches and instructs us in the knowledge of what is prejudicial to us, or necessary for our preservation; and how highly inconvenient it would have been, not to be thus admonished by nature, since knowledge must be progressive, and can only be acquired gradually from experience and observation in proportion to our application to advance in it, is too manifest to need any proof. But of this afterwards in its proper place.
Third instance.III. The wisdom and goodness of nature likewise discovers itself, in giving us a rule to guide us in our moral conduct, distinct from and antecedent to all our knowledge acquired by reasoning, which is a moral sense of beauty and deformity in affections,<40> actions and characters, by means of which, an affection, action or character, no sooner presents itself to our mind, than it is necessarily approved or disapproved by us. Human nature is not left quite indifferent in the affair of virtue to form itself, observations concerning the advantages and disadvantages of actions, and accordingly to regulate its conduct. Reason must be grown up to very great maturity, and be very considerably improved by exercise and culture, before men can be able to go through those long deductions, which shew some actions to be in the whole advantageous to the agent, and their contraries pernicious. But the Author of nature has much better furnished us for a virtuous conduct than many philosophers seem to imagine, or, at least are willing to grant, by almost as quick and powerful instructions as we have for the preservation of our bodies. He has given us strong affections to be the springs of each virtuous action, and made virtue a lovely form that we might easily distinguish it from its contrary, and be made happy by the pursuit of it. As the Author of nature has determined us to receive by our outward senses, pleasant or disagreeable ideas of objects, according as they are useful or hurtful to our bodies, and to receive from uniform objects the pleasures of beauty and harmony, to excite us to the pursuit of knowledge, and to reward us for it; in the same manner, he has given us a moral sense to direct our actions, and to give us still nobler pleasures; so that while we are only intending the good of others, we undesignedly promote our own greatest private good.a
Fourth instance.IV. The wisdom and goodness of nature shews itself very clearly, in wonderfully adapting our minds to be satisfied with evidence suited to our external condition and circumstances. We are made<41> for acquiring knowledge or information concerning the frame of nature, and the connexions of things from experience; but we must in innumerable cases act upon probability, that is, upon presumptions founded upon analogy or likeness: and accordingly, in this kind of evidence, we feel great satisfaction and contentment of mind. That we must, in innumerable cases, act upon probable evidence, is a fact too evident to need any proof; and that acting upon probable evidence, is acting upon presumptions founded upon analogy or likeness, will likewise be readily acknowledged by all who will allow themselves to consider what probability means. That which chiefly constitutes it, is expressed in the word likely; that is,a like some known truth or true event; like, in itself, in its evidence, in some more or fewer of its circumstances. Now, it belongs to the subject of logick to enquire into the nature, the foundation and measure of probability, or to reduce the extent, compass or force of analogical reasoning, to general observations and rules; and thus to guard against the errors to which reasoning from analogy is liable; but if we enquire from whence it proceeds, that likeness should beget that presumption, opinion, or full conviction, which the human mind is formed to receive from it; and which it does necessarily produce in every one proportionally to its various degrees. This question contains its own proper and full answer. It is because the mind is formed to receive satisfaction from it, and acquiesce in it proportionally to its several degrees. And the final cause of this formation is no less evident; since our present state makes our acting upon such evidence<42> necessary. When demonstration is said to force our assent, the meaning is, that by it, we have a clear perception of the necessary agreement or disagreement of certain ideas; an agreement or disagreement that cannot but take place. But where such a necessary agreement or disagreement of ideas cannot be perceived, as it cannot be with respect to any connexions of nature of positive institution, of which sort are, for instance, the connexion between the ideas of sight and touch, and almost all, if not all the connexions of the sensible world. In such cases, nothing but various degrees of likelihood or unlikelihood can be perceived; and such perceptions do not so properly operate upon our understanding producing assent, as upon our temper producing satisfaction and complacency; the contraries of which are wavering and mistrust, or dissidence. But not to seem to dispute about words, let the effect of probability, that is, of likeness, be called an effect upon the understanding, or upon the will; a judgment or a tendency to determine ourselves to act this or the other way, or not to act at all, according to the various force of presumption; yet the effect of it upon the mind cannot be ultimately accounted for, without supposing an aptitude or disposition in our natures to be influenced by presumptions or appearances of likeness. ’Tis the same here, as with regard to the perception of beauty; when we have analysed it into its constituent and concomitant parts; we have in that case a clearer and more adequate notion of it; yet it must still remain true with respect to it, that its constituent and concomitant parts make a perception that affects the mind in a certain manner, merely because the mind is intended and fitted by nature to be so affected by it. We must in all such cases at last come to an ultimate reason, which can be no other than the adjustment of the mind to certain objects. But so far as we see and find our minds suited to our state and circumstances;<43> so far do we see clear proofs of wisdom and goodness in our make and contrivance, or of care and concern about our welfare. ’Tis almost unnecessary to remark here, that to say, the mind often presumes rashly, and makes false judgments about probability, is no more any objection against its right formation in our circumstances with respect to its natural aptitude to be influenced by probability, than it is against certainty and scientific evidence, wherever that is attainable, to say many philosophers have been deceived, and have mistaken absurdities for demonstrations.
Fifth instance.V. The care of nature about us, with respect to knowledge, appears by its giving us considerable light into some more necessary parts of knowledge; or, at least, considerable hints and helps for discovering several useful arts, by the operations and productions of inferior animals directed by their natural instincts. For these acting as nature impels them, shew some of us how to build, others to swim, others to dive and fish, some how to spin and weave, some how to cure wounds and diseases, others how to modulate the voice into melody, &c.
This truth is charmingly represented by an excellent poet, in a poem (that must be highly valued while moral science and true harmony are relished in the world) which I shall have frequent occasion to quote.
Sixth instance.VI. Add to this, that as it is from nature only that the real knowledge of nature can be learned, so the connexions of nature lie open to our view.b It is only because men have wilfully shut their eyes against<45> nature, and have vainly set themselves to devise or guess its methods of operation, without taking any assistance from nature it self, that natural knowledge has made such slow advances. Whence it comes about that men have at any time been misled into the foolish attempt of understanding nature by any other method, than by attending to it, and carefully observing it, is a question I shall not now enter upon. But so obvious are the greater part of nature’s connexions to all those who study nature, that so soon as the right, the only method of getting into its secrets was pursued, great improvements were quickly made in that knowledge; and all discoveries in it, after they are found out, appear so simple and so obvious, that one cannot help wondering how it came about that they were not sooner seen and observed.
Now nature, in order to put us into the right way of coming at real knowledge, has not only implanted in our minds an eager desire or thirst after knowledge, but likewise a strong disposition to emulate all the works of nature that fall more immediately under our cognisance, and in a manner to vie with nature in productions of our own. This disposition to emulate nature, as it adds considerable force to our desire of knowledge, so it serves to assist us in acquiring it; for it necessarily leads and prompts us to copy what is done by nature, and thus makes us attend very closely to the object or phenomenon we would imitate, and try experiments about it; by which means alone, it is obvious, any real knowledge can be acquired. But not only is the knowledge of nature owing to this imitative principle in our minds, together with our desire of knowledge; but hence likewise proceed all the imitative arts, Poetry, Painting, Statuary, &c. Whatever we see performed by nature, we are emulous and restless to perform something like it, and so to rival nature. And hence all the bold and daring efforts of the human<46> mind, in the various ways or arts of imitating, or rather excelling nature.a
A review of our natural furniture for knowledge.But as considerable as these assistances are which have been mentioned, they amount but to a small share of what nature hath done for us, in order to fit us for progress in knowledge, and the manifold pleasures arising from truth, and the search after it.
Knowledge naturally agreeable to the mind.I. Progress in knowledge is rewarded by itself every step it makes; for darkness is not more disagreeable to the natural eye, than ignorance is to the mind: the breaking in of knowledge upon the understanding, is not less refreshing and chearing than the appearance of day after a gloomy, weary night to a traveller. Every discovery we make; every glimpse of truth, as it begins to dawn upon the mind, gives high delight. And thus every acquisition in science recompences our labour, and becomes a strong incitement to greater application, in order to make further improvements, bring in fresh purchases, and so procure new pleasures to ourselves. The reason of all this can be no other, than that truth or knowledge is naturally as agreeable and satisfactory to the understanding, as light is to the eye; and that there is really implanted in our natures an appetite after knowledge.We have a natural appetite after knowledge. It is indeed a mistake to imagine that we have no appetites of the moral kind. The desire of society, and the impatient thirst after knowledge, are as properly appetites, as hunger and thirst, &c. The mind of man is naturally anxious and inquisitive; uneasy while it is in the dark about any thing, and anxious to understand<47> it; and when it comes to a satisfactory knowledge of any object, it then looks upon it in a great measure as its own; as subdued by its understanding, and at its command; and thus it triumphs in its own power and force. And the oftner and more intensely this pleasure has been felt, the desire of knowledge waxes stronger and keener. It grows in proportion as it has been exercised and gratified by study and contemplation. But let us observe how this natural desire of knowledge is excited, supported, gratified and directed.a
New or uncommon objects wonderfully attract our attention.II. New or uncommon objects greatly attract our minds, and give us very high pleasure. Now by this means we are prompted to look out for new ideas, and to give all diligence to make fresh discoveries in science. “Every thing that is new or uncommon (says an excellent writera ) raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprize, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed. We are indeed so often conversant with one set of objects, and tired out with so many repeated shows of the same things, that whatever is new or uncommon, contributes not a little to vary human life, and to divert our minds for a while with the strangeness of its appearance; it serves us for a kind of refreshment, and takes off from that satiety we are apt to complain of, in our usual and ordinary entertainments. It is this that bestows charms on a monster, and makes even the imperfections of nature please us. It is this that recommends variety,<48> when the mind is every instant called off to something new, and the attention not suffered to dwell too long, and waste itself on any particular object. It is this likewise, which improves what is great or beautiful, and makes it afford the mind double entertainment. Groves, fields, meadows, are at any season of the year pleasant to look upon, but never so much as at the beginning of the spring, when they are all new and fresh, with their first gloss upon them, and not yet too much accustomed and familiar to the eye. For this reason there is nothing more enlivens a prospect, than rivers, jetteaus, or falls of water, when the scene is perpetually changing, and entertaining the sight every moment with something that is new: We are quickly tired with looking upon hills and valleys, where every thing continues fixed and settled in the same place and posture ; but find our thoughts not a little agitated and relieved at the sight of such objects as are ever in motion, and sliding away from beneath the eye of the beholder.”
The final reason or cause why it is so.After this description of several effects of novelty, it will be easy to every one to run over many more of the same class in his imagination; and the reason why we are so made, is because we are made for motion and progress: not to stand still, but to go forward and proceed; we are made for encrease, and gradual advancement; and therefore variety is naturally so agreeable, that we cannot be easy without making some new acquirements.
How this itch of novelty is checked and ballanced by the power of habit.But by way of counterpoise in our frame to this useful desire of novelty, and delight in variety, lest it should render us too superficial in our attention to objects, and too rambling and desultory in our quest of knowledge, it is so ordered by our make, that by continuing a little while our attention to the same object, a liking to it is contracted: an object, by being frequently present to our view, becomes<49> familiar to us, we form an intimacy with it.a And thus, as the pleasure of friendship retains us from continually running about in search of new faces, so the habitude of studying in the same train, or of considering the same kind of ideas, by rendring them more agreeable to us, contributes to make us more fixed and steady in our application to the consideration of an object, till we have fully examined it. It prevents our becoming too changeable and unsettled in our pursuit of knowledge, ever to make great advances in any kind of it. Such is the power of habit, which shall be more fully considered afterwards: and hence the sage advice given by philosophers with regard to the choice of one’s business or profession in life, “To choose the best, that is, the most advantageous, and custom will make it agreeable.”
The natural delight of the mind in beauty.III. The mind naturally delights in comparing ideas, and in traceing their agreements and disagreements, their resemblances and differences; and it is thus that knowledge is acquired. But which greatly contributes at once to give pleasure to the mind in the pursuit of knowledge, and to direct it to the proper objects and methods of inquiry, is the natural delight of the mind in uniformity amidst variety; or in other words, in unity of design, and the consent of parts to one end.In natural beauty. The objects of contemplation that please immediately, or at their first appearance to the mind, are those that are found upon after-examination, to be regular, to have unity, or to make systems easily taken in and comprehended by the mind. Every such form naturally attracts the mind, and is wonderfully agreeable to it. It could not do so, were we not so formed as<50> to receive a particular, distinguishing pleasure from such objects: for whatever pleases, necessarily presupposes an aptitude or disposition in our nature to be agreeably affected by it. Now being so framed as to be naturally and necessarily affected by such objects as have been described, in an agreeable manner, we are thus prompted by nature to delight in the contemplation of such objects, and to seek after them. We are by this means led, impelled and directed to resolve every object into its constituent parts, and to refer these parts to one another, and to their common end; or to consider a thing as a whole, and to look out for its principal meaning scope and intent, and to enquire how that is accomplished; by which means, by the simplest, and those that are merely necessary, or by too complex a way and superfluous toil.Thus we are led to enquire after analogies and general laws in nature. It is thus we are led to enquire into nature, trace its analogies and harmonies, or general laws, and to admire its simplicity and frugality. And in like manner in abstract science, as in mathematics, for example, we are conducted by the same principle, to aim at universal conclusions, or such general theorems and canons, as contain in them a great variety of particular cases. It is the same taste that enables us to distinguish what we call ease and grace, whether in externalmotion, or any composition of wit and genius; namely, our sense of the beauty which consists in the due medium between the nimium & parum, the too little and too much; for so the decorum is defined by the antients; and all beauty, whether in nature itself, or in the arts that imitate nature, ultimately resolves itself into the observance of this maxim, “Frustra sit per plura quod per pauciora fieri potest.” Nature is beautiful, because nature “nihil frustra facit.”26 Nature is simple, and we are most aptly contrived to delight in nature, to find out the proper way of studying and imitating it, by<51> our natural delight in the beauty which results from simplicity and regularity.a
The natural delight of our mind in moral beauty.But besides our natural sense of beauty and harmony in material objects, arising from unity amidst variety, we have analogous to it another sense, viz. a sense of beauty in affections, actions and characters. Beauty in merely corporeal forms is indeed exceeding entertaining to the mind. “There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty, which immediately diffuses a secret satisfaction and complacency through the imagination, and gives a finishing to any thing that is great or uncommon. The first discovery of it strikes the mind with secret joy, and spreads a chearfulness and delight through all its faculties.”27 But does not every one feel that beauty of the moral kind is yet more charming and transporting than any corporeal beauty! And what is that, but such a tendency of an action to publick good, as shews generous intention, and benevolent affection in the agent.Thus we are led to enquire after good final reasons. Now as by the former sense we are impelled and pointed to look out for unity of design, simplicity and consent of parts, and therefore to trace analogies in nature, and to reduce like appearances to general laws; so by the latter, we are prompted and directed to enquire after the goodness and fitness of general laws, that is, their tendency to the good of the whole to which they belong, or which<52> is constituted and regulated by them. This taste of the mind as naturally leads us to such researches as any other appetite impells us to gratify it. And do not these two dispositions in our nature, so analogous to one another, make an excellent provision or assistance for our making progress in knowledge? They naturally point us towards the objects, and methods of enquiring, that will be at once most pleasing and useful. They tell us, as it were, what we ought chiefly to employ our enquiries about, and how we ought to manage them.
The natural delight of our mind in great objects.IV. To conclude. We are considerably aided and directed in our researches after knowledge, by our natural delight in great objects, or such as wonderfully dilate and expand the mind, and put its grasp to the trial. For thus we are prompted not only to admire the grandeur of nature in general, or in the large and astonishing prospects its immensity affords us; and in the greatness of some particular objects of nature, of an enlivening and sublime kind; but in that greatness of manner which appears every where in its methods of operation, even in the minutest objects of sense; and to copy after this greatness of nature in our imitations of it by arts.a The mind being naturally great,<53> and fond of power and perfection, delights highly in trying its strength, and in stretching itself, and there fore is exceeding pleased with those objects<54> that dilate it, or give it occasion and excite it to expand itself.
The imagination a most useful power.Let us now proceed to consider a little some of our faculties or powers, by which we are fitted for knowledge. And here we may observe, 1. That the imagination is a faculty of wonderful use in our frame: it is by this faculty that we have memory, and are able to recal absent objects to our mind, set lovely pictures of them before us, and thus contemplate and examine them, as if they were actually present with us. 2. It is this faculty that renders us capable of many delightful imitative arts, which for that reason are called arts of imagination. Both these facts are too obvious to need any proof. 3. But it is well worth while to remark how it comes about, that imagination is capable of affording us such a vast variety of pleasures, and of inventing so many fine arts, as rhetoric, poetry, painting, &c. for it is evident, that without the imagination these arts would be absolutely unknown to us.It is necessary to render us capable of social commerce by discourse. Now it has been often observed on that subject, that such is the analogy between sensible and moral objects, that there is none of the latter sort that may not be cloathed with a sensible form or image, and represented to us as it were in a material shape and hue. So true is this, that not only are wit and poetry owned to take place only in consequence of this analogy or resemblance of moral and natural ideas; but even all language is confessed to be originally taken from sensible objects, or their properties and effects.We could not have mutual commerce by discourse, were not the moral world analogous to the natural world. But the real truth of the matter perhaps is not very generally attended to, which is, “That moral ideas could not at all be expressed by words, if they could not be pictured to us by means of analogous sensible objects.” Not only are those the best words to express moral objects in oratory or poetry, which suggest the liveliest, the strongest, the clearest images or pictures of<55> them derived from sensible forms: but in general, words cannot express any moral objects, but by exciting pictures of them in our minds. But all words being originally expressive of sensible qualities, no words can express moral ideas, but so far as there is such an analogy be twixt the natural and moral world, that objects in the latter may be shadowed forth, pictured or imaged to us by some resemblances to them in the former. It is imagination therefore that renders us capable of social intercourse and commerce, even about moral ideas, and their relations, by mutual discourse. And so far as language can go in communicating sentiments, so far have we an indisputable proof of analogy between the sensible and the moral world; and consequently of wonderful wisdom and goodness, in adjusting sensible and moral relations and connexions one to another; the sensible world to our minds, and reciprocally the connexions of things relative to our moral powers to the connexions of things that constitute the sensible world.The right method of teaching language would teach us this analogy. It is this analogy that makes the beauty, propriety, and force of words, expressive of moral ideas, by conveying pictures of them into the mind; so little attended to in teaching languages, whereby the study of language is rendered so jejune and insipid; whereas, if rightly taught, by it great insight would early be got into one of the most entertaining and useful parts of knowledge; and that clearly manifests the wisdom and goodness of nature in our fabric; namely, the analogy or consent between the moral and natural world, in consequence of which, words primitively signifying sensible ideas, may convey moral ones into the mind by analogy.
It is by fancy that our passionate part is reached.But whatever may be thought of this assertion, it is plain from the consideration of poetry, oratory, or any of the arts which are capable of touching or moving the heart agreeably, that nature has given us the imaginative faculty on purpose to enable us to<56> give warming as well as enlightening colours to truths; or to embellish, recommend and enforce them upon the mind. For tho’ truths may be rendered evident and certain to the understanding by reasoning about them, yet they cannot reach our heart, or bestir our passionate part but by means of the imagination. The fine arts are, indeed, but so many different languages by which truths may be represented, illustrated and recommended to us. And these arts show us the power and use of fancy, by making us feel its influence on the heart, or how directly it makes its way to it. But the moral power of imagination, must be evident to every one who reflects how it is, for instance, that any absent object is able to outweigh a present pleasure in our mind. For how else is it that the remote one receives strength, but by the lively affecting manner in which imagination represents it, so as to render it as it were present, or, at least, tho’ absent, so efficacious, that no interveening self-denial, or suffering is sufficient to retard the mind from pursuing it, with the utmost intenseness? ’Tis a lively picture drawn by the fancy that does all this.
Why we are so constituted.Now, if it be asked, why we are so constituted? Perhaps if we had a fuller knowledge of the human mind, we might be able to see many reasons for it: mean time, ’tis sufficient to vindicate nature for having so framed us, that we plainly see, how in consequence of such a constitution, we are able to become Poets, in the proper sense of the word, that is, Creators; able to vie with nature and rival it; and that to it we owe a vast variety of very noble pleasures, far superior to those of meer sense, even all those which genius, wit, refined fancy, and the fine arts that imitate or contend with nature afford us.
Imagination is not ingovernable.IV. With regard to imagination, let it be observed, that tho’ it be thought by such as have not taken proper pains to form and improve it, a meer<57> rambler, and utterly incapable of governance; yet ancient philosophers have assured us from their experience, “That if habitual temperance be added to just care to cultivate the imagination, and give it a right turn, such a command may be obtained over it, that its employments even in dreams shall not only be pure and chaste, but very regular as well as highly entertaining.” It is indeed not to be wondered at, considering how egregiously the formation of fancy is neglected in education, that it should be so irregular, desultory and turbulent a faculty, instead of a pleasant, governable and useful one. Philosophers satisfy themselves with railing at it, as a pernicious rather than an advantageous part of our frame; as being instead of an assistant in the pursuit of science, an enemy to truth; a misleader, a sophist, and corrupter: but were it not capable of being not only regulated, but highly refined and improved by due care, mankind had been utter strangers to all the entertaining and embellishing arts of fancy, which give such lustre, beauty and taste to human life; to all the ingenious productions of men of wit and fine imagination: the advances that have been made towards its improvement, to which we owe so many great genius’s, and their delightful productions and compositions, are a sufficient argument, that by timely care duly persevered in, it might be habituated to order regularity and wholesome as well as pleasant exercise. Is it to be wondered, that those whose waking thoughts are so irregular and unprofitable, should have very idle and impertinent visions in their sleep? But so true is the antient maxim about the correspondence or analogy between our dreams and our employments throughout the day, that I believe no temperate man, much given to study,a is not rather entertained<58> than molested by his night reveries, provided he be in a good habit of body. As for the dependence of body and mind, it shall be considered in another place. And the dependence of the imagination upon culture, or our care to improve it, and exercise it rightly, hath been already accounted for, by shewing, that according to the general law of our nature in consequence of which we have dominion, a sphere of activity, and are capable of making acquisitions, and by that means of virtue and merit; the improvement of all our faculties depends on ourselves; and it is the dependence of the improvement of the understanding, reason, imagination, and all our faculties upon our care to improve them, that makes us a species of beings superior to those who have no activity, but only receive sensations from without independently of their own will, choice or foresight.
The other faculty of our minds, that remains to be considered under this article of knowledge, and power, and the laws relative to them, is invention.
Invention what it is and how improveable.Now with respect to it I would observe,
I. That the phenomena of invention appear to us very irregular and whimsical, merely because, for want of a history of them, we cannot reduce them to general laws. Every thing must appear to us casual, anomalous, and as it were detached from nature, while we do not know the general laws on which it depends, or from which it results. And<59> therefore till we be at more pains, than hath yet been taken, to collect a history relating to invention, there can be no other reason to call any of them casual and irregular, than there was to call several other phenomena of nature such, while their laws were not known, which now that they are found out, do no more appear to us to be such.A history of it, and the phenomena relating to it, is much wanted. On the contrary, there is good reason to think, that the phenomena of invention may have their general laws; since in whatever case almost we have taken right methods of tracing effects to their general laws, such laws have been discovered; and then the effects which before appeared irregular, immediately changed their face, and assumed, as it were, another mein: they now no more seem uncouth and marvelous, but ordinary and according to rule. It is only in the way of experiment, that either the science of the human mind, or of any material system can be acquired. And by the discoveries made in natural philosophy, we know, that no sooner are facts collected, and laid together in proper order, than the true theory of the phenomenon in question presents itself. And hence, we have reason to think, that knowledge of the qualities and operations of bodies, would quickly make very great and profitable advances, far beyond what it has yet arrived to, by pursuing the same method that has brought it to the present degree of perfection. Now when we consider that moral knowledge can only be carried on in the same way, is it any wonder that the human mind is so little known, since men have not studied it with due care, but have rather been more misled in this philosophy, than in natural, by fictitious hypotheses and romantic, visionary theories? For such are all theories that are not the result of well ranged phenomena.
What discovery of new truths is.II. But tho, without all doubt, it is highly reasonable to expect very great assistances for the promotion<60> and improvement of all sciences and arts from an acurate knowledge of our inventive powers, that is, from a full history of their operations and productions; yet, in the mean time, ’tis plain, that invention is nothing else but the habit acquired by practice of assembling ideas or truths, with facility and readiness, in various positions and arrangements, in order to have new views of them. For no truths can be placed in any position or order with respect to one another, but some agreement or disagreement, some relation or quality of these ideas must appear to the mind. And discovery of a new or unknown relation can be nothing else but the result of placing truths, objects or ideas, in some new or unobserved position.And how they are made. But, if this be the case, then the great business with regard to invention and its improvement, must be to accustom ourselves to look round every idea as it were, and to view it in all possible situations and positions; and to let no truth we know pass, till we have compared it with many others in various respects; not only with such, as are like or a kin to it, but with its seeming contraries, opposites, or disparates. Every different juxtaposition of ideas, will give us a new view of them, that is, discover some unknown truth. And the mind by such exercise alone can attain to readiness, quickness and distinctness, in comparing ideas in order to get knowledge.
How it becomes easier to make progress in knowledge by progress.III. Now, this leads me to the last remark I shall make upon our natural furniture for knowledge, which is, that knowledge being progressive and dependent on ourselves; it, by that means, becomes easy to us to make advances in it, in the best and properest way that it can become so, that is, in the way that is qualified to give us the greatest pleasure. For it becomes easier to improve in knowledge, in proportion to the improvements we have made in it. Our inventive, imaginative, comparing and reasoning powers become stronger, more alert, and vigorous<61> by proper exercise. The habit of reasoning well, that is, readily and solidly, is acquired by practice in reasoning. And which is more, in consequence of having inured ourselves to accurate thinking, and of having made several advances in science, we become able to form rules to ourselves for our further progress in knowledge in the best, that is, the clearest, quickest, and surest manner.And by that science which is properly the art of reasoning. In other words, knowledge may be made easy to us by ourselves, because after we have made some progress in it, after we have exercised our enquiring, comparing and reasoning powers, for some time, about different objects; we can then make enquiring, comparing, reasoning, inventing, and laying truths together in proper order, to bring out new conclusions, the objects of our consideration; and thus we can form a science concerning science and making progress in it. A science, by the by, which ever since Plato’s time has been very much neglected in education; and very little cultivated, notwithstanding all Lord Verulam has said in his works of its nature and usefulness.a
General conclusion concerning the laws of knowledge, and our natural furniture for it.Thus then we see how excellently we are furnishedb by nature for the pleasures of knowledge, and for improving in sciences and arts; so that we may conclude, “That with regard to knowledge, (the foundation of intelligent power, dominion and activity) we are very well constituted; or that all the most important circumstances, or laws relative to our understanding, are very fitly chosen, being necessary to very great goods or perfections.”<62>
[a. ]See the chapter on power in Mr. Locke’s Essay on human Understanding. [John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), bk. 2, ch. 21.]
[25. ]“Things in our power.”
[a. ]Some thing hath been said on this subject already in the Introduction. [Subject discussed above, pp. 48–49.]
[a. ]Mr. Locke on the conduct of the understanding. [John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education; and, Of the Conduct of the Understanding, ed. Ruth W. Grant and Nathan Tarcov (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett, 1996), §3.]
[a. ]See an essay on vision, and a treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge, by the Bishop of Cloyd. [George Berkeley, An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (1709,1710, 1732); and A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710, 1734).]
[a. ]See an Enquiry into the origine of our ideas of beauty, by Mr. Hutchinson, whose words I have here copied. [Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, II.I.viii.]
[a ]See Dr. Butler’s (Bishop of Bristol) Analogy, & c. where probability is excellently discoursed of. See Cicero de inventione rhetorica, Lib. 1. probability erit narratio, si in ea videbuntur in esse ea, quae solent apparere in veritate.—Ac veri quidem similis ex his rationibus esse poterit, &c.—Necessarie demonstrantur, ea quae aliter ac dicuntur, nec fieri, nec probari possunt,—&c. [Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature (1736); Cicero, De inventione: “The narrative will be plausible if it seems to embody characteristics which are accustomed to appear in real life. . . . Verisimilitude can be secured by following these principles” (I.xxi.30). “. . . those things are proved irrefutably which cannot happen or be proved otherwise other than as stated, etc.” (I.xxix.44). Cicero, De inventione. . . ., trans. H. M. Hubbell, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949).]
[a. ]See Plutarch de solertia animantium. [Pope, Essay on Man, III.169–98. These verses by Pope sum up the substance of Plutarch’s De solertia animantium (or animalium), but see especially 966B. Plutarch, Omnia quae extant opera, 2 vols. (Paris, 1624).]
[b. ]Artes vero innumerabilis repertae sunt, docente natura, quam imitata ratio, res ad vitam necessarias sollerter consecuta est. Ipsum autem hominem eadem natura non solum celeritate mentis ornavit; sed etiam sensus tanquam satellites attribuit & nuntios: & rerum plurimarum obscuras & necessarias intelligentias enudavit; quasi; fundamentum scientiae.—Cicero de legibus, Lib. 1. [Cicero, De legibus, I.viii-ix.26: “Moreover innumerable arts have been discovered through the teachings of Nature; for it is by a skilful imitation of her that reason has acquired the necessities of life. Nature has likewise not only equipped man himself with nimbleness of thought, but has also given him the senses, to be, as it were, his attendants and messengers; she has laid bare the obscure and none too [obvious] meanings of a great many things, to serve as the foundations of knowledge. . . .” Cicero, De re publica, De legibus, trans. Clinton Walker Keyes, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1928).]
[a. ]See Aristotle’s Poetics, cap. 4. Nam & imitari, innatum hominibus a pueris est; atque hac re differunt ipsi ab aliis animalibus, quod homo sit animal maxime aptum ad imitandum; primasque rerum perceptiones sibi ipsi faciat per imitationem, non magistrorum praeceptis, sed exemplis aliorum ductus: et gaudere omnes rebus imitatione expressis naturale est veluti picturis, sculpturis & similibus, &c. [Aristotle, Poetics, 1248B: “Imitation comes naturally to men from childhood, and in this they differ from other animals because man is an animal especially suited to imitating, and he forms for himself his first notions of things by imitation, led not by the precepts of his teachers but by the examples of others. And it is also natural for everyone to enjoy things that are imitations, such as pictures, sculptures and such like.”]
[a. ]See Cicero de officiis, Lib. 1. In primis que hominis est propria veri inquisitio, &c. Tantus est igitur innatus in nobis cognitionis amor & scientiae ut nemo dubitare possit, quin ad eas res hominum natura nullo emolumento invitata rapiatur. De finibus. Lib. 5. [Cicero, De officiis, I.iv.13: “Above all, the search after truth is peculiar to man, etc.” Cicero, De officiis, trans. Walter Miller, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938). De finibus, V.xviii.48: “So great is our innate love of learning and of knowledge, that no one can doubt that man’s nature is strongly attracted to these things even without the lure of any profit.” Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum, trans. H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1931).]
[a. ]See the essays on the pleasures of imagination, Spectator, Vol. 6. [The Spectator, nos. 411–21, 1712. The series of eleven papers “on the Pleasures of the Imagination” were written by Joseph Addison (1672–1719). The quote is from no. 412.]
[a. ]Habit is more fully considered afterwards in a particular chapter.
[26. ]Newton, Principia, Regulae philosophandi, regula 1: “What can be done by fewer means is done in vain by more” and “[nature] does nothing in vain.” Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy: A New Translation, by I. Bernard Cohen and Anne Whitman (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1999).
[a. ]This maxim is well explained by Sir Isaac Newton, Natura superfluis causis non luxurat. All beauty natural or moral consists in this. See what Cicero says of our natural and moral sense of beauty, in the beginning of his first book of Offices; and compare it with several other passages, that in particular, Lib. 1. Cap. 28. where he treats of the Decorum at full length. See likewise what he says of the nimium & parum ad M. Brutum Orator N. 22. Ed. Schrivelii. See likewise Theages Pythagoreus, de virtutibus. Decorum autem est quod esse decet, id quod nec addi quicquam, nec demi postulat, quandoquidem, ipsum quod esse decet est: Indecori vero species duae sunt nimium & parum. Illud plus quam decet habet, hoc minus habet, &c. [Newton, Principia, Regulae philosophandi, regula I, “[Nature] does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes.”
[27. ]The Spectator, no. 412, 1712.
[a. ]See the Spectators upon the pleasures of imagination, Vol. 6, where all these sources of pleasure are handled, novelty, beauty and greatness. See particularly what is there said of the last. By greatness, I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view, considered as one entire piece. Such are the prospects of an open champain country, a vast uncultivated desart, of huge heaps of mountains, high rocks and precipices, or a wide expanse of waters, where we are not struck with the novelty or beauty of the sight, but with that rude kind of magnificence, which appears in many of these stupendous works of nature. Our imagination loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at any thing that is too big for its capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehensions of them. The mind of man naturally hates every thing that looks like a restraint upon it, and is apt to fancy itself under a sort of confinement, when the sight is pent up in a narrow compass, and shortened on every side by the neighbourhood of walls or mountains. On the contrary, a spacious horizon is an image of liberty, where the eye has room to range abroad, to expatiate at large on the immensity of its views, and to lose itself amidst the variety of objects that offer themselves to its observation. He illustrates this remark afterwards by examples from gardening,—from architecture. See what he says there of greatness of manner. In the second place we are to consider greatness of manner in architecture, which has such force upon the imagination, that a small building when it appears, shall give the mind nobler ideas than one of twenty times the bulk, where the manner is ordinary and little. Thus perhaps, a man would have been more astonished with the majestick air that appeared in one of Lysippus’sStatues of Alexander, though no bigger than the life, than he might have been with mount Atlas, had it been cut into the figure of the hero, according to the proposal of Phidias, with a river in one hand, and a city in the other. Let any one reflect on the disposition of mind he finds in himself, at his first entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how his imagination is filled with something great and amazing; and at the same time consider how little in proportion he is affected with the inside of a gothic cathedral, though it be five times larger than the other; which can arise from nothing else but the greatness of the manner in the one, and the meanness in the other.—See the observation he adds from Mr. Freart’s parallel of the ancient and modern architecture.—Compare with these observations what Longinus says de Sublimitate, Cap. 35. Naturam non humile nos quoddam, aut contemptum animal reputasse.—Sed invictum una simul & insuperabile mentibus nostris omnis magnae rei, & humanam conditionem excedentis, adeoque divinioris, ingeneravisse desiderium. Atque hinc fieri, ut humanae mentis contemplationi & conjectui ne totus quidam orbis sufficiat, sed ipsos saepenumero ambientis omnia caeli terminos immensa animi agitatione transcendat.—inde intelliget, cui nos rei nati simus. Itaque instinctu illo ducti naturae non exiles miramur rivulos, quamvis puro pellucidiores vitro & humanis magis apti sint usibus: verum conspectum vel Danubii vel Rheni resistimus attoniti; maxime omnium ad ipsius intuitum oceani. Ad eundem modum non igniculum aut flammulam, &c. [The Spectator, nos. 411–21, 1712. The first quote is from no. 412, the examples from gardening from no. 414, and the quote about architecture is from no. 415. The translation by John Evelyn of Roland Fréart’s Parallele de l’architecture antique et de la moderne (1650) was first published in 1664.
[a. ]Jubet igitur Plato, sic ad somnum proficisci corporibus affectis, ut nihil sit quod errorem animis, perturbationemque afferat. Ex quo etiam Pythagoricis interdictum putatur, ne faba vescerentur, quod habet inflationem magnam is cibus, tranquilitati mentis, quaerentis vera contrariam.
[Cicero, De divinatione, I.xxx.62–63: “Now Plato’s advice to us is to set out for the land of dreams with bodies so prepared that no error or confusion may assail the soul. For this reason, it is thought, the Pythagoreans were forbidden to indulge in beans; for that food produces flatulence and induces a condition at war with a soul in search of truth.”
[a. ]See my Lord Bacon’s works, his Essay on the advancement of learning; and his Novum organum. Milton’s Letter on education. Plato de republica, Page 533, 34, 39. Ed. Step. And my treatise on ancient painting, Chap. 1. [John Milton, “Of Education,” in Poems, &c upon Several Occasions, 2d ed. (London, 1673).]
[b. ]See Cicero de finibus, l. 5. de legibus. l. 1. Animalhoc providum, sagax, multiplex, acutum memor, plenum rationis, & consilii, quem vocamus hominem, praeclara quadam conditione a supremo Deo natum esse, &c. [Cicero, De legibus, I.vii.22:“. . . that animal which we call man, endowed with foresight and quick intelligence, complex, keen, possessing memory, full of reason and prudence, has been given a certain distinguished status by the supreme God who created him, etc.”]