Front Page Titles (by Subject) A Synopsis of Metaphysics Comprehending ONTOLOGY and PNEUMATOLOGY Second enlarged edition - Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind
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A Synopsis of Metaphysics Comprehending ONTOLOGY and PNEUMATOLOGY Second enlarged edition - Francis Hutcheson, Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind 
Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind, ed. James Moore and Michael Silverthorne, texts translated from the Latin by Michael Silverthorne, introduction by James Moore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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A Synopsis of Metaphysics Comprehending ONTOLOGY and PNEUMATOLOGY
On Being and the Common Attributes of Things
On Being (De Ente)
In antiquity the accepted division of philosophy was into natural philosophy, which contained all the speculative sciences about both corporeal and incorporeal things; moral philosophy, i.e., ethical and political philosophy; and logical philosophy, which included both logic and rhetoric.
What metaphysics is
The Aristotelians1 shifted all inquiry about the most general attributes of things and about God and the soul, from the territory of physics to that of metaphysics; they called metaphysics “the science of being in abstraction from matter”; and they meant it to contain the whole of the doctrine of the most common attributes, of the more general divisions of being, and of God and of the human mind.
Ontology and pneumatology
A different method has won favor among some more recent [writers]:2 they define ontology, as they call it, as the science of being and of the most common attributes of things (which is inadequate). They follow it up with pneumatology, which is the doctrine of God and of the human mind, and with physics, which is the science of body. In presenting a short summary of these [sciences], we proceed from the more general to the less general.3
How beings are known
Although our minds cannot make contact with anything without the intervention of some idea, whether proper or analogical, since it is not things themselves but ideas or perceptions which are presented directly to the mind, nevertheless we are compelled by nature itself to relate most of our ideas to external things as their images or representations.4 We retain the memory of a past sensation with complete certainty that it previously existed, and that we are able at will to recall a kind of faint idea of it, when the sensation itself no longer remains. This is very good evidence that certain ideas are representations of other things. In addition, every man has a consciousness of himself, or a certain sense which does not allow him to doubt that he remains the same today as he was yesterday, however much his thoughts may be changed or for some time intermitted; and he has no hesitation in ascribing to himself previous sensations, judgments, and feelings of which he retains the memory.5 This is also the source of the notion or intellection (informatio) of a true thing which is different from any idea at all. We are likewise impelled by nature for a similar reason to relate certain impressions which we have received by sight or touch, to things which are wholly external, of which they are images. All of this shows that things are real, different from ideas, and subject to them; and they are usually called objects of ideas.
Now, since things are known by the intervention of ideas, and words are attached to ideas to perform their function in speaking, we must be careful in all our philosophy not to attribute to external things or to objects of ideas those things that belong only to ideas or to words. The carelessness of the scholastics in this matter has caused endless confusion in metaphysics.
Being (Ens), essence, and existence are related
The general and abstract idea of being is utterly simple and rejects all definition; and since it is involved in every other idea, it may be univocally predicated of the objects of all other [ideas]. The object therefore of every affirmative true proposition is something which truly is or exists, at the time to which the proposition relates. Essence and existence are words related to being; and in the abstract signify much the same, so far as they refer to objects, as the actual term being. No essence can be understood in things themselves which does not exist; nor is existence something in things themselves which is added to essence. Since the natures or essences of things seem to be represented to us by our ideas, particularly by our complex ideas which contain the more evident attributes (sensible qualities, powers, and relations), we call these complex ideas essences; and the ones which belong to ideas alone, we often rashly ascribe to things. And since the mind itself often forms ideas of this kind, without the prompting of an external thing, from simple ideas which it had previously received, although it knows well enough that no object corresponds to them at that point in time, some have fondly imagined that certain essences, and eternal ones at that, have been without existence; and if at any time a thing emerges which is similar to such an idea, then they suppose that existence supervening on an essence is forming a true thing or a real being. Hence they have said that essence and existence are principia essendi or constitutive of a being (entis). But [the truth is that] anything which has a real essence has existence at the same time in the same sense in which it has essence or in which it is a being or a thing (aliquid ).
What essence is; what existence is
These words do not mean at all the same thing.6 For essence denotes the primary attributes of things, such as are normally contained in complex ideas, even when there is no object. The notion of existence is always simple, and one which is necessarily suggested to the mind by every sensation as well as by that consciousness of itself as existing which accompanies every thought. It is also suggested by sensations which, at the prompting of nature, seem to portray external things as existing; for no sentient being doubts that he feels or that he exists; and the force of nature itself prevents most men from doubting the existence of external bodies. These general and abstract notions of essence and existence are simple; the idea of a singular or less general essence is often complex, but in the case of existence it is always absolutely simple; it includes only a vague reference to some portion of time; and all notion of essence is abstracted from it.
[Four indications of existence
Things are perceived to exist either by an internal sense, by which means each man knows that he exists; or by an external sense, which by the force of nature sufficiently confirms to every man that other things also exist; or by reasoning from effects, causes, or concomitants known by sense; or, finally, by testimony.
What are the essences of things
Although the inner natures or essences of things are hidden from us, they do arouse various ideas in us by a fixed law of nature, and among these certain primary ideas which we see are necessarily connected with each other and belong to the thing presented (rei objectae), we call the essence of the thing. Of these attributes no one is prior or posterior to another in the thing itself; but in our knowing of them it is often different, and varies according to the method of investigation. Hence there may be several definitions of one and the same thing, depending upon which of its attributes the others are derived from. Some definitions, however, are much more appropriate than others.
Actuality and potentiality
In no matter do the scholastics misuse words more than in their doctrine of actuality and potentiality; to these words they attach a whole host of things in a very confused manner.7Physical actuality, which is the power of acting, is either primary or secondary: primary actuality is the power of acting, while secondary actuality is the action itself. Active, or actualizing (actuosa), physical potentiality is primary actuality itself, while passive potentiality is the capacity to be acted upon, or that natural mutability of a thing by which it is subject to the force of an actualizing nature, and can be variously altered by it.
Metaphysical actuality is the actual existence of a thing, and sometimes any quality which perfects it, particularly its powers of acting. The potentiality which corresponds to this is called the possibility of a nonexistent thing, or the state of an existing thing which is so subject to some actualizing nature that it may be changed in various different ways. God therefore, primary being, creator, and governor of all other things and not subject to change, is called pure actuality; and all other things are said to have been in potentiality from the beginning; and they became real, or true, beings when actuality supervened upon potentiality. But even in this state there remains something potential, because they may be altered in various ways or destroyed by the power of God. There is nothing in all this confused language except that primary being is eternal, without beginning, absolute and immutable in every perfection, and subject to nothing. The ideas of all other things could have been formed before they existed; and though they do exist, yet they may be changed by the power of God. It would be very wrong to conclude from this that actuality and potentiality are principles of being.]8
No idea more general than being
They altogether abuse words who imagine that there is any idea more general than being. What they call an imaginable [thing] is a real notion, for which there happens to be no object. In whatever sense you speak of an imaginable or a something, in the same sense you would speak of a real being, whether you are speaking of ideas or of things subject [to them]. Nor is there anything intermediate between being and mere nothing. Things suggested are relations, possibles, impossibles, external denominations, privations, negations, and beings of reason.9
Relations are certain notions, arising from the thought of two things, which have no object other than the things being compared and their properties and actions; the contemplation of all of which suggests the notion of a relation or link between them. The things compared are called terms, of which one is the subject or relatum, the other the correlate. The reason for comparing them, which is perhaps some action of one or the other of them or a quality or property which they both share, is said to be the ground. Relations are real ideas, whose objects consist of various absolutely real things external to the mind; not, however, something different from the ground and the terms.
Possibles are terms or complex ideas whose parts are consistent with each other. When there is no object, they are said to be purely possible. They are real ideas which have no object.
Impossibles are complex terms whose parts separately denote ideas so contrary one to another that they cannot be combined. They are real words which separately signify real ideas, and nothing more.
External denominations are passively signifying adjectival expressions which represent a real action or quality in some thing which is being referred to in an oblique and confused manner; in the Latin language, however, they are not joined with a substantive noun of the actual agent or of the possessor of the quality.
Negations and privations
Negations and privations are words that denote the sentiment or notion of a speaker that a certain thing does not have a certain real quality. If [the quality] is natural to a thing of this kind, the word indicating that it is absent is called a privation; otherwise, it is called a negation. Of neither is there any real action, property, or predicate.
Entities of reason
Entities of reason are either ideas of which there is no object, which are said to be subjectively beings of reason; or complex terms whose parts conflict with each other, though the parts themselves are objectively beings of reason. All of these are either real ideas, or at least real expressions; there are no objects corresponding to them.
The root of possibility
In the celebrated question whether the root or cause of possibility lies intrinsically in things or comes to them from outside,10 the question may be this: “Where is the power which can make an object appropriate to any idea whatsoever?” This is certainly to be found only in God. Or the question may be: “By what criterion do we know that an object can be made [which is] consistent with this term but not with that one?” This criterion is to be sought in the terms themselves. If their parts agree with each other, they are possible, since there is every power in God. If not, they are impossible, or rather the terms signify nothing. It is pointless to ask whether there might be a thing that would be subject to such a term, since terms have meaning only by the intervention of an idea, and there is no complex idea subject to such a term.
It is hardly within our judgment to say for sure what things can happen and what cannot, for in the weakness of our intellect, we may be unaware of those contradictions between highly complex terms which would not be hidden from one who had a fuller knowledge of things. But when a contradiction is sufficiently obvious, we rightly declare a term to be impossible.
[All ideas are relative except the idea of being
Of the idea of being we say that it alone is completely absolute. All others, whether of substances or modes or attributes of any kind, involve in themselves, whether distinctly and clearly, or confusedly and obscurely, some link or relation of their object to other things. This will be immediately obvious to anyone who thinks about one or two individual [ideas].]11
On the Axioms of Metaphysics
What an axiom is
Metaphysical axioms are defined as the most general propositions, self-evident and unchangeable. Not every proposition which is self-evident is unchangeable; nor is every unchangeable proposition self-evident.
In what sense they are innate
The ancients spoke of these axioms as innate in the sense that it is natural for men to understand them, since we have such a power of reason in us as will lead almost all men to a knowledge of them.1 Some recent writers,2 however, speak of axioms as innate only if they have been known and recognized from the moment that the mind was born. In this sense these axioms are not innate; their most general terms arise in the mind at a very late stage, only after it has made many comparisons of individual ideas and abstractions from qualities, distinguishing one from another. And the fact that all men readily agree to these axioms does not prove that they have been known from the start or impressed on the mind from the start. For all will assent to any proposition, including a singular proposition, which concerns any sensible object presented to it, when there is an obvious connection or opposition between subject and predicate; yet these authors say that singular and sensible ideas are not innate.
[No principle is the first of all
There is no absolutely first principle of human cognition. For there are very many axioms, as well as a large number of less general propositions, which are known of themselves; and in every demonstration or series of syllogisms, each extreme term has to be found once in some proposition which is self-evident; otherwise it will not be licit to draw a conclusion.
Some men have wasted a great deal of effort in elaborating a criterion of truth, since there is no criterion to be found other than the faculty of reason itself or the power of understanding which is native to the mind.
Self-evident assertions, as well as proven truths, are said to be eternal and immutable, because whenever any mind turns to consider them, it will see the connection or contradiction between subjects and predicates which is asserted in the proposition. We do not need to seek any other cause of this connection than that which formed the ideas themselves, since in certain ideas other ideas are necessarily implied by their own nature, so that they cannot be fully and distinctly thought without them. Hence the truth of such propositions cannot be altered even by the power of God, since the subject cannot be conceived or thought without immediately including the predicate.]3 ,4
It is not credible that anyone can seriously doubt these axioms. If anyone doubted about everything, he would certainly be always at a stand. Nor would the assertion I think (although it is the first of all absolute propositions) help to elicit any other proposition in anyone who had doubts about axioms, not even to prove the very fact that he himself exists. Much less will this absolute proposition establish abstract conclusions. For abstract conclusions arise from abstract propositions alone, and absolute conclusions from absolute propositions.
[They are not viewed in God5
However much there may be a common agreement of all men about the truth of these axioms, as well as about all demonstrated truths, among those who understand demonstrations, it must not be imagined that all men view this unique truth in some common nature, as if it were a kind of mode inherent to it. For the fact is that when several men have ideas that are very similar to each other but not the same, they will also see similar connections and relationships between them. The only permissible conclusion is that all men have been equipped with a similar power of reason.]6
Axioms of little use
They are equally in error who think axioms so important that they believe them to be necessary or very useful in every act of knowing.7 For singular and less general propositions become known first even without the help of axioms, though by their help truths previously ascertained are more easily explained to others.
[All axioms are known of themselves once the mind directs itself to see them. Their credit does not come from induction; no credit resting on that ground would be very strong, but their credit we see is very strong.]8
Two axioms which are quite useful
Among metaphysical axioms that are especially useful are two which are completely true when we are speaking of objects, not of ideas: every being exists, and a real quality or property or action is to be attributed only to a being. With their help we avoid a perennial confusion of metaphysics, when things which are proper to ideas or words are ascribed to things external to the mind. We would often avoid the temptation to make this mistake, if in metaphysics we gave ourselves the instruction that “every adjectival term needs its substantive,” even though this is not the case in Latin grammar.
From these axioms this corollary follows: “All abstract, affirmative propositions are hypothetical when they concern things, not ideas,” where the existence of the object is understood as an antecedent condition without which they are not true.
[Other axioms are sometimes collected here in vain. “It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be; everything is or is not; the whole is greater than its parts; things which agree with a third thing agree with each other.” And many others like them, of which some have no use; others are not relevant for common life. But afterward9 some axioms will be proposed which are not useless.]10
On the Properties of Being
The most common attributes of being are certain ideas involved and implicated in the very notion of being, which are interchangeable with being itself, and may be predicated of all its constituents.
There are commonly reckoned to be three attributes of being: unity, truth, and goodness; some add to these a connection with space and time, or the where and the when.1
Unity, identity, difference
Unity is either specific or numerical: the former should rather be called similarity, the latter identity.Numerical identity, which is sufficiently obvious, refuses to be defined. And the doctrine of the scholastics about unity has no use except to rectify their own errors about universal natures. They speak of unity as a property “by which a being is undivided in itself and divided from every other thing.” This means only that no thing is several things in itself.2 No question can be raised about identity unless two ideas occur which are different in some way, when at the very least some thing has been observed at different times or in different places. Any parts of space and time are obviously different from any other parts of space and time, though all are very similar. When ideas of things are different or dissimilar, we know most plainly that the things which arouse those ideas are different.
[Identity] of minds [and] of ideas
Questions arise about identity in the case either of the mind itself or of ideas, or of physical things. A man is conscious that his mind remains the same by a kind of internal perception which is totally certain but inexpressible; by this he also knows that his mind is wholly different from any other mind. But of another mind observed at different times we merely infer that it is the same mind by arguments that are probable but do nevertheless sometimes approximate to certainty. When a perfectly similar idea, judgment, sensation, or state of mind is recalled at different times, these recollections are different in some way simply because of the difference of time, so that they can scarcely be said to be the same as the earlier ones to which they are very similar. However, this difference is rarely so great as that between bodies which occupy different positions at the same time, or from completely similar motions of the same body repeated at different times. However similar physical bodies may be, a real difference between them will become apparent if they occupy different locations at the same time; without this criterion, there will be no completely convincing evidence, but we will be left to decide which bodies are similar and which dissimilar with the help of the ideas which they arouse.
[The principle of individuation
So much for the signs by which we distinguish identity or difference. If it is asked why a thing is one, which is the question of the principle of individuation in a thing, the only answer that can be given is the actual existing nature of the thing. For whatever cause made or created any thing what-soever also made it one or individual in the sense intended by the metaphysicians. But there are several kinds of such unity.]3
[Identity of] physical bodies
A physical thing is often said to be one and the same because we judge that all the parts of its matter remain the same; this is called unity of substance. But organic bodies and some artifacts, when men are not concerned with the identity of their material, are said to remain the same so long as their fabric remains much the same, or when an artificial mechanism continues to be useful for the same purposes, even though its material changes every day, as new parts take the place of former parts. We see this happening in every living body and in all things that grow from the earth.
Truth for logicians and moralists
For logicians and moralists truth means something useful and deserving to be known; for metaphysicians it is nothing other than the fact that each thing is such as the all-knowing God judges it to be, or that it truly is the very thing that it is. Logical truth is the agreement of a proposition with things themselves. Ethical truth is the agreement of a proposition with the sentiment of the mind.
In some noted authors4metaphysical truth means the same as the constancy of nature, its stability, or a kind of metaphorical solidity and grandeur. In this sense that which is infinite is also the truest. Finite things are less true; at least their truth is confined within narrow limits beyond which they have no truth. From the notion of each true quality the mind easily ascends to grasp the highest degree of [that quality], which is comprehensible in a kind of general and obscure notion; and it is a small step from there to believing that a nature endowed with that supreme and absolute perfection exists. As far as concerns duration and extension, the mind can hardly if at all refrain from believing, without any process of reasoning, that there exists a something which is boundless and eternal.]5
Goodness or perfection
The only sense in which all things might be said to be good is that we believe that God has formed all things by his excellent design for the most noble ends which each thing may most appropriately serve, or that no thing is lacking its own essential attributes which metaphysicians call its perfections.6 Why this is called goodness or what it contributes to a knowledge of things no one can easily say. [Physical perfection] Those things are said to have physical goodness, which make and keep any sentient nature happy, and give it pleasure without harm. Likewise living things and things endowed with sense are said to be perfect in virtue of themselves, since they have the qualities and faculties to make or keep themselves happy. Some kinds of such things are more perfect than others, in that they have more senses and higher faculties to experience pleasures. When none of those which are normally found in such a thing is lacking, the thing is said to possess perfection of parts; the greater they are, the more it excels in perfection of degrees. [Moral goodness ] Taking others into account, things which are endowed with life, sense, and powers of reason, are judged to be morally good when they have the ability and, above all, the constant will or character which renders them able and willing to serve the happiness of others. For all men strive to attain this power for themselves; they praise such a character in others; everyone would discover through his internal sense, as he surveyed his acts, intentions, and decisions, that such [a character] would be the happiest for himself.7
Absolute and qualified perfections
There are many species of living things, endowed with different senses, which take pleasure from very different things, and therefore the same powers cannot be regarded as perfections in every kind of thing. Those which are useful and pleasing to one species would be useless and deadly for another. Things which would give one species the highest happiness that it is capable of possessing, another species cannot allow; or if it did allow them, they would afford the very lowest pleasure. Hence has arisen the chief distinction between perfections, that some will make any nature endowed with them happy, and include no imperfection, whereas others can be of benefit only to lower natures, as they involve an imperfection and offer a remedy or mitigation of it. These are called relative perfections, or perfections in a qualified sense, whereas the former are said to be pure and absolute perfections.8
May space and time be predicated of all things?
Among the commonest attributes of being some of the most learned men9 include certain necessary connections with space and time, which they insist are real things if we may trust our ideas at all: they seem to have real attributes: in both cases their own proper extension or quantity extends to infinity; in both cases their parts are immutable; and although they allow things which are distinct from themselves to coexist with them and penetrate them, they are not penetrable by any things which have the same parts as themselves. There is a mutual relation or connection between all space and time, since every time is the same in every space; and every space seems to remain the same in every time, since virtually everything is connected with some part of both. They are the means by which we distinguish the truest difference between things which are very similar, since both have completely distinct parts. Neither motion nor the speed of motion can be understood without both of them. Long duration, more than anything, makes every pleasure or pain significant for the happiness or misery of life. Neither the physical world nor any physical property can be understood without both of them. Without time there can be no properties or activities of the human mind, albeit they seem to be quite unconnected with space. No part of either can exist without the rest, or perish if the rest remain. But whether they are things in themselves made by God, in order that he might make the physical world and successive things, or whether they are infinite modes of the infinite God, it is not easy to determine for certain. Although the first view is so obscure that it exceeds the reach of the mind, it seems closer to the truth, because both [space and time] consist of parts which are truly different. All things known to us and all their properties seem to persist in time; a kind of perception of time accompanies every perception or feeling of which the mind is aware. Only bodies and their properties seem to exist in space, not the properties which seem appropriate to spirits. Hence we quite easily conceive that there was once no extended space before God had made the physical world; but we can scarcely, if at all, conceive that duration or time had a beginning or will have an end.10 And we are totally ignorant what connection the divine nature has with either.
[An opinion different from the former11
Some ancient philosophers12 seem to have believed that both space and time were notions that are absolutely necessary to us, but to which nothing external corresponds any more than to ideas of numbers. They took the view that space is an abstract idea of physical magnitude, reached by the subtraction of all the other properties of body. Likewise time is a similarly abstracted idea of the continuation or succession which we have observed in the movements of the mind or in a series of thoughts. And furthermore [they argued] a certain size or quantity and parts and relations are ascribed to numbers as well as to space and time, albeit all agree that number does not exist apart from things numbered, outside of any mind. However, we will by no means settle the problem by this method. No one, necessarily, imagines number extending beyond every one of the things numbered, and indeed as something which would survive in the absence of any numbered things. No one [imagines] number [as] implicated of itself in the true qualities of external objects. Neither can the position of things or their motion, or succession of thoughts or the so-called coexistence of other things with space and time, be understood, unless something real outside the mind corresponds to these ideas.
But however much these two things are believed to be real, there seems to be no reason why they are believed to be attributes of one thing more than of any other thing that is both extended and enduring. And we cannot therefore properly infer that both things are uncreated and eternal on the ground that the mind can remove neither by thinking, since no more can those who enjoy sight remove colors from corporeal nature, and yet nothing external in the things themselves corresponds to these ideas. There is a great difference between a kind of necessary tendency of the mind to represent certain things to itself, and a sure conclusion of reason that they truly are so. There is no place in philosophy where the weakness of human intelligence is more evident in understanding things which we use virtually all the time and which occur in everybody’s speech, than in this very topic of space and time.
Permanent and successive time
The schoolmen seem to be talking in empty phrases, without advancing knowledge, when they divide time (τò Quando)13 into permanent, or simultaneous, and successive, ascribing the former to God alone; as also when they divide space (τò Ubi)14 into circumscriptive, which is appropriate to bodies, definitive, which is appropriate to created spirits, and repletive, which they ascribe to God alone, who fills all places by his essence without any extension.15 All this seems to be beyond the power and reach of our understanding.
There are learned men16 who confidently maintain that it is to be taken as a necessary axiom in philosophy, that what is nowhere (nullibi) is not, and also that nothing can act where it is not by means of its essence. But they should ask themselves whether being somewhere (τò alicubi esse) means the same as either being diffused throughout space, which belongs only to the infinite, or being diffused through a part of space, which will be appropriate only to things with figure and extension; and whether both do not presuppose a thing composed of parts however combined. They should also ask whether either one of these is appropriate to the qualities or actions of the mind, which are judgment, reasoning, love, hatred, desire, joy, and sorrow. They should also wonder whether they are not being deceived by the wrappings of words, in that they are happy to avoid employing the nouns time and extended space by making use of the adverbs where, anywhere, and when.]17
On the Principal Divisions of Being
Dependence and independence of being; the latter is supreme perfection
The first division of being is into dependent or created being and independent being, which has been made or created from nothing.1Independent things seem to imply perfection, absolute things absolute perfection, and relative things a relative perfection. Indeed, independence which is absolute and full of perfections seems to imply infinity,2 since it is not intelligible that an absolutely primary thing whose nature has not been limited or circumscribed by any prior thing at its discretion should possess any one finite perfection rather than another, or be restricted to perfections of one kind so as not to possess the others. That therefore has supreme perfection which is absolutely primary, and all other things take their origin from it.
[Some learned men therefore do not seem to have correctly expressed their view of independence, in implying that any perfection or attribute of a primary nature could have been the cause or reason why that nature exists, since a primary nature cannot have a cause or ground of being (essendi), as they term it. Nor in a nature which we have represented as not yet in existence can we suppose there is any attribute or internal necessity which brings this about or requires that the thing itself should exist.]3
The sign of dependence
Metaphysicians therefore conclude that every nature is dependent to which any mode, from a certain range of modes, is wholly necessary, if it is equally capable of all such modes. For if it were supposed that it was independent, it would have had, on this hypothesis, some one mode before any action or choice of any cause whatsoever; this one mode therefore would be more connected with the nature or essence of that thing, above all other such modes; and therefore it would not be equally capable of other such modes, nor would it equally admit any of them at all. Every body (corpus) necessarily has some space, some figure, and some state of either motion or rest; it cannot exist without such properties. However, it is indifferent to all [particular] places, and is equally capable of all figures, and of every movement or rest. The thing therefore is dependent and made to be.
Necessary and contingent being
Related to the former is another division of being into necessary and contingent, or rather voluntary, being. Necessary being is that which does not depend on a will; the term is the opposite of voluntary or discretionary being.
[Internal and external necessity
One [kind of] necessity is internal necessity, also called antecedent necessity. It exists in the very nature of a thing; for example, there is a necessity of connection between the terms of a self-evident or proven abstract proposition. It is also called absolute necessity, since it remains the same in every time and place. The other [kind] is external necessity, a subsequent or hypothetical necessity which necessarily follows upon something else which has been previously posited, or a hypothesis.]4 A perception is said to be necessary if it presents itself to us, whether we will or no; a voluntary [perception], on the other hand, is one which we can change, obstruct, or stop. Judgment is necessary; this is either because the nature of the object is such that it cannot be changed for any reason so as to render the judgment untrue, or because the connection or conflict between the terms in the stated proposition is such as to ensure that the proposition will always be true. This necessity of abstract propositions remains the same in every time and place; and the arguments by which it is shown are called causes, i.e., causes of knowledge (an analogical use of the word “cause”). The necessity of being (essendi ), as a result of which beings (entia) are said to be necessary, denotes an existence which does not depend on a will; if entities do not depend on a human will, they are called necessary entities so far as men are concerned. If existence does not depend on any will at all, it is said to be absolute necessity, since the thing is said to have existed of itself from eternity, and to be so constant and perfect that it does not perish of its own accord and cannot be destroyed by any other force. The same necessity is also called intrinsic and is distinct from the necessity which originates externally and on the basis of a hypothesis, since things are only necessary [either] because they depend on the immutable will of God or necessarily follow from other things previously posited. From the absolute necessity of a thing it can only be inferred that it is eternal in itself; its other attributes or perfections do not seem to be able to be derived from this, except by confusing the necessity of judgment with the necessity of the thing itself. Nor should it be said that any attribute of a thing precedes the subject itself or is the ground of its being.
[Simple and multiple being
Beings are divided into simple and multiple beings. Souls or spirits are simpler beings, and we discuss them elsewhere.5 Of these the simplest is a [soul or spirit] which is not only without any parts but has all its virtues so necessarily connected with its nature that nothing adventitious can befall it, nothing new occur to it. Multiple [beings] are either composite, when their parts are joined in a kind of natural bond or union like animal and vegetable bodies, or merely multiple, like a heap, or a corporeal mass endowed with mere power of cohesion, which is distinguished by this alone from a being by aggregation, though that too has its own metaphysical unity.]6
Finite and infinite being
There is another division of being, into finite and infinite.7Finite is self-explanatory from the name. Infinite is “that which is greater than everything finite,” or “that which rejects all relationship with finite things.” All things perceived by the senses appear to be finite. We acquire the notion of infinity not only from the fact that in certain things, namely numbers, sizes, and time, the mind can always go on, and sees that in adding new parts, in extending or amplifying an idea, or in dividing a quantity where it is impossible to arrive at portions which are absolutely the smallest, its progress cannot be arrested; some call this potential infinity. But [we acquire the notion of infinity] above all [from the fact] that in contemplating space the mind sees that no bounds can be anywhere conceived beyond which it cannot reach, and because it is quite certain that there has always been something without a beginning, and that past duration has been infinite. This notion of infinity we transfer to things that are quite different, namely power, wisdom, and goodness, for we want these things to be as great as they absolutely can be.
Difficult questions about infinite things
There are many fierce disputes about infinite things. These are the points that seem most likely. There can hardly be more than one thing of the same kind which is infinite in every way. There cannot be an infinite [thing] which is greater than an[other] infinite [thing] in the respect in which it is infinite. Infinite things, as they are infinite, cannot be multiplied; nor can they have any finite relation to finite parts, though things that are infinite in one respect and finite in another, if there are any such, may be multiplied and divided. If anyone chooses to spend time on these questions, which wholly exceed the powers of our minds, he will receive just one reward: he will be made more aware of his own limitations and any intellectual arrogance he may have will be diminished.
There is another division of being, into cause and thing caused. The idea of power, force, efficacy, action, causality is simple; it arises when we see from the proximity of certain things, and from their motion or their effect on other things, that new sensations instantly follow in ourselves, and new motions or changes of form in those other things.8 Moreover, we find from our awareness of our own intentions that our ideas are changed in different ways in our minds by our own efforts, and movements are aroused in our bodily members. And in these events we not only see that the desired change follows, but also perceive our minds exercising some sort of actual initiative (energia). The notion of action or efficiency, therefore, which should clearly be counted among the simpler [ideas], denotes something quite different from the fact that one thing or an alteration in a thing follows another thing, or that this thing preceded that thing in time, or has normally preceded it, even though this is quite often the only indication of efficiency that we have. And then, since the physical properties which affect the senses are known, namely, the forces of inertia, weight, mobility, and figure, we may infer from the force and nature of these qualities what changes in other things or in themselves bodies which have these qualities may effect by their own motion or impact. [But since the nature of the causes is not perspicuous to us, our knowledge of efficiency is also exiguous, and we more often make inferences by use and wont than by sure reasoning as to what effects are to be expected from any given cause or from what cause a given effect springs. Such is the ignorance of men in this matter that although we are quite aware that we are doing something in changing our thoughts and desires and appetites, yet all the rest of our human efficacy is uncertain, even in the movement and control of our own bodies; of this elsewhere.]9
[As for the forces or attractions attributed to other bodies which seem to give rise to gravity, cohesion of parts, elasticity, and other such things, whether they are necessarily in bodies of themselves or can coexist with the inertia of matter, or whether, on the other hand, they are caused by the continuous power of a nature which is far different and incorporeal in a fixed order in accordance with certain laws, the most learned men are at variance on the question of how it occurs, as also in the matter of the continuation of a motion already begun and its communication after a collision of bodies.10 The arguments which show that more than anything else one must invoke a certain power and design of nature which is far from corporeal are based on the fact that we have seen time and again that we have been able to formulate innumerable laws of nature, of the most diverse and different kinds, and understand them without any contradiction, like those laws which we see affording the highest degree of security and usefulness to all things.]11
Logical causes, moral causes, etc.
We will say nothing here of logical causes, which are said to be causes of knowing, such as the premisses of conclusions, or of metaphysical causes, which are not truly distinguished from effects, such as attributes which are easily enough known and from which others seem to arise. Those are called moral causes which have done or omitted, according to their own wills or states of mind, things from which some good or evil could be foreseen as likely to arise either of its own accord and from its own nature or by the intervention of other causes of any kind whatsoever, which they have aroused or failed to restrain.12Denials therefore and privations, as well as real things, have their own moral causes.
Material causes and formal causes improper
Those causes which are called material causes, formal causes, and final causes have received the name [of cause] by a transference of meaning; only an efficient cause is properly called a cause. A material cause achieves nothing, whereas a real cause effects something either by itself or as a result. A formal cause effects nothing, but is itself effected.13
An end is a certain pleasing and desired thing, in the hope of obtaining which an agent is prompted to act; it may be pleasure perhaps or things which afford pleasure. Pleasure effects nothing by itself, but expectation of it moves a man, so that he wants to do those things which seem likely to produce pleasure.
Therefore when a man acts in view of an end, the end had previously been known to him and desired; innate in him is self-love (philautia, or an appetite for his own happiness), or a certain kindly feeling toward others. Further, when a man desires an end for its own sake, the thing desired has become pleasing to him because he has a certain sense which is prior to all reasoning; for there is no place for reasoning about ultimate ends, but only about aids or means as they are called. And if anyone desires something for the sake of another, again some feeling toward him for whose sake he desires it has necessarily preceded [the desire]. A final end is whatever is sought for its own sake. Hence every man has many ultimate ends, among which indeed a struggle or process of comparison may occur, with a view to discovering which one makes the greater contribution to a happy life. In this struggle there is little room for reasoning, since the question is rather to be settled either by a sense, external or internal,14 which instructs one as to what things afford the greatest pleasure, or by experience of things, which reveals what are the more constant and lasting pleasures.
Axioms about efficient causes
Here are the common axioms about efficient causes, which are either quite true or close to the truth. 1. Every cause is a true or existing thing. 2. Every cause is prior to its own effect, if not in time at least in nature. That is, in order for it to exist, the existence of the thing effected is not required; but the latter is unable to exist if the cause does not exist. For a thing which is endowed with effective force does not depend on its effect, even though it gets to be called a cause because of the effect. 3. No thing is a cause of itself. 4. Nor are several things mutually causes of each other; or, in causes there is no circle. 5. As soon as a cause acts, its true effect exists without any interval of time, though not the whole system of effects which perhaps it was set to bring about by a long chain of actions. 6. There is no true perfection in a created thing, which the cause itself did not possess, if not in a similar manner yet in a superior or at least an equal manner. 7. Any cause will effect nothing at all, if it is not determined by its own character or nature, or by its present disposition in the given circumstances, to ensure above everything that it does this now rather than not do it, but remains indifferent to both directions. These [axioms] seem to carry assent without any reasoning.
From these [axioms] metaphysicians infer: 1. That the continued duration, as well as the first existence, of a made or created thing is to be attributed to the power of the efficient cause, whether this requires continued action on the part of the cause or whether such constancy of nature, or perfection, has been granted to the created thing from the start as may last for the necessary time. 2. No effect, at least no effect which depends on human power, lasts longer than while the cause operates. This will not seem strange to anyone who has studied human efficacy. Human efficacy consists wholly of variously altering one’s own thoughts and feelings and initiating or directing movements in one’s own body. But the motion which we excite in our bodies is often continued without any effort on our part; and the force which we have impressed on contiguous bodies by means of our limbs seems to continue without our will and without our efficacy.
No infinite series of causes
The arguments which show that there cannot be an infinite series of causes without a first and independent cause are very similar, namely, that every term in that series is dependent and effected; therefore the whole series has been effected, even though there may be nothing outside the series on which the whole series depends or by which it is effected; and that it is true of each part of the series that it has been determined by the efficacy of some cause to exist rather than not exist; therefore it will be true of the whole series that it has been determined to exist by the efficacy of another. To these can be added [the argument] that each term in that series, apart from the last, is both cause and caused; and for each term there is one act of effecting and one thing effected; but if a final term is added, the things effected will be more than were the effecting actions; which is absurd. Since, however, arguments equal to and very similar to these (namely the argument which infers that what is true of any part of an infinite is true also of the whole infinite) can be adduced to overturn an infinity of space and time, it does not seem safe or necessary in such a grave question as the existence of God to rely on these arguments alone; for we find everywhere throughout this whole universe traces of so great a power and intelligence, which lead to a certain nature that is supremely excellent, the most wise and most powerful creator of the world. And there cannot be any suspicion that this superior nature sprang from a prior cause, much less that there has been an infinite series of things of that kind, since every cause in that series would have to be regarded as at least equal in virtue to the creator of the world. Anyone, therefore, who, believing that the world has been created, takes refuge in such a series of causes in order not to acknowledge the one eternal God, since it is not credible that things of such great power and virtue should have perished while their works still remain, verily, he will substitute innumerable gods in place of the one God.
Rational causes, necessary causes, and contingent causes
There is a well-known division of causes into rational, necessary, and contingent. Neither contingency, however, nor chance or fortune, denotes a true efficacious nature; these words are used when effects result either from natural causes in such a way that we cannot foresee them, or from free causes when there is no obvious incentive which would certainly direct the cause in one direction or the other, and no indication from which a spectator could predict the choice. Therefore all contingent things are effected either by necessary or by free causes. Furthermore, necessary causes which seem to act without design or will should be regarded as instruments which perform a function rather than as acting, and when they do seem to be acting or impelling, they themselves are also acted upon or impelled. Only deliberately acting things, therefore, seem to have a real power within themselves, or truly to effect anything.
What is liberty?
There is a difficult question about the liberty of deliberately operating causes: do they have within themselves the power to twist and turn, so that they can set themselves to will a thing or its contrary equally, which is called the liberty of contrariety (as if one were to say that he can desire and pursue either that which seems to him pleasant or that which appears harmful and annoying), or do they have at least the power to set themselves to act or not to act, to will or not to will, which is the liberty of contradiction.15 It was the opinion of the Stoics16 that our desires and aversions are excited by the images of good and evil which appear to the mind, together with the character and qualities of the mind itself, in accordance with a certain constant law of our nature, and further, that the character of the mind itself is set by the earliest fabric of [its] nature and then by education and morals. They also held, therefore, that judgments and opinions are always formed from the sagacity, caution, or diligence which the mind possesses at that time on the basis of the indications of good and evil which things themselves display; and volitions and actions emerge from the calm or violent passions of the mind. And all these necessary antecedents of actions were set and foreseen by God himself. [By free causes therefore they mean those which can do what they will and abstain from what they reject, however much they may actually have been impelled to will or to reject. For they take the view that the power of directing oneself, which some imagine to be determined neither by the character of the agent nor by the appearance of good and evil nor by the judgment of the agent, is absurd and useless, and properly does not occur except when incentives are offered which are equal in both directions, which rarely happens; and even in this case the inclination of the self in either direction would have no quality of virtue or vice. And if anyone were to make use of this power to act against what seems to him to be the prevailing incentive, his action would be stupid if not wicked. On this whole question each one will best judge who examines himself to see whether or not in every deliberate intention to act (for few would maintain that when we are blindly carried away by a passionate emotion, we are free in this sense) he has before him some prospect of obtaining a good or repulsing an evil, by which his mind was moved to will. Similarly, in things which are completely equal, let him see whether or not he chooses one thing over the rest because it was the first that occurred to him, or because he has attached a feigned and imaginary image of good to the direction which he chooses. On this question the Stoics argue that nothing arises without a cause; and if anything were indeed effected by a cause which was indifferent and capable of going in either direction, and were not inclined to one direction or the other, either by its own character and nature or by the circumstances assumed to surround it, such a decision would not amount to a cause.
Others, however, respond17 that such is the nature of rational causes that they can move in any direction, that they are themselves the cause of their inclining or turning, and that this characteristic is theirs by nature. They concede that they nearly always follow their own judgments in some way but that there are two particular appearances that move the will, namely, [the appearance] of right (honestum) and duty, or of the pleasant and the useful, and that it is in their own power to incline and turn themselves to either of these.]18
Beings are divided into substances and accidents
Finally, beings are divided into substances and modes or accidents, and not without reason. The first notion of substance, a quite simple notion, arises for each man from the fact that he is aware of himself as persisting, even though his thoughts, sensations, and feelings are constantly changing, and that he cannot imagine himself other than he has always been, despite these mental variations. Similarly, we perceive by sight and touch that bodies take on new colors and new shapes and quietly change their motions, while their quantity or extension, mass, weight, and solidity remain constant. Thus we call the thing that, despite its change of properties, remains itself, a substance; and the changeable properties we call accidents.
What are the truest modes
The principal modes which truly add something to their substances seem to be the power of moving, that is, motions and figures in corporeal things, and in our minds the operations or passions of perceiving, understanding, and willing.19
[Corporeal substances and thinking substances
Substances are either extended or thinking; there are perhaps several kinds of both which are fundamentally different from each other. If there is any reality in space, it is different from every body; and among bodies themselves there have perhaps been from the beginning certain notable differences which are hidden from us. Likewise the kinds of thinking things which are widely different from each other are perhaps innumerable, of which some are far more highly endowed with senses and powers and fitted to lead their lives in quite contrary ways: from the feeblest souls of immobile shellfish, not to speak of plants, to the highest orders of angels and God himself. And though we call them all by the common name of spirit or soul, we should not rush to the judgment that they are all alike in nature and differ only in degree.]20
Body, magnitude and extended things are the concern of physics and mathematics, spirits of pneumatology.
On the Categories and the General Properties of Being
We shall survey the chief general properties of beings by going briefly through the ten categories that Archytas2 is said to have first discovered and Aristotle certainly confirmed, whatever the division of things may actually be. The ten categories are: substance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, place, time, position, and state.
Substance is a thing subsisting in itself, and which does not inhere in another thing as modes or accidents do, which are much better known than substances themselves. For the nature of substances is unknown, except that we draw from our own selves a sort of dim idea of a thing bereft of its qualities.3 The other things said about substances in the scholastics are not useful. Here are the definitions of the technical terms.
Subsistence is the completeness of a substance and is lacking in parts of a natural thing which have been separated from the rest of it. A subsistent is defined as an underlying subject (suppositum) or individual nature (hypostasis). A person is a suppositum endowed with reason.
The kinds of quantity
Quantity is an ambiguous word; and the various kinds of quantities cannot be defined because they are represented by simple ideas. These [are] the simple kinds [of quantity]. [First,] magnitude, which is appropriate to body or space. [Magnitude is threefold.] It is itself threefold: linear, surface, and solid; of all three, there is a real nature and a distinct knowledge, though the first two are never found apart from the last.
The second kind of quantity is time, whose space or extension is completely different from the previous kind, and is called diuturnity or duration; it accompanies the actions and passions of the mind and all the motions of which the mind is conscious. For every thought carries with it a sense of a certain time, and every man is as conscious of that as he is aware of himself thinking. Hence it discerns order and sequence among the various operations of the understanding or the will; and it knows which things come first and which come after, and whether it has spent a long or a little time on a thing. Things are said to coexist with this series of thoughts, because they occupy the same portion of time. This coexistence, therefore, of time by no means fully describes the notion, since a third something has to be clearly recognized which equally measures both the sequence of thought and other things or events. And the notion of time should not necessarily be related to motion, even though we find in movements convenient measures of it.4 A good deal has been said about this before.5
True quantities uncertain
Here we mention in passing that we cannot know by any sure indicator whether the true quantities of magnitudes and times equal, surpass or are surpassed by our ideas of them. It will, however, be readily agreed that the same relation among them is preserved in our ideas. It is bodies that excite the first ideas of figures; but the mind itself can variously compound them and can perfect and complete them more than the figures that are found anywhere in bodies themselves. Physics and geometry tell us that these two classes of quantities are infinitely divisible, and by their help so too are movements, angles (inclinationes), and ratios (rationes).
The third kind of quantity, which is widely different from the other kinds, is found in numbers. Though our first notions of numbers are aroused by the bodies perceived by our senses, yet all things can equally be numbered, including some that are very different from bodies. In fact, ideas of numbers can be absolutely perfect without ideas of bodies at all. Ideas of numbers or their relations (rationes ) are not therefore to be necessarily related to magnitudes, since things which are superior in number are often inferior in magnitude, and things which have no magnitude at all can be compared with each other by means of number.6 Indeed, numerical relations, when they can be used, are the most convenient measures of other relations, because they are easier to handle.7
There is no number outside the mind separate from the actual things numbered, and nothing corresponds to the idea of [number] except the things numbered. The power of numbering is most useful, however, in measuring things themselves and their relations (rationes). These three kinds of quantity can achieve nothing by themselves in the absence of bodies, and space and time are not liable to any alteration. Time and space indeed seem to most people to be actually infinite, and clearly number can be increased without end. We cannot, however, understand an infinite number, because the concept of multiplicity (multitudo) is defined by number itself.
There are other notions of quantities in a variety of different things. The quantity which is attributed to motion or moving forces may be related to space and time. A wholly different quantity is ascribed to powers and qualities, e.g., to sharpness of mind and intelligence, the movements and drives of the will, love, hate, virtue, vice, joy, sorrow, and the sensible qualities themselves; but they are rarely counted as quantities.
Two kinds of qualities: motion and thought
There are several types of quality (which also refuses to be defined), and they are different from each other. The most important of those which are really in things are strength, power, active habits, talents, and propensities, all of which are primarily qualities of minds. As for the sensible qualities which are called sensitive, which are perceived by one sense alone, they are senses or states or modifications of the mind itself, although external things often seem to be endowed with them or affected by them. Figure, motion, rest, and position are accessible by several senses (the last pertains to the ninth category). There are, therefore, only two kinds of true qualities or accidents: thoughts and propensities ( propensiones) on the one hand, which belong to spirits, and on the other hand, motion, rest, and figure, which belong to bodies.
Rest and figure
Some learned men8 doubt whether rest is something real, distinct from the inertia by which bodies keep their state or motion by means of a force which is real but perhaps not their own or is derived originally from elsewhere. Likewise some9 hold that figure is the mere denomination of a mass which is derived from the relation of its parts to certain parts of space, and that the parts themselves do not otherwise change when the figure changes. And indeed figure by itself can effect nothing, although a certain configuration of a solid physical mass offers no resistance to gravity and other forces imposed upon it, while solid masses in other shapes do. Hence logs may be split by impacted wedges but cannot be split by objects of other shapes, and spheres and cylinders will roll when a cube would stay still.
Gravity, cohesion, etc.
It is also disputed whether gravity itself, elasticity, cohesion, and some other things of that sort are powers of bodies themselves and essentially involved in physical nature; or whether on the other hand they are powers which are continuously exerted on them by a superior nature in accordance with fixed laws or at least implanted by it in the beginning.10 The latter is more likely; the reason is that, although innumerable laws or systems (rationes) could seemingly be devised, we see that only one is in fact in force, even though it is not a bit more necessary in its own nature than the others. The only qualities, therefore, which clearly add something real to their substances are thoughts and motions; about the rest there is no agreement among the learned.
Quality appropriate to the subject
It is certain of every true quality that the quality of one thing cannot at the same time be a quality of another thing, even though the latter may have a quality of its own which is very like the other. Qualities appropriate to physical mass are divided and diffused through the parts of a body, so that each part has its own portion of a divided quality. If, therefore, there are any individual qualities, they inhere in a simple and individual thing.
There are many disputes among the scholastics about relations. We will briefly expound the more useful points.
When we look at two or more things which are not completely different from each other, and a property is apparent which is common to both or all of them, a relative idea arises which exhibits the connection or relationship between them. In every relation three things (or virtually three) exist: a related thing or subject, a correlate or term, and a ground.11 The first two are the things compared; the last is the property in which they are compared or the action which affords a reason for comparison. Thus the relations among magnitudes of the same kind are defined in terms of magnitude itself, the relations among times in terms of duration, and among numbers in terms of how many. Bodies and spirits may be compared with each other with respect to any other properties or qualities whatsoever. There are innumerable names for relations, according as the related things are similar, dissimilar, equal, greater, smaller, double, triple, etc., and swifter, slower, longer, shorter, more, less, tighter, looser, heavier, lighter, and we could add six hundred others. Moral relations are principally grounded in the actions, duties, agreements, and injuries of the related subjects.
Relation not an external thing
Apart from the related things themselves and the cause of comparison or ground, which is sometimes no different from the nature or essence of the related things, there is nothing more in the things themselves which corresponds to a relative idea; otherwise there would be innumerable other things attached to just about every thing. For there is no part of matter which does not bear some relation to every other part, no spirit which will not be found to be either similar or dissimilar, equal or unequal, to every other. Whenever, therefore, a relation is ascribed to things themselves, reference is always being made, albeit vaguely and obscurely, to a relative idea which either is or may be in a mind.12
Ideas of relations not useless
Relative ideas are not, however, for this reason artificial or useless. For not any and every relative idea arises at random from the known properties of related things, but only the idea which corresponds to the natures and properties of both. And when one of the related things and its relationship to the other are both known, knowledge of the other itself will also be gained. For in all inquiries we are chiefly asking what things lead to other things? what things will help us to carry out our intentions? what things are more fit or suitable to which, for the purpose of being useful to us? All the sciences, therefore, are concerned with investigating connections (rationes) and relations.
The clearest relations are those of numbers
The relations of numbers are clearer and more distinct than all others. And in investigating relations no one can desire anything further than to reduce them to relations of numbers. Hence it is surprising that certain learned men13 have taken the position that almost all knowledge of connections (rationes) has been taken from the connections (rationes) of magnitudes and should be reduced to them, and that there is no relationship among numbers, except so far as they exhibit certain degrees of magnitude which are equal to each other. To the contrary, things which are smaller in number are often greater in magnitude, and relations of numbers may obtain between things which are devoid of all magnitude. We grant that measurements of time and motion in particular have to be drawn from magnitudes, yet the connections between them are most easily measured by numbers when this is possible. But both kinds of measurement are almost wholly rejected not only by the so-called secondary sensible qualities, but also by almost all the properties of spirits.
Every relation is mutual and reciprocal, and [there is] the same foundation in the things themselves when the relation is converted, even though it will have a very different or contrary name.
Action and passion
Action and passion are related, and the relation between them is obvious: they are not two different things distinct from the actual objects of which the one acts and the other is acted upon. For a single thing supervenes, namely, the action as a result of which the state of the passive thing changes. We have previously explained,14 so far as we could, the simple notion of power and action.
One last point remains, which we touched upon before, about any action attributed to bodies: the bodies themselves which are said to act are also acted upon, or are moved at that time by another force, equally with the things which they impact. [Laws of Nature] And since a corporeal nature can neither understand a law properly so called nor obey it of its own accord, everything which is said to happen by the law of nature (as some learned men believe)15 is brought about in a determinate order and uniform manner in response to specific surrounding conditions by the first cause of all things, which sustains all things by its own continuous force as it permeates them all; the qualities, motions, contacts, and collisions of matter merely afford it the occasion. The inertia which is thought to be always necessary to matter does not seem to be consistent with certain actions which are attributed to matter. But no mortal man has adequate knowledge and expertise in these things.
The remaining categories
We have discussed the main points about space,time, and position in chapter 3.16 Concerning state we need say no more than that the powers of neither body nor mind are located in this category. It includes only those things which are substances in themselves but are normally found in union and combination with other things.
THE END OF ONTOLOGY
On the Human Mind
On the Powers of the Mind, and First on the Understanding
The definition of pneumatology
The science of spirits is called pneumatics by modern writers; among the ancients it was a part of metaphysics or of physics.1 But as we have no certain knowledge of any spirits other than human minds and the good God almighty, when we rely on the resources of our own reason alone, they will necessarily be the principal subjects of our discussion. And since we must progress from things that we know in order to bring more obscure things to light, without regard to the dignity of the things themselves, pneumatics rightly begins from knowledge of the human mind.
Spirit is substance which thinks or can think
Spirit, soul, mind denote the same nature, whatever it may be, which thinks or can think, and which is conscious of its own actions.2 It is likely that there is a very large number of such natures, various orders of them, in fact, equipped with various powers: most of them much inferior to human minds with which they have very little in common, but many also perhaps which are superior. Though all of them are called by the same name of spirit or soul, they are almost a whole world, as they say, different from each other. We must first give some account of the powers of minds before determining anything about their nature. It is quite obvious that the human soul is distinct from the gross body which is accessible to the external senses, since no one has said that thought, prudence, arts, or virtues are located in flesh or bones, or in the veins or gross humors.
The twofold power of minds: understanding and willing
Since no one has yet shown whether there is any power in the mind which causes the body to grow and flourish and be nurtured by the food it takes in, we shall ignore the auxetic and threptic force of the soul which the ancients so often mentioned.3 The other powers of the mind we might reasonably reduce to two, namely, the faculty of understanding and the faculty of willing, which are concerned respectively with knowing things and with rendering life happy.4
The senses report to the understanding, which is those powers or that ordering of the soul by which, at the prompting of certain things, it immediately receives certain ideas, which are not alterable at its discretion, but which a certain superior nature, the parent and creator of the soul, seems to have formed; and he has so structured the mind that it refers certain sensations to external things, as images which depict their nature or qualities.
Sensations and their causes
Learned men have adopted different opinions about the cause and origin of ideas. None of them can affirm anything beyond this one single point: that ideas arise in the mind from a certain contact with things, according to certain laws which become known by practice and attention; nor can they be referred to any other cause than divine power. We must also credit divine power with the fact that certain external sensations and other ideas are similar to external things.5
Sensations are either direct and antecedent or reflexive and subsequent6
One [kind of] sensation is primary and direct,when a certain appearance (species) is first presented to the mind, and the other is reflexive and subsequent sensation,when a certain new appearance (species) occurs to a mind as it attends to things which it has previously perceived. We must first discuss direct sensation.
The sensations which arise in the mind as the result of a certain motion excited in the body or impressed upon it are said to be external and are commonly reduced to five kinds. However, if instead of distinguishing perceptions, we were to make a division of the senses, there would be more than five.
Sensible qualities, secondary or primary
There is an important distinction between sensible qualities: some affect only one sense, others more than one. Of the former kind are colors, sounds, tastes, smells, heat and cold; of the latter, duration, number, extension, figure, motion and rest, which may be perceived by more than one sense, and indeed some of them are perceived by an internal sense. Qualities of the former kind would properly be called sensible, qualities of the latter kind rather states [of mind] (affectiones) that accompany sensation. [We judge that the ideas of these [qualities] and of the relations which hold between them are representations of external things, under the guidance of nature; hence they are classified as intellectual ideas, because in them the powers of reason are exercised with the greatest profit and pleasure.]7
[Sensible qualities] either pleasing or painful or neutral
Some sensible qualities are pleasant, some painful, others neutral or indifferent. In the case of some sensible qualities, mild sensations are pleasing, intense sensations painful. But these sensations depict or represent neither external objects nor actual motions excited in the body itself; however, without the sense of colors or any tactile quality, all bodies would be totally hidden from us, as well as their positions, figures, motions, and sizes. There are also the other sensations properly so called, which are sure signs or indications of things or movements which can help or harm the body; we are warned by a sense of pain to avoid those which do us harm, but are stimulated by a pleasing sense to pursue those which can help. Not without design, I think, not without the power of the gods.8
Ideas accompanying every sensation, duration and number
Certain sensations of concomitant ideas do or may accompany absolutely every perception of the mind; such are the notions of duration and number. For any perception of the mind and any action of which the mind itself is aware carries a portion of duration with it; several of these succeeding each other in a certain series also suggest to the mind some longer space of time. In the same way, it is not only things perceived by external sense which may be numbered, but also those which are perceived by the internal sense or by reflection, as it is called.9
Others are perceptible by sight and by touch
Extension, figure, motion and rest are perceived by two senses, that is, by sight and by touch. Certain writers call these, rather well, the primary properties (affectiones ) of bodies, because under the guidance of nature we believe them to be present just as they are seen in things themselves,10 and physicists tell us that the whole power of bodies to excite sensible ideas depends on one or other of them.11 They speak of sensible qualities, however, as merely secondary properties (affectiones ) or qualities: there is nothing like them in external things, though these things, by a fixed law of nature, have a certain power of exciting these ideas in us, [a power] which they get from their primary qualities.
Whether this perception of primary qualities be called an action or a passive process of the mind, the only cause which seems able to be suggested for the similarity or congruence between ideas of this kind and things themselves is God himself, who by a fixed law of nature ensures that the notions of things which are aroused in the presence of objects are similar to the things themselves, or at least depict their physical appearances, if not their true qualities.
[God himself seems to have made the forms or elements of all ideas, without our own minds contributing anything at this point. But once ideas have been admitted, the mind can ring the changes upon them, and vigorously exercise its powers in doing so. It can either retain ideas or dismiss them, pay attention to them or turn to others; it can divide concrete ideas by abstracting, or join simple ideas and compound them. It can in a certain manner enlarge ideas or diminish them, compare them with each other and learn their relations. In all these [activities] no less than in willed motions and appetites, the mind is conscious to itself of truly doing something.
From the pleasing senses which are called pleasures arises our first acquaintance with good, from painful senses our first acquaintance with evil. And those things which serve to procure the former and avert the latter are called useful, and their opposites are called useless or harmful. When the sublimer senses come into play, they introduce notions of superior goods and graver ills. From these we understand what a happy life is and what is a miserable life, and they must necessarily be attributed to certain natural senses.
Appearances which are perceived by taste,smell, and touch are closely related to specific parts of the body; they indicate what directly helps or harms the body, and have an immediate effect. By sight and hearing we acquire some knowledge of distant things, and sometimes of far superior pleasures; in fact, sight and hearing are very useful in our learning about things and developing understanding. All these senses, then, have been usefully given by nature either to protect our bodies or to preserve the human race or for the purpose of living a good and pleasant life, as will be more evident in the case of the nobler senses soon to be expounded.]12
Internal senses or consciousness (conscientia)
The other power of perception is a certain internal sense, or consciousness, by means of which everything that takes place in the mind is known.13 Each man knows his own sensations, judgments, reflections, volitions, desires, and intentions; they cannot be concealed from the mind in which they are. By this power of the mind each man knows himself and has a perception of himself and can direct his attention to himself and his own actions. Hence there may be full knowledge of spirits and bodies alike; the inner nature of both are unknown, [but] the properties (affectiones) are known.
Ideas of modes of thinking are abstract ideas like many others
It cannot be denied that we have general ideas of these modes of thinking, and that they are abstracted from the properties which distinguish individual ideas. For wherever a similarity is seen between different things, or several things are included in one class, or designated by any common word or symbol, one part of a complex idea comes before the mind, and the rest of it is left out.
Reflexive or subsequent sensations
Now it remains for us to discuss subsequent and reflexive sensation, or those appearances of things or that sense which occurs to the mind when it is directed toward things previously perceived. We call them sensations because these ideas or perceptions arise by a fixed law of nature, not at our discretion. There are many kinds of them, and we will deal with them briefly.14
Novelty, grandeur, similarity, and certain harmonies of sounds are pleasing to them
Some of the things which affect an external sense and would seem to be neutral to it are pleasing, or in some cases unpleasing, to a kind of reflexive sense, when the mind pays attention not only to its external sensations but also to the ideas which accompany them, and is also moved by a kind of impression that is different from the pleasing external sensations. In the first place, novelty is pleasing to the mind because we have a kind of natural impulse to know things, or a desire for knowledge. Likewise the grandeur of anything we see is pleasing. And a certain similarity among several things is also pleasing, when difference and variety are also present. Most pleasing are the combination and harmony of certain sounds, when not only are the higher and lower sounds themselves enjoyed, but also the lengths of the notes and the various other devices so familiar to music lovers.
And all imitation
Virtually all imitation is pleasing, whether in works of art in the classical sense—painting, sculpture, and engraving—or in movement and rhythmical speech.
And knowledge of things
A sense of great happiness accompanies learning and knowledge.
And skilled crafts
It gives great pleasure to look at things which have been cleverly and skillfully made to fill a certain need, even for those who do not expect to get any use from them.
The common sense, and sympathy of affections
We must include among these reflexive senses the sense which is called common. This sense takes joy from the happiness of another man’s good fortune and sorrow from his adversity, so long as there is no animosity, resentment, enmity, or abhorrence of disgraceful behavior. By the wonderful fabric of our nature also, most of the emotions and passions of other men excite similar feelings in us by a kind of sympathetic influence.
The sense of the fitting and the good
Of all these reflexive senses the most notable is the sense of the fitting and the good, which passes judgment as from the bench on all the things men do, on all our pleasures of body or mind, on our opinions, sentiments, actions, prayers, intentions, and feelings, determining in each case what is fine, fitting and good, and what is the measure in each. Almost all the pleasures which we have in common with the animals seem to this sense to be vile and shameful. But resolutions to act that display a nobler character, that intimate powers of mind and reason, that give evidence of a kindly disposition, and especially those which reveal a constant and steady will to do good and to deserve well of others, move all hearts by their very goodness; and for the man who possesses them, when he calls them to mind, they are glorious and full of joy.
This power is innate, gratuitous, and at hand
That this power is innate to the mind and that a man does not approve either his own or others’ actions because of any advantage they have or pleasure they bring him is clear from the fact that each man thinks his own duties toward others are more virtuous the more they are associated with risk of loss to himself, and the less they are intended for his own advantage, honor, or reputation; and from the fact that we praise the good actions of other men which we read of or hear about, even from earlier centuries, as much as we praise present actions that are good, and even approve virtue, loyalty, and patriotism in an enemy, though it does us harm ourselves. In approving these services in which a man has done something for another from friendship, faith, or courage, we cannot expect that either honor, pleasure, advantage, or reward will accrue to us. Even men who scarcely believed in rewards after death still thought it was sweet and fitting at times to die for their country,15 and they believe that even their enemies should praise their death.16
Related to this is that sense of praise and honor when a man sees that his intentions and his actions are approved by the verdict of other men; the opposite of this is that very painful sense of blame if one’s actions and intentions are condemned by others. Men are still moved by both of these feelings even when they do not expect any further benefit from other people’s approval or disadvantage from their censure. Even dying men are anxious about their posthumous fame, no less than those who look forward to a long life.
The sense of humor
By the aid of these senses, then, some of the things that happen to us appear delightful, fitting, glorious, and honorable to us, while others seem vile and contemptible, and we may discern yet another reflexive sense: a sense of things that are ridiculous or apt to cause laughter, that is, when a thing arouses contrary sensations at one and the same time. In the case of men’s intentions and actions, bad behavior that does not cause grievous sorrow or death gives rise to laughter, because there is some dignity in the very name of man because we have a certain opinion of his prudence and intelligence, whereas bad behavior that leads to serious pain or death rather excites pity. In the case of other things, we are moved to laughter by those which exhibit some splendid spectacle at the same time as a contradictory image of something cheap, lowly, and contemptible. This sense is very beneficial, whether in increasing the pleasure of conversation or in correcting men’s morals.
Memory, the power of reasoning, imagination17
From these powers of perception, the mind acquires for itself all the furniture of ideas that the faculty of judging and reasoning makes use of, and it preserves them by means of memory. For there is a power in the mind which can recall a weaker image or notion of any sensation; this is true of every action, judgment, will, and motion of the mind. [This faculty is called the imagination when it has to do with ideas of bodies. There is a similar power involved with all other ideas, which can ring the changes on them. However, there is no imagination or notion whose simpler elements the mind has not previously taken in by some external or internal sense. The mind is able to store and keep such notions, so that oftentimes it can recall them a long time afterward.18
Although both memory and imagination depend to some extent on body in the present state of the soul, nevertheless both powers seem to be within the mind itself, because it often recalls of its own accord ideas it once received, including those which have nothing in common with the body or with external sense. Indeed, images once invoked also run through the fancy of their own accord in some strange fashion, whether because they are connected in some wonderful way with certain previous images, and we must speak of this later, or for some other obscure reason. The Cartesian doctrine of some kind of animal spirits, readily passing through interconnected and open passages of the brain, has altogether too much of the note of fiction.19
We must give a word of warning about the external sense and the imagination, lest being too familiar with them, we judge things that belong to neither of them as untrue or unreliable. To the contrary, those things that are truest and contribute most to a happy or a wretched life are in no way subject to these faculties.]20
Natural associations of ideas
We must not ignore that other capacity of the mind, which is so important in our lives, of storing up associations between ideas which have once impressed it, so that when anything subsequently suggests one idea, it also triggers the others which are associated with it. To this capacity we owe facility in speech and, indeed, almost all our memory of things past.
All good is distinguished from evil by a certain sense; useful things are also perceived by reason
The mind is supplied with a variety of images of good and bad things through the senses and by reasoning. Those which are pleasing in themselves to any of the senses are called good;those which arouse a distressing sense are bad; and they are ultimate in their own kind, and to be sought or avoided for themselves. The reasonings we bring to bear here are not primarily concerned with ultimate goods or evils themselves, but with the means or aids which we make use of in pursuing ultimate goods or rejecting evils. Since the importance of any good to a happy life depends at the same time on the value of the pleasing sensation or the intensity and duration of the pleasure, there will be room for a kind of simple reasoning, or rather recollection, in comparing ultimate ends with each other so that we may make a comparison of the values or degrees of different sensations. We train our capacity to judge the duration of goods through our use and experience of things. We should take the same approach to making discriminations between evils.
Some pleasures accompany passions for passing things; others accompany actions
Some pleasant and painful sensations accompany passions; others accompany actions, though in both cases the sensation itself may be called a passion. [The happier [pleasures] are those which accompany actions.] But although all happiness lies in some sensation, it is still rightly said that the happiness of every nature that is born to act lies in action, since the pleasures that accompany certain human actions are much superior, much more worthy and enduring, than those which can arise from any passion or physical impulse. For some sensations are vastly superior to others. Not all natures that are truly happy are also equally happy. For those which are endowed with few senses or with senses which are capable only of the lighter pleasures will draw the greatest happiness of which they are capable from things that will never satisfy the [longing for] a happy life of a superior nature, equipped by nature with a nobler sense.
Habit, a quality which perfects an innate power
Another wonderful capacity in both mind and body is that if an action is frequently repeated, it will become easy to do it thereafter. This is called habit, and by habit a man’s native powers can be wonderfully developed; and it does not seem that the whole power of habit resides in memory. In oft-repeated sensations, the pleasure or pain gradually diminishes; but if pleasant things ever cease, one misses them dreadfully, simply because one had frequent enjoyment of them before.
Relative ideas: when several things have a property in common
When the mind compares ideas which have been received by internal or external sense, a new idea arises which is called a relative idea; it exhibits the relation or connection between the things compared, so long as they are not completely different. If between the things compared there is nothing common to both, or no similar quality or property in both, there will be no relation or connection between them.21
Judgments, some abstract, others absolute
Judgment, which is called the second operation of the understanding, can hardly be totally distinct from perception. For an absolute judgment may be said to be the complex perception of a thing existing at a certain time, which is prompted either directly by means of the senses or by the intervention of reason, when one discerns the connection of the thing which is the subject of the judgment with the things which sense shows to exist. Abstract judgments are perceptions of relations which exist between things observed; or, if anyone thinks that judgments are distinct actions of the mind, which nevertheless originate in these perceptions, the act of judging is represented by a simple idea which cannot be defined.
How our judgments are in our own power
We will not linger over this other question, as to whether a judgment is a passion of the mind rather than an action.22 The mind seems to be active in the process of cognition, in careful attention, in comparison of ideas with each other, and in its desires and intentions to act. Almost everyone would agree that we do not judge that a thing is this way or that way because we wanted so to judge. The only way, therefore, in which our judgments are in our power or follow the behest of our will, is that it is within our power to direct our attention to either side [of an argument] and to carefully examine both. And since a sane man soberly directs his mind by particular arguments and understands them, he cannot withhold his assent; or, if the arguments which he understands are only probable, he will perceive, even against his own will, that the side to which they point is probably or likely to be true. There is therefore a greater freedom involved in apprehensions, which we can vary at will, than in judgments. But since against most arguments which are only probable, the presumption or suspicion remains that there may be other more likely arguments on the other side, it is within our power to withhold the full assent of our minds to this conclusion, even though it seems more likely, and to abstain from acting, until we have also examined the arguments which point in the other direction. There are countless degrees of likeliness, and some approach very close to full certainty and seem to offer full and perfect credit.
On the Will
What the will is
As soon as an image of good or evil is presented to the mind, another faculty of the soul comes into action, which is distinct from every sense and is called the will; it seeks (appetens) every kind of pleasant sensation and all actions, events, or external things which seem likely to arouse them, and shuns and rejects everything contrary to them. [Innate in every man is a constant desire (appetitio ) for happiness, which never fails to display itself, when opportunity offers, in pursuing (appetendo ) things that seem to make for a happy life and in spurning things that do not. There is, however, no innate notion of the supreme good, or of an aggregation of all goods, to which we may refer all our intentions. What it would be correct to say is that the mind, so long as it maintains a calm and provident motion, is formed to seek every good thing in itself and to shun every evil; and when several things come before it which it cannot have all at the same time, it turns to those which seem greater and more excellent. The same should also be said of warding off evils. Hence we must often reject pleasures which it is not possible to enjoy without the loss of greater and more lasting [pleasures], or which are followed by more serious pains. And likewise pains must sometimes be borne, if that is the only way we can obtain greater pleasures or avoid more serious pains.]1
The two meanings of desiring
Just as we include among the operations of the understanding not only sensations which are perceived by the body and are common to us with the brute animals, but also the nobler powers of perception which are proper to man and which convey the notion of superior goods, so also man’s desire (appetitus) is twofold. One desire we share with the dumb animals. It is called sensual [desire] and directs us toward pleasure by a kind of blind instinct; it is driven by a quite violent emotion of the mind to obtain certain sensual goods and avoid sensual ills. The other is a calm emotion which calls in the counsel of reason and pursues things that are judged, in the light of all the circumstances, to be superior, and are seized by a nobler sense. It is called rational [desire], or will in the proper sense.2 We will first give an account of this desire; it is common to us with every creature endowed with reason.
Such a desire or aversion arises spontaneously when an image of good or evil is presented and considered in all its circumstances, without a prior decision or command of the will. A desire or aversion is very often followed closely by a kind of deliberation about all the arguments and considerations in favor of getting the thing we want or of avoiding the thing we dislike. After these arguments and considerations have been explored, there follows an intention ( propositum ) or determination (consilium) to do those things that seem most likely to achieve the end. The first desire or aversion the scholastics call simple wanting; the intention to act, after the agent, so far as his intelligence and diligence allows, has weighed everything that precedes, accompanies, or seems likely to follow the action, they call efficacious volition.3
How mixed things are desired
Just as we seek by nature every good which is worthy in itself and shun every evil, so when good things are mingled with ills, the will inclines to those which seem more numerous and more excellent. Thus there is a certain deliberation about ends themselves, or about things which seem good or evil in themselves and which are called objective ends, though there is no deliberation about the ultimate end, the formal end as they call it, or about happiness itself and the rejection of misery.4
[And though ordinary goods generally do not have enough force to necessarily cause an efficacious volition, since it is quite often possible to foresee more serious ills attached to them, nevertheless whenever an absolute or infinite good is clearly seen which carries no preponderating evil with it, it will necessarily give rise to desire and arouse an efficacious volition. Only wise and prudent men, therefore, have one ultimate end set before them to which they refer all their intentions to act. Other men live in a more ad hoc fashion, pursuing various things which are recommended by some appearance of good and fleeing the contrary, unless they see something attached to it which has the power to turn their minds in a different direction. But all deliberation, whether about the ultimate end or about means, is to be referred in the last analysis to a certain immediate sense of pleasure or distress. ]5
Where liberty lies
Since the sentiment of the mind after completing its deliberation does not depend on the will, but necessarily follows the evidence of truth which is put before it, and [since] no previous command of the will arouses simple wishing or the initial desire or aversion, there is no question of liberty here at all, whether liberty is taken as the power of doing what we wish and omitting what we do not wish, or a certain indifferent power of the mind to turn equally in any direction.6 If therefore liberty is a faculty which, given all the conditions for action, may act or not act, do one thing or its contrary, it will only have place in an actual intention to act or in an efficacious volition, according to whether we can initiate [the volition] or suppress it by a previous decision of the will. But if this power pays no attention to the appearances of good or evil which are put before it or fails to follow them, it would seem to be a useless and capricious [power]. Anyone, therefore, who finds it absurd that our minds should be endowed with a power which in no way certainly follows our judgment will have to define it to mean merely a power of doing what we wish and of refraining when we do not wish, however much the mind may have been constrained to wish or not.7
[It seems to have been the position of the Stoics that the will is constrained and directed by each man’s character, whether natural or artificial, together with the appearance of good or evil that is put before it, and that it cannot happen otherwise. For they believe that there are certain natural laws set in the mind itself, or that the nature of minds is such that they are necessarily directed by what we have called causes. A great many things, they hold, have this power of constraining the mind and arousing certain feelings by themselves without any [process of] reasoning. For it is not only things which are useful or pleasant to someone which stir his desires, but closeness of blood, benefits received, evidence of virtues in others, and so on excite love and goodwill of themselves; and injuries arouse anger and a desire for vengeance. And under equally unchanging conditions each man’s natural character is variously modified by its various encounters with things, as a result of custom, habits, and the complexion of the body itself. But given the character, the appearances presented to the mind necessarily direct it, so that all these circumstances being as they are, it cannot will otherwise; but it could act otherwise if it willed otherwise.
They hold that this condition of our nature is completely compatible with actions being good or bad, since in their view the goodness and badness of actions lie chiefly in our state of mind (affectionibus ); some states, in accordance with the structure of our souls, are good and laudable in themselves, while others are disgusting and detestable however they may have been aroused in us. They also argue that this does not in any way detract from the force of laws, threats, and exhortations, since the power of these lies precisely in the fact that they offer a new image of good and evil. And though this reasoning shows that all anger is useless and unworthy of the ruler of all things as well as of the wise man, it will not make the threat or infliction of punishment useless or unjust provided that serious evils often cannot be averted without them, and men or other natures endowed with reason who are not very constant in virtue cannot be kept from their vices by any other equally ready means.
The Peripatetics and other learned and pious men, who find these views too harsh and not quite consistent with divine justice, take a different approach. They take the position that although minds always follow some appearance of good, still in situations where they are between two appearances of good, on the one hand the right and the good, on the other hand the pleasant and the useful, they turn themselves of their own accord in the one direction or the other. We linger no longer over this highly vexed question, which has always troubled the minds of the learned and pious.]8
What control a man has over his desires
Whatever men’s freedom may be, if adequate signs of superior goods are put before them, anyone who has carefully examined the things which arouse desire, and has directed the powers of his mind to this thing, [will find that] all his appetites and desires will be stronger or milder in proportion to the goods themselves. Everyone, therefore, who has seriously done this will be able to make all his desires for superior goods and aversion from the graver evils so strong that he will easily be able at need to suppress weaker desires for bad things and his aversion to lesser evils. Thus he will be able to shape the whole pattern of his life, so that he will pursue all the nobler goods and ignore all the lower things which are incompatible with them.
Joys and sorrows
Apart from desire and aversion, which are different from every sensation and incite to action directly and by themselves, joy and sorrow are commonly attributed to the will; but they are rather reflex and secondary sensations, which are different from the sensations which things at hand excite directly, and may either precede or follow them.9 For joy arises from the expected acquisition of a thing sought, or the expected avoidance of an evil presently threatening, and sorrow from the fear of a future evil or the expected loss of a good.
Sensual desire and the passions
Very different from calm desire or aversion, which are concerned with our own or another’s good or evil, and which follow the images of good that our understanding foresees, are the violent motions of the mind, which are called passions of the will and to be included in sensual desire. [They occur] when we are driven by a kind of blind but natural impulse to do certain things or to desire them, even when reason has not pointed to any appearances of good or evil, nor shown us that they are necessary or useful to our happiness or the happiness of those whom we hold dear. These motions are accompanied by a kind of confused and powerful disturbance of the mind which impedes the use of reason. They often agitate the mind when it is not moved by any pure affection or calm plan of action; often pure affections are found without these violent emotions; often they draw the mind in opposite directions at the same time, and desire urges one thing, the mind another.10 Now calm plans of action suppress these passions, now they are overcome by them; this is the state of those who have not yet attained continence or the command of the lower regions of the mind.11
[There are four kinds of violent emotions (motus ), as there are of calm emotions (motus ): desires, fears, joys, and sorrows, and several divisions of each, and some tend to be frequently associated with others and combined with them; it would take a long time to give a full account.]12
They do not all aim at sensual good
Not all of these violent (perturbati ) motions of the body aim only at pleasure or pain. The disturbances (perturbationes) and blind impulses of the mind in people who are reckless and intemperate are just the same, [though directed] toward a great variety of good and bad things. They are included with the sensual desires because they bring with them a very painful or violent sensation, which agitates the blood and often the whole body. Here we include not only the desires for eating or the pleasure of procreation, but also ambition, anger, pity, envy, affection, favor, hatred, and so on.
[The cause of vices
We should hold these violent motions primarily responsible for the various things that move and warp the mind without regard to their worth or usefulness. For just as there is no desire for the unknown,13 so things that we barely perceive and rarely revolve in our minds make a feeble impression; and things that are far away (as to the eye so to the mind) appear small and insignificant unless they are brought closer by frequent and deep thought. Some disturbances also completely fill our minds so that we do not have the strength to follow anything by reason or design. This is how it comes about that earthly things, vile, fleeting, and transitory as they are, so often deflect men from the pursuit of noble, heavenly, and eternal things.]14
The motives of the mind look either to one’s own advantage or to another’s
We should not neglect a remarkable distinction between the motives of our wills, whether calm or violent: in some of them we are ultimately pursuing merely our own pleasure or advantage, or protecting ourselves from evils, whereas in others we seek to bring about or preserve the happiness of others or to shield them from misery. For when we are not moved by envy or anger, or no conflict is seen between another’s happiness and our own, we would desire happiness for every sentient creature, we would pray for every success and happiness for him, and we would strive to spare him all pains and troubles.
Whether violent or calm
This far-reaching benevolence corresponds to the calm feeling of self-love (philautia), which approves and desires the happiness of all men without distinction. For with most of our calm affections we desire the prosperity of our country, our friends, our family, and of all good men, just as we pursue the various goods which reason points to for ourselves.
Different from both of these, we also have violent movements of the will, or passions; certain of them seek some pleasure or advantage for ourselves, and some of them seek it for others. The natural reaction to benefits received is a grateful heart and a stronger motive of benevolence toward our benefactor. The performance of honorable and outstanding services toward any man or the practice of eminent virtue stirs our minds and often inflames us with strong emotion and an ardent zeal to advance men endowed with these virtues to higher dignities. Love of offspring is a very special thing, accompanied [though it is] by distressing sensations: all animals are prompted to procreate by a kind of blind impulse of nature. But anger, that brief madness,15 and indignation are a natural reaction to injuries whether committed against ourselves or against others who do not deserve it.
There is a kind of truly gratuitous goodness
Everyone who enters into his own mind and explores his own intentions and feelings in his actions will find that these kindly feelings of our hearts, whether calm or violent, are not aroused by a previous command of the will and do not ultimately look to any advantage or pleasure of our own. [This is] particularly [clear if] one surveys the counsels and deeds of famous men, sacred duties performed by dying men, voluntary deaths to save friends and country. We may also observe the ends of lesser men, how they commend their children and friends, remember and cherish old friendships, and maintain the highest standards of duty with their last breath! These show that probity and gratuitous goodness are innate in men, not prompted by pleasure or evoked by the prospect of reward.
There are also certain natural propensities of the mind, or instincts, to perform, pursue, or avoid certain things, without any preceding reasoning, and with no thought of their importance for our own or others’ advantage. In the brute animals these things are more obvious; something very like the minds of men is implanted in them by the kindly design of God, for their individual or common advantage, so that they may show what things are suitable to nature and what things are to be sought for themselves, and so that each may use his own nature as a guide for living. I need not mention again our approval and praise of good men, our frequent commemoration of benefits received, our compassion for the afflicted, painful as it is, and the fact that we are ready to visit scenes of misery, even when we have no opportunity to do any good. What advantage for ourselves or others do we seek by lamentations for the dead or the funeral honors we give them, by the wishes of a dying man for a child who will be born after he is dead, by the avoidance of childlessness, or by our extreme aversion to physical deformity or abnormality even when there is no loss of function? Why do children have an itch to see and hear things which are no use to them, and why can they never sit still? What is the point of endlessly deploring disasters to which no relief can be given? And why do those who hold that human affairs are no concern of the dead give themselves so much pain and trouble to achieve an enduring reputation for themselves and their family?]16
Painful sensations (sensus) either precede or follow motions of the will
A painful sensation naturally precedes certain passions of the mind and accompanies or follows others. It precedes the passions which the scholastics quite properly ascribe to the sensual appetite, those which concern the nutrition of the body and the preservation of the species. Other passions or appetites are accompanied or followed by certain painful sensations, when the means to satisfy them are wanting. There are many such sensations, not very different from one other.
The mind’s control of its violent emotions
Since all the lower desires get their special force from incautious associations of ideas,17 from which without any natural cause to do so, we imagine that certain things have wonderful virtues or make some great contribution to a happy life, because these things are given a very high value by irresponsible people whom we associate with, or ambitious, self-indulgent, or immoral people (who by bad habits and long use have depraved or virtually destroyed their natural sense of things). If we are to achieve a just command of these desires and true freedom of mind, it would be very helpful to separate and take apart these notions which we have so carelessly put together, and take a long, hard look at those things that stimulate the appetite, stripping them of these stolen colors; so that we may discover and learn for ourselves what real good and evil is in each of them, and so that we may not seek or shun them beyond the measure of true good and evil.
The passions not useless
Since men have not had sufficient force of reason or intelligence to get a clear idea of the fabric of their own bodies, and to understand what things are helpful and what do harm, or what it would be suitable for them to eat, we have had to be warned of need or hunger by a painful sensation; and useful things have had to be distinguished from harmful things by sensation rather than reason; and often we have had to be driven by a blind impulse of nature toward the things that are healthy for us or for the human race. By these things alone we have been driven, by strong stimuli of this nature, so that we would not remain mired in the ways of beasts; similar stimuli of distressing sensations are attached to many other appetites for things which reason would judge to be useful, so that the mind would be better strengthened against the enticements of the lower pleasures.
Whether Spirit Is a Different Thing from Body[cp11.2][cb-3]1
It is a celebrated question whether thinking thing (res cogitans) is completely different from body, or whether on the contrary matter itself, that is, extended thing (res extensa ), [which is] solid, mobile, and made up of different parts, can understand and will and possess within itself all that we commonly call the properties of spirits.2
Whether substance is completely different from body
A number of respectable ancient philosophers adopted the latter view, believing that certain subtle bodies, whether air, fire, or aether, are the actual thing that thinks, though none of the denser bodies can have the power of reasoning or sense.3
[The subtleties of the Cartesians about the actual nature of the soul, which they choose to locate in active thought, which is also general, I deliberately pass over, because the inward natures of all bodies are hidden from us, and all thought seems plainly to be an action or passion or state of the soul. And the only sense in which we can understand “general thought” is as the general idea of thinking, and we make no assertion about whether or not the soul is always thinking.]4
Our knowledge of things is imperfect
In this difficult question it will be well to remember that the eye of the mind is dull, and cannot penetrate to the inner natures of things, and therefore we are merely inferring likely conjectures about them from properties known by sense or experience. And it is not by arguments or reasoning based on the perceived nature of things that we are brought to adopt some of the most vital doctrines in philosophy, but rather by a certain internal sense, by experience, and by a kind of impulse of nature or instinct. Whoever sets out to settle the question before us, keeping this in mind, will find good reasons to believe that thinking thing is completely different from body.
There is a great difference between the properties of the two things
For first he will see that every kind of thought is quite different from the properties which all agree are in corporeal things, so that it cannot arise from them or from any compound of them. The only apparent result of the motion or collision of several bodies is movement in different directions or damage to the bodies and fragmentation. Nothing can truly arise from the figures of bodies except a figure, either in the things themselves or in some compound formed from them: nothing that has anything in common with sense, understanding, and will.
Certain contrary properties show that things are different from each other
What [of the fact that] every body, if we are to believe men’s reasoning, is a compound of things truly different which, however close they may be to each other, are in different places, and may easily be split apart by a suitably powerful force? And of the fact that the unique property which is in one part of a body cannot also be in another part, though it may have a similar property? The figure or motion of one part is not the figure or motion of another part, despite the fact that this other [part] has properties which are completely the same as those. By contrast, whatever properties the mind has of which it is conscious (and it has innumerable properties, including sensations, ideas, judgments, reasonings, volitions, desires, intentions), it also perceives that all these are properties of one and the same thing, which it calls its self, and it sees that they are unextended and indivisible. And it cannot doubt that it is one and the same thing which at different times feels, perceives, judges, and desires. But this cannot be the case with a corporeal system, each of whose parts has its own shapes, positions, and motions which are truly different from the qualities of the other parts.
Every man’s internal sense will show the same thing
Furthermore, the mind itself, under the guidance of nature, seems to have a consciousness of itself as distinct from every extension, indeed from the very body which it calls its own. For it seems to perceive that this body and its parts, however they may be connected with itself, are nevertheless subject to itself, to be ruled by its command, and are useful or distressing to itself: and perceives itself therefore to be distinct from that body.5
A threefold distinction between perceived properties
In order to better understand this argument, which comes from Plato or Socrates, we must not neglect a threefold distinction of perceptions. Some [perceptions], under the guidance of nature herself, refer to wholly external things, which belong to us only in the sense that they are perceived and whose changes do not affect us. There is a second kind of perception, namely, those which touch us more nearly, pervading us with a sense of pleasure or pain, and which, by a warning of nature, are always attributed to the parts of the corporeal system which we call our body, because they are associated with those places which the parts of the body occupy, and seem to arise directly from a certain motion, property, or change in those parts. These two kinds of ideas are involved in some way with corporeal properties, i.e., motion, extension, and space, and contribute nothing to the true dignity and excellence of man or to his depravity and baseness, and one would not put a lower or higher value on himself or another [person] on the basis of these ideas.
Finally, there is a third kind of perception, foreign to every corporeal property, which represents the very properties of man or of the human mind, and involves no ideas of space, extension, or motion, but depicts the true properties of each self, from which are fashioned all its dignity, goodness, and excellence on the one hand, and all its evil, depravity, and baseness on the other. Such are the notions of understanding, cognition, knowledge, reasoning, love, benevolence, faithfulness, and virtue, and of their contraries; none of them have anything in common with any kind of corporeal property.
Thinking thing is a certain single thing, and is simple: body is an aggregate of several things
Moreover, every body is made up of parts which are really different, and every corporeal property is also divisible, so that a part of a property inheres in individual parts of a body, but the properties which, under the guidance of nature, are thought to be the properties of the mind itself are undivided and simple, and cannot be dissipated through the various parts of the body or diffused through the parts of space occupied by the body.6 We are therefore right to conclude that thinking thing is a simple substance, totally distinct from matter.
Thinking thing is active (actuosa), body inert
The human mind is also aware that it is endowed with a true power of acting. For it not only judges and desires, which are true actions, but also directs its attention wherever it may wish, and turns away from one thing and concentrates on another, entertains or ignores ideas it has received, and magnifies or minimizes them; it analyzes complex ideas or compounds simple ideas, and even sets the body in motion. But all body, if the physicists are correct, is inert, always retaining its own state or motion unless an external force impinges on it.
[Here should come a consideration of those divine powers which we see are in minds; there is memory, and that an almost infinite [memory] of innumerable things; there is invention and excogitation, which investigates hidden things; which has given names to all things; which has captured the almost infinite vocal sounds in a few marks of letters; which has brought together scattered men and summoned them to society of life; which has marked the various courses of the stars; which has discovered benefits, clothing, houses, cities, and the cultivation and protections of life; and has developed from necessary structures to more elegant things, whence so many delights/amusements have come, from poetry, eloquence, and the skills of painting, sculpting, and engraving. Why should I mention philosophy, a divine gift, which has educated us to the worship of God, to the law of men which lies in community and society, to modesty and magnanimity, and every virtue: surely this power is divine and is not of the heart or of the brain, or of the blood, or of the bile, bones, or muscles? can it be in these crude elements of which bodies are composed?]7
There is no generation or corruption of spirit
These same [arguments] will show that spirit is neither generated in the manner of bodies nor perishes. For bodies are generated when there is a due formation, combination, and motion of previously existing parts, and they die when this combination, formation, and motion is removed. From this simplicity of the soul is derived what is called its physical immortality, for the dissolution of the body is by no means necessarily followed by the death of the thing which is quite different from it. But it needs a deeper inquiry to determine whether human minds will survive and live after the death of the body, and we will discuss it later.8
[On the place of spirits
The simplicity of minds offers a reason for doubting whether they occupy space or have any relationship to space. One may make inferences about unknown natures only from their properties. Now, the properties of minds exclude all extension and figure. Indeed, in the present state of things, our minds can act only on external things by way of the body, and their senses are aroused by the movements of bodies; in fact, certain perceptions, in a wonderful and inexplicable way, are related to parts of the body, and others to things or places distant from the body. But the ideas which exhibit the properties of the mind itself are not related to any place. It is not therefore agreed whether a place should be assigned to the mind otherwise than by mere external denomination, drawn from its body. Indeed in this question, as in others raised about the nature of the mind, the gaze of the mind has to be withdrawn from its habitual familiarity with the eyes and the other senses, as well as from hastily adopted opinions, lest we imagine that only those things are true which are perceived by the senses.
The conclusion of all this is that the human mind is “a thinking substance, endowed with reason, totally distinct from body, which desires knowledge and a diverse happiness; and it can find it chiefly in knowledge itself, in the kindly affections of the will, and in action consistent with them; it is normally joined in close union with a living body and is affected by its changes.”]9
On the Union of the Mind with the Body, and on a Separate State1
The command of the mind over the body
The power of the soul to move the limbs of its body is familiar. But whether it is the action (efficacia) of the mind or will that moves the parts of the body directly by itself without the intervention of a superior nature has not been adequately explored. We feel a certain power of the mind, or energy, particularly in the initial moment, whenever we make an effort to move the limbs of the body in any manner. Reports of anatomists cast doubt on whether this action initiates these motions of itself. For it is well known that the movement of an exterior limb depends directly upon a certain movement of the nerves and muscles, of which we are barely conscious and which we never desire or will to exist. Similarly, in the other direction, the arousal of sensations in the mind follows directly upon a certain motion of the nerves which is connected with the brain, though the mind does not perceive this motion; it almost always feels that the motion exists in a certain part of the body at a distance from the brain or even outside the body. There are therefore pious and learned men who attribute all this to a certain divine force.2
[It is also very well known by experience that perceptible motions of the blood and the finer humors accompany all the more intense actions and states of the mind, even those which are connected with barely perceptible things; but there is no sense of them in our tranquil thoughts. However, since thought, like all motions of the mind, is aroused, retained, put aside, and modified by command of the will, it is obvious that none of them is in any way wholly dependent upon the power of inert matter, which cannot change its state or motion.]3
The union of mind with body
Concerning the union of mind and body, we know nothing beyond those powers or constant intimations of powers, by which they seem to affect each other, so that certain bodily movements immediately follow decisions of the mind, and in turn sensations in the mind follow the movements aroused in the body, and they in turn stimulate various appetites and passions which are accompanied by internal and external motions. However, there are several parts of the body which the mind cannot directly move by its own will and whose movements it cannot stop or change, and the continual motions in the body on which life chiefly depends do not give rise to any sensations in the mind; and indeed this would not be at all useful but rather distressing.
[For this reason some believe that the soul does not move the body and the body does not affect the soul by its own powers or by a necessary connection between them, but by the intervention of a superior cause, since the power of the soul reaches only to certain parts of the body, and only certain parts of the body have the power of affecting the soul; and neither has been formed by our design. Nor does the great disparity between these substances seem to be consistent with such a natural and necessary mutual power. Accordingly, they believe that God himself unites souls with bodies at birth, and equally that he causes them to act upon one another in accordance with a fixed law, as he is the same always, and is everywhere present and active.]4
The survival of the soul after death depends on the will of God
Concerning the survival of the soul in separation from the body, all that has been securely established is that we have no awareness or memory of our existence or of any events before our birth, but we do have a probable expectation that the soul will survive the dissolution of the body.5 There is first the fact that we do not see any substance perishing, and cannot show by valid arguments that any substance does perish, and we cannot infer from the death of the body that a thing which is completely different from it will also perish. There is also the fact that the hope and longing for immortality has prevailed among all peoples in all centuries. [The holiness and justice of God require it.] And the government of the universe itself under a just and kindly God seems to require it, so that truly good men whom we often see oppressed by many external ills, and exposed to serious distress simply because they are good, may not fail to receive an appropriate reward for their virtues, and that wicked men, for whom all things turn out well and as they would wish, may not go unpunished. The kindly providence of our most holy governor would not permit either of these things, but for the happiness of his whole commonwealth will keep the majesty of his most excellent laws sacrosanct, safeguarded by fitting penalties.6
This is the only condition on which virtue deserves approval
All things in the physical world have been formed with so much art and skill by the supreme creator of all things, and so many features of the fabric of the human mind also show the benevolence and wisdom of the supreme creator. Yet many aspects of the government of this great commonwealth, which contains the whole human race, remain imperfect and need to be corrected, and if we regard only our present life, this is altogether unworthy of so great, so kind, and so powerful a ruler, and deserves universal condemnation. But all of this may easily be rectified if souls survive bodies, so that the whole fabric and government of the world become fully worthy of the great and good God. Who will doubt then that souls survive, and that the entire government of the whole universe is most perfect? We see considerable evidence of such a pattern even in the present state of things. For often things which in relation to a certain time would be blameworthy if viewed in isolation, because they appear to be sad, cruel, and unjust, and all the responsibility for them seems to rest on God himself, will be found in the end, when they are considered together with their necessary consequences even in this life, to have been planned according to a most intelligent and kindly design.
Immortality is especially desired and expected by the best people
What too of the fact that the nearer a man’s mind approaches the perfection of his own nature, as he looks toward the immense expanse of future time, and recognizes God as the creator and ruler of the world, and despises all things terrestrial and transitory, and at the same time views the common happiness of all men with a kindly intention, and embraces the whole human race with the greatest love and benevolence, how displeasing will the whole government of the world seem to him and all the design and providential plan of the supreme ruler, if all things are really to be destroyed by death? For it is not given to men to enjoy constant and unalloyed good, not even to the best of men for whom this life is often painful and passed amid sorrow and tears (not to speak of the many innocent children who die an early and tragic death), nor is it allowed to hope for other things for oneself or one’s family or the human race beyond these brief and fleeting things soon to be snatched away by death, which human reason itself warns us to despise, bidding us love and long for immortal and eternal things. [And it is not credible that God, who has shown himself supremely intelligent and kind, should have willed to render empty and vain these ardent desires and prayers of the very best men which he himself seems to have implanted and to have specially commended to us.]7
What natural theology is
All philosophy is pleasant and profitable, but no part is richer and more fertile than that which holds the knowledge of God, and which is called natural theology.1 It exhibits what philosophers have perceptively uncovered or diligently argued in sole reliance on the powers of human reason; it does not touch those things which the great and good God in his supreme love for man has designed to teach those who have been inspired by his divinity with marvelous signs beyond man’s normal reach. For imperfect as it is, this knowledge of the highest matters is not only delightful and worthy of a man in itself, but also offers supreme inducements to every virtue and to all honest modes of life, while at the same time laying firm foundations of true magnanimity, constancy, and peace.
In giving a brief synopsis of this science, we shall deal briefly with the most important topics which philosophers treat at length: first, that most serious question whether there is a God, next the attributes of God, and finally the divine operations.
In Which It Is Shown That There Is a God
Who is the subject of the question whether there is a God?
In this part of our course, the question whether there is a God takes first place. But if we are to understand the force of the word, we must first say that God is a certain nature much superior to human nature, governing this whole world by reason and design. This summary is enough for now, as we shall soon give a more thorough account of the divine nature, after we have expounded the arguments which prove that there is a God and what his nature is. Whoever believes that this world and its major parts are governed by the reason and design of an intelligent nature believes that there is a God or gods, even though he may have formed many views rashly and falsely about the nature or attributes of God. The only people who are atheists are those who deny that the world is governed by the design of a wise ruler or that in the beginning it was made by him.
The intelligent fabric of the world shows that there is a God
That there is a God who formed this world in the beginning and rules it at all times is shown by the supremely intelligent design of the world and of all its parts, which have been so well made that they could not be more serviceable in use or more beautiful in appearance.
Two kinds of action: by design and by brute force
We take it that there are two kinds of action: one, when we move bodies in an endeavor to put some specific shape or form into things by deliberate design; the other, when we stir bodies at random without any design, without concern to produce any special effect or form. From the latter kind of action we cannot expect anything that is beautiful or regular, or similar to previous things or usefully made, but from the former, all things beautiful, regular, similar, and useful readily arise.
The criterion of each and the reason for the difference
The reason for this difference is not hard to see: the ugly and useless figures and positions which the parts of any object may take are infinite in number, whereas there is only one form and perhaps only one position of things which tend to beauty or usefulness in any given kind. Without art, therefore, and design there can be no expectation that anything beautiful or similar or useful is likely to result from the use of brute force. Since, therefore, so many very beautiful forms appear in the world every day, things which have been fabricated on a similar pattern, whose innumerable parts have been most cunningly fashioned both for beauty and for use, anyone who believes that all these things could have been made without divine intelligence and reason must really be regarded as himself devoid of intelligence and reason.
The movements of the heavenly bodies most cleverly devised
Anyone who wishes to treat this argument fully must surely survey the whole of natural philosophy (physiologia);1 we shall only deal briefly with the more important points. Consider the immense size and power of the heavenly bodies, their certain motions and fixed orders, and especially the grandeur and beauty of the sun and its effects: how in rising it brings in the day, diffusing everywhere a cheerful, healthy light, in setting gives place to darkness which is most suitable for rest, and in regular succession effects the annual change of the seasons, for the health and preservation of all animals and plants: anyone who has come to know these things will surely not be able to doubt that they are all caused by a preeminent and divine reason.
The fabric of the earth and of terrestrial things
Let us come to the earth,2 surrounded by a living and breathable nature whose name is air, and clothed with flowers, herbs, trees, and fruits, the unbelievable multitude of which is marked by an insatiable variety. Add here the grandeur and usefulness of the clouds which are raised by the sun from the great ocean and the lakes and are held aloft by the weight of the air, the height of the mountains, the power of the winds, the perennial springs that flow from them, and the clear and health-giving water of the rivers that make this earth a fruitful, abundant, and pleasant home for all living things. No one looking at these things will fail to see the signs of a most benevolent God.
How wonderful is the structure of those things that grow from the earth, which are held by roots that draw nourishment from the earth: how great is their variety and beauty! How great is the force of all of them, so that from such little seeds they bring forth grasses, plants, trunks, branches, leaves and flowers, and then again seeds, distinguished by an infinite variety and providing so many uses to living creatures! And every one of them is so similar to all others of the same kind (whose number is infinite) that no hand or art could bring it about or mind imagine it.
Signs of art and divine design in living things
How great is the variety of living things! How great a drive to reproduce and to persist, each in its own kind! And largely and abundantly has nature provided food for living things, the proper food for each kind; and what differences in the shapes of animals so that they may get and consume their food, how cunning, how subtle! How admirable the structure of the limbs! And all of them so made and placed that none is superfluous, none not necessary for the preservation of life.
In their senses and appetites
Both sense and appetite have been given to living things, so that by the one they may endeavor to obtain healthy and useful things, and by the other distinguish the noxious from the healthful. Instinctive in the limbs are the powers that make possible a marvelous variety of spontaneous motions, so that they may get the things that will do them good and repel or avoid what will do them harm. These movements and senses are aroused according to specific conditions, by a wonderful artifice which men can scarcely learn even by long investigation. Specific sensations are caused by many movements in the body which are not known or observed by the animal itself; and in turn the desired movements immediately respond to a determination of the mind to move a certain part of the body. In both cases certain motions of the internal parts come into play which the mind does not perceive or command. And this mutual effect of the body on the mind and of the mind on the body extends as far as is useful and no further. For these continual motions of the inward parts on which the life of a living thing depends are maintained when we are asleep or doing something else, and even against our will. They excite no sense in the mind, which incidentally would be pointless and annoying. We cannot move at our will those parts of the body whose voluntary motion could not help us at all.
In the preservation of species
With how provident a design are the kinds of animals and of things which grow from the earth preserved! Such power is in their seed that from one or two seeds many creatures are generated. Some living things are male, others female; some parts of the body are adapted for begetting and conceiving, and there are wonderful passions for bringing bodies together. As soon as the fetus of living things which are nourished by milk leaves the womb, the mother’s nourishment begins to flow. And creatures which have only been born a moment before seek the breast under the guidance of nature, without any teacher, and are filled by its abundance. And that we may understand that none of these things is by chance, that all are the works of a provident and intelligent nature, there is innate in all animals whose offspring need their help an exceeding love and a special care to protect and raise what they have begotten right up to the time that the offspring can look after themselves, or in fact so long as the parents can provide help to them. But when the offspring no longer needs the help of the parents, and the parents’ help is no longer useful, this love either disappears or remains inactive.3
Especially in the structure of the human body
What great evidence of supremely clever design there would be if the whole fabric of the human frame were thoroughly scanned? If the appearance and dignity of the whole body were considered? The organs of sense most subtly crafted and most aptly placed? Why speak of the eyes or ears of living things? Why of the internal organs? What of the human face which reveals all the motions of the mind? What works has not nature constructed for the purpose of speech? How apt are the hands she has given, the ministers of how many arts?
And in the powers of the mind
Let us come to the powers of the mind whose aspect is still more glorious, and especially to the power of reason, which has given man empire over all the things of the earth, whether animate or inanimate. By men’s reason and foresight so many arts have been invented which provide such a store of useful and pleasant things. Men’s reason penetrates even to the sky and contemplates the beauty of the world, and surely comes to him not from chance nor by the design or skill of his parents but from the most wise God.
And in its nobler powers
Why should I mention the other powers of the mind? Why should I recall that it has been given virtually to man alone to discern the beauty of things, their order, the connection of their parts, and their use? Why should I say that men also sense in the intentions of their minds, and in their words and actions, what beauty and goodness are, what is fitting, what is proper; and that the feelings of our hearts and our plans for action meet with more approval from other men’s sense of things, and are more universally praised, the more happiness in life they are likely to give to more people, even when those who approve and praise them have absolutely no prospect of any advantage for themselves.
What of the fact that men’s desires are formed on a most benevolent design? For nature does not make a man love only himself, but also his wife, his child, his family, his neighbors, his fellow-citizens, all of whom we treat with spontaneous kindness, provided there is no reason for conflict; and good men love each other as if united by kinship and by nature. Human love goes even further, and sometimes embraces the whole human race. Why should I mention the natural approval of goodness even in those we have never seen, compassion for the wretched, and the pleasing memory of good deeds done? Nature has bound men to each other by these bonds which escape the sight of the eyes, and has inspired them to create companies, councils, and states, and equipped them for all the noble duties of life. If anyone thinks that all this has come about by chance, I do not know what works he would be able to leave to skill or design or foresight.4
[Assume that a corporeal structure can think (though we have shown this to be very much against probability),5 yet, as even atheists admit, such a structure will have to have been constructed with the most subtle and exquisite art, to be adequate to think. Even so, no one would say, without the greatest perversity and determination to talk nonsense, that therefore brute and inert matter should, so frequently and regularly in a certain, determinate order, be so artfully composed that it rises to the power of thought, and does so in every single individual man who is born (not to speak of other living things), without the reason and design of a wise and powerful nature.]6
Arguments on the other side are refuted
We must take careful note in this inquiry that a nature endowed with reason and acting deliberately can act equally in both directions when it so wishes, and may make things either beautiful and similar and useful, or ugly, discordant, and useless. In fact, on occasion, even the most intelligent nature may try deliberately to make things crude and repulsive, and in other things not even attempt to create any distinction or beauty. Yet never will anything beautiful or uniform or fit for use be made by brute force. Therefore those things in the world which seem neglected and squalid do not afford a good reason why we should doubt the providential government of things, for there are so many more things most skillfully framed which argue that the world is governed by divine providence.
What of the fact that almost all those things that were regarded as faults in the world by the Epicureans, so that they denied that the world had been divinely made,7 have been found by more careful observers of nature to be the best and most intelligent device after all, or to follow necessarily from the device which is altogether the best and most intelligent; and thus they are no small signs of divine wisdom.
Other reasons are adduced
From all this it is not rash to conclude that the world has been formed by the reason and divine power of a most wise and powerful nature. But we must not ignore the other arguments on this subject which have been acutely elaborated by philosophers, and which bring us to a fuller knowledge of God.
There is necessarily something which is first and independent
There are now very many things in existence; therefore there has also been something in all past time. There are now reason and prudence in the world; therefore they too have been there from eternity. For such genuine virtues could not have arisen by force of any things that were devoid of reason and design. And since an infinite series of causes operating deliberately cannot be conceived in the mind without some absolutely first and eternal nature which was not itself caused by any prior nature, we infer that God has been independent from the beginning and that he is endowed with the highest wisdom and power; only from him could these virtues derive; they could not have derived from the brute force of matter nor from ignorant parents.
Matter is not independent, nor is the material world
Metaphysical writers tell us that matter or body which receives no virtue or perfection is not a thing that was primary in itself or eternal but required a deliberately acting cause from which to receive figure and posture.8 But suppose eternal matter without cause; it would still be a completely different nature from which matter received motion, one which is indifferent to motion or rest. Now, since we cannot conceive a motion or imparted force which does not tend in some direction, and all matter can be carried by motion in any direction equally, in such an ambiguous situation we cannot conceive that there is in matter either a natural or a necessary ability to move, but all the ability that it has would have been imparted by force of an intelligent nature. Even suppose that matter moved in some way or had the power of moving, but had no design or foresight, there could never have come from that the magnificent order we see in the world.
New arguments from the discoveries of natural philosophers
What of the fact that those who have most carefully explored the causes of things in recent times, who see new traces everywhere of providential design, new reasons why we must have recourse to a divine power which moves all things? It is not unfamiliarity with nature and ignorance of causes which have compelled men to have recourse to God as the architect of the universe.
There are quite a few arguments for the newness of the world or for its recent origin, which show that this earth could not have existed from eternity and that a home fit for living things cannot last forever. For not to speak of the sun and the stars which must one day be exhausted by the perpetual outflow of light, and whose motions are gradually slowing in a space which is not completely empty, a great deal of matter is washed down daily in recent times from the higher parts of the earth into the seabed by the force of the rains and the winds. By this continual mutation, in a certain finite period of time, all the heights will be lowered and the hollows filled up, and the whole earth covered with the waters of the sea. Add to this the recent origin of the arts and sciences, the low antiquity of reliable history, the story of the recent origin of the world which almost all peoples preserve, and the universal consent about a deity that governs all things, which does not rest on a preconception of the senses.
A conflict of two beliefs
Relevant here is a comparison between the reasons that support this belief and those which can be adduced in favor of the other side. Contemplate also the problems involved for those who in declining the difficult notion of a first and most wise nature have recourse either to a world which is eternal in itself and most intelligently fashioned but without any reason or design to govern it, or to a fortuitous concourse of atoms. No intelligent man will fail to see which view an intelligent and serious person will approve.
[I do not use the Cartesian arguments, because they suffer from obvious fallacies. Descartes first says that “there is a cause of every idea, endowed with at least as much perfection as is exhibited in the idea itself. But we have the idea of an infinitely perfect being; there is therefore some superior nature, infinitely perfect.”9 Both of the premisses of this argument are, to say the least, ambiguous. For men make for themselves obscure and inadequate ideas of virtues which are far superior to their own; and no one has a fuller or clearer idea of a supreme being than he has formed by amplifying the ideas of his own virtues and purging them of faults, unless God has given anyone a clearer sense of himself above the common lot of man. In vain does Descartes insist “that the progenitor of men had the same idea of supreme perfection; and since it was sufficient to him for existing, it sufficed also for attributing supreme perfections to himself.” This affirms nothing, unless God is said to be the efficient cause of himself, which is absurd.
He continues, however, by saying “that necessary existence is contained in the idea of most perfect being; an infinitely perfect being therefore exists.” However, anyone who has understood the nature of abstract propositions will see that one should only infer from this that if there is any most perfect nature, it necessarily exists and does not depend upon the will of another.]10
On the Natural Virtues of God
How the attributes of God are known
Since we seem to have shown clearly enough that a superior nature has existed from all eternity, we proceed to explain his virtues or attributes. [We understand well enough from logic that all our ideas arise from some sense either external or internal. What we derive from our external senses is supplemented by arguments from which we rightly infer that there is a God, and that he is endowed with every virtue; no external sense, however, can grasp the virtues of God themselves. All mental virtues therefore are understood by an internal sense or by internal consciousness of the self and its properties. This is the source from which at least the elements of all the notions which represent the divine virtues are engendered in the mind. But since it is agreed that the first and superior nature is free of all those vices and defects with which human virtues are tainted, we form the most perfect notions of the divine virtues of which our minds are capable by amplifying as much as we can these ideas of our own virtues or perfections, and removing all defects from them. [Communicable and incommunicable attributes ]1 Hence in a certain manner all the divine virtues may be said to be communicable, because we find a certain resemblance to them or obscure intimation of them in created things. However, those names or attributes that denote the supreme and highest degree of virtue which the virtues of God alone attain are called incommunicable.]2
Independent and necessary existence
Among the attributes which cannot be communicated, the first place is taken by independence, by which God is understood to have always existed in himself, the first of all things, so that he recognizes no other cause or force from outside to which he owes anything of himself. We should not, however, imagine from this that either God is cause of himself or that any attribute of his is the cause or effective reason of the other attributes. Independence always entails that God from the first and always necessarily is, and therefore depends on the will of no one. And we are not to ask any cause or efficient reason for the first cause; and a necessity of nature is not a cause or reason of the existence of the thing itself in which this necessity is, since no attribute can be prior to its subject.3
Hence we also conclude that there is only one God, if by the word God we understand the first nature created by no one. For nothing suggests that there has been more than one thing of that kind, and indeed the notion is unintelligible. For when there is a certain number of any things, whatever they may be, we are simply compelled to think that the will or design of a spontaneous or free cause has intervened to decide on this number rather than any other. But this cannot be supposed in the case of the first nature.
The structure of the world shows this too: all the parts of the world that are known to us are so connected with each other and mutually dependent that they seem to signal the design of a single maker. [Polytheism does not preclude all piety.] Not all piety, however, or religion would be abolished, nor would all the foundations of virtue be subverted by the belief that there are several gods, provided we retain a belief in the government of the whole universe by the harmonious counsel of benevolent and provident gods.4
From the fact that God is absolutely first and sprung from nothing, we conclude that the virtues or perfections of God are infinite in precisely the same way, and that he is endowed with every true and pure perfection. For when a thing enjoys only certain virtues but not all, or a merely finite mode and measure of perfection, these things seem to have been altogether determined by the will of an effective cause. We therefore rightly conclude that the first nature which recognizes no cause has all virtues and all superiority and that it is infinite.
God is spirit
That God is not corporeal is shown by the same arguments that prove that human minds are things different from body and that matter cannot think or have a sense of itself.5 And no thing devoid of sense can have any superiority or perfection. But all of these are to be attributed to the first nature of all.
That God is a simple nature without parts and not made or composed of different things is inferred from the fact that he is spirit, and that primary and independent nature is most perfect. The perfections of God are not therefore adventitious but are all necessarily connected with the divine nature from the beginning. [Immutable ] He is therefore immutable, whereas all adventitious things come in to make up a deficiency. Therefore God is rightly defined as independent spirit, all of whose virtues are most superior.
In what sense he is immeasurable and eternal
Since all the things that we know in time seem to exist successively, and every action or passion of the mind of which it is itself aware appears to carry with it a certain notion or sense of this, and since all the corporeal things among which we live seem to fill a certain place or space, a difficult question arises about the divine nature: does it exist successively, and is it diffused like space? Serious thinkers have gone in opposite directions on this.6 Some believe that God, like every thinking thing, is so simple that he cannot be coextended with space nor occupy any place. For these things cannot be understood without parts which are distinct, however similar or cohesive they may be. They also confirm this from the fact that the properties, virtues, and vices of spirits and all that seem to belong to the nature of mind itself, and which nature leads us to believe are properties of our own minds, appear incapable of being diffused through space or spread through an extended place. Likewise by a similar reasoning (which, however, seems to go beyond what the mind can see), some think that the simple and immutable divine nature, which understands and wills all the samethings always in a single act, does not exist successively either. Other equally powerful thinkers, however, reject this belief and take the position that eternal duration is the very eternity of God, and that his immeasurability is infinite space itself. In this difficult question which altogether surpasses the powers of the human mind, we can hardly assert that anything has been fully made out, except this one thing: that everything that happens in the whole of space is and always has been perceived and comprehended by God, and that in all places he can always bring about what he has willed. The former position seems the more likely, though it is so obscure that it scarcely seems to come within the orbit of thought.7
From these natural attributes or virtues of God, which cannot be communicated with others, one may see above all that God is uncomprehended, not adequately grasped by any finite mind.8 This is true of God not only in the sense in which it may be said of any other substance, namely that its inner nature is hidden from us and that no one has discerned and known its innumerable relations with other things, but also in the sense that our ideas of these attributes are not appropriate to depict or represent the things themselves, although they seem to go some way toward them. The moral attributes which are said to be communicable are another matter. For our ideas of these are appropriate, and they do truly depict them, however imperfect and inadequate [our ideas] may be; for all the evidence which proves that God exists also proves that he is endowed with supreme wisdom, power, and goodness, and is the kind of evidence of which we can form distinct and suitable conceptions in our minds. We will now proceed to expound the virtues which we know from that inner awareness of our own virtues that we mentioned above.]9
On the Divine Virtues Concerned with Understanding
God living and omnipotent
When we speak of the living God, we mean by this that he understands and perceives all things, and moves and rules them by his own efficacious will. In no other sense is he to be called the soul of the world.1 For God is not affected with a pleasing or displeasing sense against his will as a result of the motions of matter, as men’s minds are often affected by the motions of their bodies. Further, since the divine nature is fully active and at the same time absolute with every perfection, we cannot doubt that God can effect whatever he has willed; all things are possible to him, as we defined “possible” in our Ontology.2
Wise and omniscient
That God is most wise and does not act by blind impulse is shown by the intelligent structure of the whole universe, and by the reason and prudence with which men are endowed; these must necessarily be more perfect in men’s progenitor.
The divine ideas which are prior to every external thing could not have been aroused either by an external exemplar or by a superior nature; and since all things have been made on their pattern, they adequately represent all things. Therefore we do not ascribe to God sensations and images or any inadequate ideas. And it is not credible that God himself once of his own will fashioned in his own mind, which had been ignorant at first of all finite things, the first ideas of all things, as obscure adumbrations of his virtues. For if from the first God himself and all his virtues had been clearly known to him, he would from the first also have known all the other things with which his wisdom, power, and goodness would one day be concerned. This receives rich confirmation from the fact that all notions, apart from the general notion of being itself, include in themselves some relation to other things, or something relative; hence the actual ideas of the divine virtues could not have been full and distinct in God unless ideas of other things had also been present. This is the probable answer to this difficult question.
Little excellence would be found in ideas alone, if there were not also in them a knowledge or full perception of all the relationships and connections which hold between them. Hence we should attribute another operation of the mind to God, which logicians call judgment, or infinite knowledge: knowledge free from all doubt, error, ignorance, and forgetfulness, and from the laborious progress of inference from things known to things unknown, knowledge which extends to all things.
The knowledge of simple intelligence
The scholastics apply a twofold knowledge to God, namely, the knowledge of simple intelligence and the knowledge of vision.3 By the former God is thought to view all abstract truths as well as his own nature and necessary virtues; these are all those things which they do not wish even the will of God to be the cause of, since among the eternal ideas themselves in the mind of God are the necessary relations and immutable connections which are expressed in these eternal and abstract truths. No one can conceive that these truths could be otherwise, or that the nature of things could be so changed that such propositions could become false.
The knowledge of vision
By the knowledge of vision God is thought to have foreknown from the first all absolute truths about the existences of all things and any changes which may happen to them, that is, the changes which are considered to depend on his decree that governs all things. All these things, therefore, God is thought to perceive not in their effects but in his own efficacious intention.
No place for mediate knowledge
Anyone who ascribes this twofold knowledge to God and holds that both kinds of knowledge extend to all things, will leave no room for the other kind of knowledge which they call mediate knowledge, by which ex hypothesi God foresees what men will do.4 Different views of divine knowledge correspond with different views of liberty. There is no dispute about events which depend on natural and necessary causes. The dispute is about free causes. Those who adopt the Stoic view of liberty hold that when all the agents’ characters whether natural or artificial are thoroughly understood, and all the allurements and enticements are known which attract an agent toward one action rather than another, and all the support available to the agent is revealed, a sure foundation has been laid for divine foreknowledge to rest upon; and that foundation has been laid by God himself, who shaped all these things by his own decree. They will not grant that the supreme excellence of God allows one to say that divine knowledge may be said to increase gradually by fresh observation of events or that God may be said to make uncertain conjectures about future things.
The various views of the Peripatetics
Those who hold a contrary view about liberty think that this Stoic doctrine about foreknowledge and decrees, in decreeing and foreseeing evil actions as well [as good], is not consistent with the holiness and justice of God, and leaves no room for virtue or vice. There will be another opportunity, when we come to the divine operations, to discuss the reconciliation of divine holiness with a sure foreknowledge and decree of all events.5 And we have already spoken above of virtue and vice in actions certainly foreseen.6 Fairness itself, however, requires us to point out that the supporters of the Peripatetic position on liberty by no means deny to God a providence that extends to all things; and not all of them deny certain foreknowledge of all things. For some of them attribute also to man an indifferent liberty of turning himself in any direction, despite any attractions, and at the same time ascribe to God a sure foreknowledge of all actions from eternity: which indeed seems to us a completely inconsistent position. Others, in asserting this liberty in men, sharply deny that free actions have been certainly foreseen; they maintain that this is impossible, and that we no more detract from divine omniscience by denying it than we detract from divine omnipotence by denying that God can bring about the impossible. In any case, however, both sides hold that God has foreseen most things from certain causes, and that he has determined in himself from the beginning that as he is always present and aware of his own omnipotence, he will rule and govern all things by constantly interposing his power, and that he has always kept in view how far and in what directions men’s freedom might stray and how easily he could check it.7
Since the supporters of contrary positions on this difficult question seem to be motivated by so much piety and such scrupulous care not to derogate from the virtues of God in any way, they should abstain from curses, insults, angry assertions, and personal resentment, and not hurl abuse at each other; this is unworthy of philosophy.]8
On the Will of God
What the will of God is
1. We also attribute to God a will which is similar to our own, though without our faults, weakness, and imperfection; no intelligent nature would be perfect which lacked a will. There are no violent emotions in God, analogous to human passions, and no disagreeable sensations or distress, since a most powerful and most wise nature is not liable to fatigue from his efforts to get a thing or from anxiety that he may not get it.
2. Although God is held to delight in external events, especially in the best and happiest state of the world, the divine happiness is not therefore made uncertain, precarious, or dependent on external things, since all external things and their entire condition depend upon his most powerful self.
3. There seems to be nothing that the most blessed God could seek as a result of self-love that would increase his happiness.
4. All intentions for his own actions seem to emanate rather from his unwavering benevolence and his natural and unchangeable will to share his felicity with others.
5. Of all the things that are pleasing to God in themselves and worthy to be sought by him, the greater are more sought and the greatest most sought.
[6. All ascribe liberty to God, but different kinds of it. However, hardly anyone would say that he could will anything contrary to his own innate virtues, or could fail to will anything consistent with them. God is not therefore to be thought to be indifferent to all those things that depend on his will, or favorable to both sides; for there is a certain necessary will.
7. Although some of the designs of God have the status of ends and others of means, since he sees that certain lesser things are a means to other, more excellent things, nevertheless the divine excellence precludes a progress like our own from conceiving the end to discerning the means: he sees all things at a single glance, and at the same time determines the whole sequence of all things with an unwavering will.]1
Arguments which show that God is good
We infer that God is wholly good and benevolent not only from the natural assumption that good men alone are happy, and that benevolence itself is a very great cause of happiness to its possessor and bars no other source of happiness, and because it is praiseworthy in itself and the supreme excellence and perfection of an intelligent nature, the very sense of which brings joy to such a nature, but also because no temptation to a contrary course could occur to a superior nature which needs nothing for its own sake.
[Arguments] from the fact that the very fabric of the world is built to a benevolent design
The whole structure of the world, all the things which have been fabricated by art and design, seem to have been built to a benevolent design and to have been intended to create or to preserve life and happiness. Nothing seems to have been made by art and intelligence for the purpose of causing pointless pain or misery. There is no trace of an evil intention or of a spiteful or cruel intention, which it would have been possible to see, frequently or regularly, in a world which was under the rule of a malignant deity. Let the structure of the world which shows that God exists be examined. How beautiful, clever, and kind it is! What a store of things has kindly nature supplied which help one to live a comfortable and agreeable life! The senses of men and of all living things have been so fashioned that almost everything that is health-giving and useful is also pleasant to healthy people, and they are prompted by unpleasant sensations to avoid anything that would cause disease. All the appetites implanted by nature are useful, indeed necessary, for the preservation and happiness of the individual or of the species. By a kind of acute sense of the fitting and the beautiful, together with kindly and social feelings, men are prompted to be helpful one to another and to offer mutual assistance; by a most happy sense of the right and the good, those who have made an effort for the happiness of others are rewarded; and the approbation and approval of others fills them with the most honorable delight. But those who neglect these duties or do the opposite are punished by the bitter bites and unseen strokes of conscience.
From the preponderance of happiness in the world
All these things have that much greater weight because we see that there are far, far more good and happy things in life than there are sad and gloomy things, so that nearly everyone has a good reason to go on living; and even those who at some time feel it would be better to depart from life have had a happy and desirable life through far more years.
Various reasons which indicate that a kindly God had to mix evil with good
Even the evils which afflict many men seem to follow clearly from the fabric and structure of things and from the natural laws which are altogether necessary and most useful. The bodies of living things could not be preserved if they were not warned and compelled by a sharp sense of pain to avoid and repel things which would harm the fabric of the body and impair its integrity. If men cannot without much labor obtain what they need for food and clothing, and cannot enhance their lives without still further labor, still labor itself very much contributes to health and strength both of mind and body. In cultivating the arts, practice and thought sharpen men’s minds, and should be called pleasures, not labors.
Disagreeable sensations often very useful
Who has grown so hardened against the feelings and promptings of nature that he finds fault with those motions of the mind by which we deplore the misfortunes of others and are prompted to give help to the distressed, even at some cost to ourselves? Or that bite or pain of the mind which we get from consciousness of wrongs we have done, which a kindly God intended as a remedy for vices? Who even will condemn all anger and indignation, especially that which stimulates us to protect ourselves, our family, and all good men from wrong, and to restrain evil men, and to advance good men to higher dignities?
Death too is desirable
What of the fact that death itself, from which we so fiercely shrink, also seems to be necessary, having regard to the whole system. For those who are satiated with all the pleasures of life and who do not know how to live well should give way to those for whom life will be happier and who can use it more fittingly. And an early death holds no sadness and grief for those who are departing from life, nor should God be thought to have had little regard for them. Death takes away the pleasures of life which they were expecting, but after death, either there will be for good men a happy experience or no experience at all. If the former, which right reason and the consent of all nations affirm, they will be much happier; if the latter, they will at any rate not be miserable. Nor do the brief pains of illness have so much importance that they deserve to be weighed against long years of health and the many pleasures of life.2
The best system of the world requires various kinds of sentient natures
In even the best-constituted system of things there have to be different kinds of living things, higher and lower, so that there may be an opportunity to exercise the noble virtues of the mind. For compassion, doing good, generosity, courage, equanimity, patience, gentleness, and nearly all the duties that we freely do (the sense of which is by far the happiest and the memory the most agreeable) would be excluded if there were no weakness, no want, no vices and errors among men; and no honest duties would be performed. There would be no room for counsel, prudence, and industry, if there were no general laws in force in the nature of things, in the knowledge of which men could make their plans and promise themselves certain effects and consequences from certain actions; and from even the best-designed laws certain evils would necessarily arise. The things that are seen in a bad life will not have sufficient force to show that the world was not made by a good God. For under the rule of even the most benevolent God such evils would happen. And indeed the evils which we see, though many and various, do not seem to be built into the actual machinery or structure of things as the proper end of them, but appear to result from the weakness of the material, the error of inferior agents or chance, beyond the natural design or intention of the work, in accordance with laws which are altogether useful and necessary.
Evils often serve greater goods or are linked with them
And in the end it is only a small part of the world that we see and for a short space of time. In this corner and in this short time, there are far more goods than evils in life, so that it is better for nearly everyone to remain in life rather than to simply die, and the whole machinery of things shows the kindly design of the supreme artificer. Even in this life we see that very many evils bring great benefits, which often check and punish men’s crimes, exercise and augment the virtues of the good, and convert men’s minds from external things and lower pleasures to internal and true goods. Hence it is surely probable that even those evils whose use we do not now see have been destined for the happiness and perfection of parts of the system remote from us, or of centuries to come, and of the whole world. At any rate these things will not show that the government of the world is spiteful or malignant.
God is very good
If therefore God is kind, and desirous of the happiness of all living things, their greater happiness will be preferred to their lesser happiness. Despite the fact, then, that many men are afflicted with grievous ills, we conclude that since God is also most powerful, all things have been from the beginning made in the best way and are kept in the best condition they can be, having regard to the whole world and its government through all the ages.3
The justice of God
Justice is associated with goodness itself and is rightly thought to be a part of it, since goodness expresses itself in making and promulgating laws pertaining to conduct, which command all right things and which will benefit the whole world, and also requires that these laws be fortified with strong sanctions so that all men may be better held to their duty and due obedience. And that the force of these laws for the common happiness may be all the greater, the same justice or goodness requires that fixed penalties be attached to the laws and that there be no unfair indulgence or favor shown toward evil men, which would harm the whole city of God.
Holiness has almost the same nature as goodness and justice; in willing all the best and in designing the best for the whole world, God is free of all evil or wicked desire, and rejoices in his own virtues and in all those who are like him, and condemns and turns his face from the opposite.
God is truthful
Since there is no reason to doubt that God can teach men many things beyond the common lot of nature and declare his will through them, we conclude from the fact that he is both the best and the wisest, who neither can be deceived himself nor wishes to deceive men when it is not to their interest to be deceived, that God is truthful in keeping his words and promises.
From all the other virtues of God we conclude that he is most blessed. But the blessedness of God can by no means depend upon external things, since all these depend upon him. Rather the best and most benevolent God receives his supreme and unchanging joys from himself and the consciousness of his own virtues, and from the optimal state of the whole world which he has made and continues to preserve by his own virtue.
On the Operations of God
[Though we have little knowledge of the operations of God, we should make the following brief, general points. God’s operations have no defects or faults; they follow his intention and his will, and therefore are completely free, though he cannot will anything that does not seem best to him in his wisdom. Never does God fail to achieve his expectation or intention, never does he change his design, nothing can obstruct him when he wills or impede his intention when he has determined in himself to act in a certain way. His power operates without any painful effort on his part; nothing can occur contrary to his will; and he does not borrow his force from any external power or need its help when he wills to do something without the intervention of others. However, things which are inconsistent with each other cannot happen, as we have already said.1 And whether some action intervenes apart from the will of God itself, or whether on the contrary the actual volition is effective in itself, we may not say for certain.]2
Goodness is the cause of the divine operations
From what has been said above about the divine goodness, we shall not be likely to disapprove the view that the great and good God was moved by his own supreme and pure goodness to make this whole world and all its parts, in order that he might impart to things other than himself life, perfection, and happiness, and admitted no evils into the world other than those which appeared to be quite unavoidable to this end, because they are associated with the overriding good.
Among the operations of God the first place is taken by the bringing into being of things different from himself, which before were not. This is called creation, indeed the first creation. That is called the second creation which gave matter its first forms,and created species out of matter which was not in itself suitable. The first creation seems to be the work of God alone.3 [It should not appear incredible to anyone that by his own power God caused things which previously were not to begin to be; human power could do nothing like this. One must reflect how small is man, how blind in seeing into the actual natures of things, so that he scarcely has any better understanding of how he recalls his own ideas and variously alters them and how he initiates new motions in his body when it is at rest.
Whether a nature active from all eternity could also have brought anything into being from the first, so that the duration of created things would have anteceded all finite time, has not perhaps been adequately investigated on the basis of the nature of things, but there is no reason to doubt that God can preserve created things forever.]4
There is no agreed view as to what sort of power on the part of God created things require in order to continue: that is, whether they need the same continuous force by which they came into existence, or whether in the beginning so much natural durability was given to them that they can endure by themselves, unless they once again perish by the hand of divine power. It is also unclear whether the attraction and communication of movement which we observe between bodies is effected by some divine force which is either continuous or applied from time to time by a fixed law, or on the other hand whether so much force was given to the bodies themselves at the beginning and is preserved along with them. In either case, however, it is absolutely certain that God who gave being to things themselves can also destroy them when he wishes, and all their duration and power must be credited to God.
All things are governed by the providence of God
That God governs the world by his providence we conclude from more or less the same reasons that show that God exists. It is simply not credible that a superior nature adorned with all wisdom, goodness, and power does not care about the world and its parts and especially about those parts that are endowed with reason and capable of so much happiness and misery, all of which he made with so much skill and intelligence; it is simply not credible that he has left them to the tender mercies of blind fortune.
[Besides, everything that happens is brought about by some adequate cause; for it seems that nothing can be effected except by a cause which is brought to effect this particular thing at this time either by its own nature and character (together, when it is a question of free causes, with the prospect of the things presented to it), or by some external force; for if indifference remains, nothing will be effected, unless we are to attribute some efficiency to fortune or chance as if they were real things. It is for this reason that some learned men5 plausibly want us to conclude that all things happen through certain causes which had previously been moved by other things according to a certain law, and which will finally bring us back, if we trace it, to the first cause of all things, which set up the whole series of things and all their changes and causes as seemed best to himself at the beginning. This doctrine will not subvert the motives of piety, whether all things are said to be effected from the beginning or effected by the repeated intervention of divine power, provided that in both cases we maintain that in his counsels for ruling the world God took account of the virtues and vices which he foresaw would emerge in living beings endowed with reason, and adapted the outcomes of things to them.]6
The question about the order of decrees is forestalled
Since nothing can happen without the knowledge or will of God, who in a single act surveyed the natures of all things, their powers and changes and all the links between them, and indeed everything that could happen, we must not think that God desires or decides different things at different times in the manner of men, and therefore that he first proposed the end and subsequently the means to obtain the end, but rather we must suppose that at the same time he both decided and effected in one unwavering decree the whole series of all things which seemed best to him. Hence any question about the order of his decrees is forestalled.7 Notwithstanding, some things are rightly said to be sought by God for their own sakes, and some things for the sake of other things as means or supports. And we should not exclude the so-called final causes from physics.
The whole question about free actions
[There is no dispute about the efficacy of what are called natural causes or how the movements and changes of the physical world are ruled by God, since they follow certain causes and necessary laws which God has made.]8 It is not so easy to explain, however, in what way a fixed providence relates to the actions and especially the vicious actions of free causes, without implicating God in a certain responsibility for evil actions. In governing and determining good actions there is no fear of attributing too much to God, because in that case he is rightly thought of as the fount and head of every good and praiseworthy thing, either because he has given a certain natural character to each man and keeps it subject to certain natural laws, which have such power even over free things that their feelings and characters are changed in a certain way as the result of certain causes, or because he put before them certain attractions, certain prospects of good and evil, or finally, because he attracts certain men to all things good by a divine instinct which is beyond the normal bounds of nature. But the control of evil actions is not so easily explained. Men are indeed prompted to do evil actions in a somewhat similar manner in certain conditions on the basis of objects presented to them and of their own character; and God is thought to have made all these causes of actions. However, he only permits those which he sees to be necessary and useful for the whole system, and does not allow human depravity too much scope because of his benevolent will toward all, and therefore, however depraved the passions are which move men to do evil, God permits them because of his most holy and benevolent will for the perfection of the whole system. Therefore no moral wrong is attributable to God.
[God is free of all fault
And there is no fault in the fact that God gave to each man natural and necessary appetites for the lower goods, nor are men therefore excusable, since he has also given to each man who carefully reflects on them more powerful attractions to all good things, and has implanted in men a sense of them and a desire for them, which will help them to govern and control their lower appetites, if they take them to heart. Nor should we consider it a fault in God that in his large bounty, he has also created inferior natures who can be depraved and turn to vices, since as we said before, this appears to be required by the most perfect state of the world, and from their very vices God has arranged, in his most intelligent design, to extract and obtain advantages and benefits for the whole universe of things, and these far outweigh the vices.
Concerning precursus and concursus
In explaining providence there is no need to follow the scholastics in combining with every action of men various, distinct actions of God which they call precursus or premotions and concursus; for it does not seem easy to reconcile these with divine holiness. For whatever may be said of external movements, in the motions of the soul it is barely possible, and perhaps not even barely possible, to separate physical nature from moral nature, so that God may be the efficient cause of the former and man of the latter. Similarly, whatever in any given circumstances moves one to the exercise of an action also impels one to the appearance (speciem), as they call it.9
Those who oppose the Stoic position should not say that many things are so evil and vile that they seem plainly unworthy of God’s care. For we often see that the biggest things depend on the smallest; not only are the big things helped by small things, but all their hope often depends upon them. They should be careful they do not finish up eating salt in deriding the contrary opinion.]10
The account of providence which we have given breathes the simplicity of nature and thus appears more worthy of God than the one which holds that God at the beginning is ignorant of very many things that will happen, but as he is always present he constantly forms new plans, according as things themselves and new events seem to require.
The right of dominion and majesty
That God rightly assumes government or majesty over all things we conclude from his very perfections, namely, his wisdom and supreme goodness, which show that his government will benefit all men, and therefore should be approved by all men. The powerful inducement to encourage men to obey him is found in his omnipotence, which is capable of suppressing all resistance with the severest penalties. But the consideration which shows that it is always fitting and proper to conduct ourselves well toward God in all things and detest all resistance to him, lies in the innumerable benefits which he bestows upon us who gives us life and breath and all things.
God can reveal his will beyond the normal means of nature
Finally, reason itself shows that God can, if he so wills, teach many things to those who are inspired by his divinity, which would otherwise have been hidden, and share his counsels and intentions with them, and by their ministry declare to mankind laws and guidance for the conduct of life. And trustworthy historians tell us that this has really happened. It will not, therefore, be beyond the bounds of philosophy to inquire what might be the means by which these inspired men can convince others of this fact. For God can make them as immediately aware and certain of his presence and divinity as each man is of himself thinking.
By what means we may be convinced of this
We scarcely seem able to understand how this can happen except by God predicting to them that events would occur which could not be foreknown by human foresight or intelligence, or by giving them the power to do miracles which are far above human capacity. The attributes of God which it particularly helps us to know are wisdom, power, and goodness. Prophecies will give signs of the divine wisdom, miracles of his power. It is vain to say of a miracle, “that it is a work that can only be performed by the omnipotence of God,” because no one has sufficiently explored the powers of all created things so that he can assert that this or that was effected by God alone. Let us therefore be content with this description, that a miracle is a work beyond the common tenor of things, far surpassing human powers, but done on the order of a man or at his will, or for his security and evident advantage. For when such miracles are performed by a man so as to convince us that he is inspired by God, they plainly show that some superior nature is implicated in it. But what sort of powerful nature is it? Is it good and benevolent, that is, God himself, or is it one of the good angels at God’s behest? Or is it on the other hand some spiteful and malicious demon? This will be determined by the laws and moral institutions he promulgates: if they are holy and conducive to man’s happiness, we rightly believe that their herald or promulgator was inspired with the spirit of God in performing the miracles.11 And thus natural theology will lead us to the acceptance of what is called revealed theology.
[1 ]“The Aristotelians”: see above, Hutcheson’s account of the Peripatetics, the Scholastics, and the Eclectics, in “Dissertation on the Origin of Philosophy,” pp. 6-8, and discussion in the introduction, pp. xxiii-xxvii.
[2 ]Gerard de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae (Outlines of Ontology) in De Natura Dei et Humanae Mentis (On the Nature of God and the Human Mind). Jean Le Clerc, Ontologia; sive de Ente in Genere (Ontology; or, On Being in General). (This work was dedicated to John Locke.)
[3 ]In the first edition, Metaphysicae Synopsis (1742), the three preceding paragraphs were located in a prolegomena.
[4 ]It will be evident in what follows that in Hutcheson’s exposition of being, the various entities and categories of being are understood (as they were by Locke and Le Clerc) as ideas. In the ontology of de Vries, by contrast, being is predicated directly of objects or things. Hutcheson was also concerned, as some followers of Locke were not, to relate ideas to objects or real existences. See also Part I, chap. 3, sec. 4, n. 11, pp. 84-85.
[5 ]In his letter to William Mace, 6 September 1727, Hutcheson had elaborated a similar theory of the self. See A Synopsis of Metaphysics, II, 3, 3, pp. 140-41.
[6 ]De Vries, in contrast, maintained that existence and essence should not be distinguished: “And like being and essence, so too existence and essence are equivalent terms. So existence is wrongly thought to be something different from the essence of being. …” Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 3, sec. 6, p. 105.
[7 ]The multiple meanings ascribed to “actuality” and “potentiality” by scholastic philosophers were reviewed by Francisco Suarez in Disputationes Metaphysicae (1597, 1st edition; cited from 1963 reprint). Vol. 2: Disputatio XLIII: “De Potentia et Actu,” pp. 633-63.
[8 ]The four paragraphs between brackets were added in 1744.
[9 ]The list of suggested things that are supposed to stand between being and nothing is found in de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 4, pp. 106-11.
[10 ]De Vries had defined intrinsic possibility as “whatever can be conceived without contradiction”; he defined extrinsic possibility as “whatever can be produced by the power of some cause.” Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 4, secs. 11, 12, and 13, p. 108. Hutcheson restates the question in terms of relations between objects and ideas, and between ideas and terms.
[11 ]Section 6 was added in 1744.
[1 ]Aristotle, Metaphysics, 997 a7, 1005 b33. The notion that axioms should be considered innate derives not from Aristotle but from Neoplatonist commentators on his work, remarked above, introduction, pp. xxvi-xxvii and “Dissertation on the Origin of Philosophy,” pp. 7-8. De Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 2, sec. 3, p. 102: “Axioms are commonly called innate truths because they so shine out with their own light that … the mind of every man rushes into agreement with them of its own accord.”
[2 ]Locke, Essay, bk. 1, chap. 2, sec. 4, p. 49. Jean Le Clerc, Pneumatologia seu de Spiritibus, chap. 5, sec. 22, p. 102: “Metaphysical axioms are said to be eternal truths, … [and] innumerable men, either idiots or barbarians, declaim that these are innate ideas, as if they were but to no avail.”
[3 ]De Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 2, sec. 4, p. 102: “Hence they are called both immediate propositions and common notions; in fact they are also eternal and immutable truths, seeing that not even by divine power can they by any other means be other than they are.”
[4 ]The three paragraphs enclosed in brackets were added in 1744.
[5 ]Malebranche, The Search After Truth, bk. 3, pt. 2, chap. 6, p. 234: “our view is that we see God when we see eternal truths.”
[6 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[7 ]Le Clerc made extensive use of axioms in his ontology: for example, concerning existence (chap. 6); concerning wholes and parts (chap. 7); concerning causes (chap. 10). In the preface, p. 3, he proposed that he would show “how all our ideas lead to undoubted axioms.”
[8 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[9 ]This note was added in 1749: “See Chapter 4, Section 5 [p. 91]: on causes. Wolff, in his Ontology, has recently given an account of axioms and their usefulness, with a diligence that will appear unclear to some.” Hutcheson had ordered the “Logica,” “Psychologia,” and “Cosmologia” of Christian Wolff during his term as quaestor for the library of the University of Glasgow, 1732 to 1734. The “Ontologia” or “Philosophia Prima sive Ontologia” was ordered for Glasgow University Library in 1736, GUA 26624.
[10 ]This paragraph was added in the third edition.
[1 ]In this chapter, Hutcheson was following the order of topics addressed by de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chaps. 6, 8, 9, and 10.
[2 ]See de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 6, sec. 5, p. 113: “Since it has been shown that identity is intimately linked with unity, there does not seem to be any reason why we should not say that One and the Same are one and the same.”
[3 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[4 ]Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe; Samuel Clarke, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God; Andrew Baxter, Enquiry. See also Part I, chap. 4, n. 2, p. 87.
[5 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[6 ]De Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 8, sec. 11, p. 119. “So that we may reason more clearly about goodness, we must recognize that what is properly called [goodness] is in fact multiple; namely, metaphysical or transcendental, physical or natural, or, finally, ethical or moral.”
[7 ]The distinctive character of Hutcheson’s idea of moral goodness, as expressed in these sentences, may be contrasted with the definition proposed by de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 8, sec. 3, p. 119: “Ethical goodness consists in the conformity of a rational being with the law of nature or with the practical dictates of right reason. The privation of such is usually called sin. But we will have to discuss this in practical or moral philosophy.”
[8 ]Hutcheson was again following de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 8, sec. 18, p. 121.
[9 ]The learned men whom Hutcheson had in mind are specified in the following note.
[10 ]The following note was added in the third edition (1749): “On this question, consult [John] Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Henry More, Enchiridion Metaphysicum; [Ralph] Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe; Samuel Clarke, in his letters to Leibniz, all famous and learned men, and other well-known writers.”
[11 ]In the following paragraphs, Hutcheson was responding to the more skeptical position taken by Edmund Law, An Enquiry into the Ideas of Space, Time, Immensity and Eternity. Law argued, against Samuel Clarke, and in a manner that he took to be consistent with Locke, that ideas of space and time are abstract ideas, that they have no real or objective existence. He declared of the idea of space, “that it can hardly be any fix’d determinate Object in Nature … but rather one of Entia Rationis, or an Ideal Image arbitrarily set up in the Mind. …” p. 4. See also Part I, chap. 5, sec. 2, n. 5, p. 102.
[12 ]Among ancient philosophers who denied the reality of space and time, the most notable was no doubt Zeno of Elea. Edmund Law referred his readers to Pierre Bayle’s Dictionary article “Zeno,” Remarks E and F, for a demonstration of “the impossibility of Motion … on the supposition of a real Space or Extension infinitely divisible.” An Enquiry into the Ideas of Space, Time, Immensity and Eternity, p. 67, note B; Bayle, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical.
[13 ]“Time” is a translation of τò Quando, which is a Latinization of Aristotle’s category τò π¿τε; Latin has no definite article.
[14 ]“Space” is a translation of τò Ubi, which is a Latinization of Aristotle’s category τò π¿υ̑.
[15 ]See de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 9, secs. 4, 6, and 7, p. 122, on the division of space into circumscriptive, definitive, and repletive; and chap. 10, secs. 3 and 5, p. 123, on the division of time into permanent and successive.
[16 ]Edmund Law, in An Enquiry into the Ideas of Space, Time, Immensity and Eternity, chap. 1, and earlier in the notes to his translation of William King, An Essay on the Origin of Evil, n. 13, pp. 31-34. In both places, Law was expanding upon the arguments of Leibniz in his exchange with Clarke, in “A collection of papers which passed between the late learned Mr. Leibniz and Dr. Clarke.”
[17 ]The four paragraphs between brackets were added in 1744.
[1 ]De Vries had also made independence and dependence the first division of being: Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 11.
[2 ]Samuel Clarke argued that an independent being must also be an infinite being, “for else it would be impossible there should be any Infinite at all, unless an Effect could be more perfect than its Cause.” A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, p. 87. See also Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, p. 649: “To assert an Infinite Being is nothing else but to assert a Being Absolutely Perfect, … God, and Infinite and Absolutely Perfect being but different names for One and the same thing.”
[3 ]This paragraph was added in the second edition (1744). The “learned men” in question appear to be “Spinoza and his Followers,” as discussed by Clarke, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, p. 122 ff.
[4 ]The sentences between brackets were added in 1744. Samuel Clarke had described the necessity of God as “Antecedent … to our supposition of its Being”; that is, it would be self-contradictory to deny the existence of a necessarily existent being: A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, p. 28. It was argued against Clarke that the necessity he contended for was more properly considered a consequent or subsequent necessity to be inferred from the order of the creation. “A Dissertation upon the Argument a Priori for Proving the Existence of a First Cause” [by Daniel Waterland] appended to Edmund Law, An Enquiry into the Ideas of Space, Time, Immensity and Eternity: “Dissertation,” pp. 51-52, 56, and Law, chap. 5, “Of Self-Existence and Necessary Existence,” pp. 148-49. Hutcheson was never persuaded of the cogency of Clarke’s arguments from intrinsic or antecedent necessity, as the remainder of this paragraph attests. Hutcheson told William Leechman that he had written a letter [no longer extant] to Clarke, ca. 1717, to express his doubts on this subject. See William Leechman, “Account of the Life and Character of the Author,” prefaced to A System of Moral Philosophy, pp. iv-vi.
[5 ]See Part II, chap. 3: “Whether spirit is a different thing from body.”
[6 ]Section 3 was added in 1744.
[7 ]See de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 15 (“Infinite, Finite, Indefinite”), pp. 144-46. In the first edition of Hutcheson’s metaphysics (1742), these two paragraphs, on finite and infinite, followed the discussion of causation (sec. 5 below) as it does in de Vries’s work.
[8 ]Hutcheson explained causation in terms of ideas; like Locke, Essay, bk. 2, chap. 26, and Le Clerc, Ontologia, chap. 9. De Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 12, in contrast, explained causation in terms of things.
[9 ]The sentences between brackets were added in 1744. In the 1749 edition, a note was added to “of this elsewhere”: “See Part II, Chapter IV, Section 1,” p. 145 below. See also sec. 6 of this chapter, pp. 96-99.
[10 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “On this matter, consult Malebranche and certain Newtonians.” Baxter, Enquiry, reviews the opinions of various Newtonians on the subject in secs. 1 and 2.
[11 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[12 ]Compare Le Clerc, Ontologia, chap. 9, sec. 5, for many distinct ideas of causality: physical, moral, logical (between parts and whole), principal and instrumental, per se and accidental, and so on.
[13 ]De Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, chap. 12, sec. 22, p. 128, also dismisses material and formal causes as “outside the realm of physics.” Also Le Clerc, Ontologia: see chap. 9, p. 36.
[14 ]See Part II, chap. 2, n. 5, and the introduction, pp. xv and xxvi.
[15 ]The distinction between liberty of contrariety and liberty of contradiction was made by scholastic moralists: Eustache, Ethica sive Summa Moralis Disciplinae, p. 12; Carmichael, Natural Rights, p. 24.
[16 ]On the ideas of the Stoics concerning the necessity of human actions, see the introduction, p. xxv, and below: II, 2, 3, pp. 129-31, and III, 3, 3, p. 171.
[17 ]Peripatetic moralists were critical of Stoic determinism, insisting upon the ability of reason or rational causes to direct the will to beatitude or lasting happiness. Eustache, Ethica, p. 55ff; Burgersdijk, Idea Philosophiae tum Moralis tum Naturalis, Oxford, 1654, pp. 37-38, 52-54. See the introduction, p. xxv, and Part II, chap. 2, n. 8, pp. 130-31.
[18 ]The sentences that appear between brackets were added in 1744. In the 1749 edition, there is a note: “See Part II, Chapters 2 and 3 [pp. 126-44] and Part III, Chapter 3, Section 3 [pp. 171-72]. Read the chapter of Locke cited above, ‘On Power,’ and other frequently encountered writers.”
[19 ]The following note appears in the 1749 edition: “See the letters of Samuel Clarke against Dodwell, and his defenders, on the difference between thinking thing and body.”
[20 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[1 ]This chapter was added in 1744.
[2 ]Archytas, a Pythagorean who influenced Plato, is credited with the authorship of a work on categories by Simplicius in his commentaries on the categories of Aristotle. See Simplicius, On Aristotle’s “Categories 1-4,” p. 18.
[3 ]In the third edition (1749) this note was added: “See the Essay of Locke, cited above, on ideas of substances.” (Locke, Essay, II, chaps. 23-24.)
[4 ]In the third edition (1749) there is the following note: “See Locke, as above, on the modes of time.” (Locke, Essay, II, chaps. 14-15.)
[5 ]The subject of time was examined in Part I, chap. 3, sec. 4, pp. 82-86, where Hutcheson argued that space and time are indeed ideas as Locke contended, not properties inherent in objects. But Hutcheson also held that we would be incapable of understanding things, their position and motion, “unless something real outside the mind corresponds to those ideas.” See the introduction for Hutcheson’s response to Edmund Law, p. xxiv, who considered it a consequence of Locke’s way of ideas that space and time had no real existence.
[6 ]In his letter to William Mace, 6 September 1727, Hutcheson observed that “Numbers are the clearest ideas we have, and their relations are the most distinct, but often have nothing to do with wholes or parts, and are alike applicable to heterogeneous or homogeneous qualities” (European Magazine, September 1788, p. 159).
[7 ]In the third edition (1749) there is a note: “Here we should note in passing the doctrine of the man who is by far the best and most intelligent: Isaac Barrow (Barovius), Lectures on Mathematics (Lectiones Mathematicae ).” It may be significant that it was Barrow’s attempt to apply geometry to optics that prompted Berkeley’s extended critique of “optic axes” in An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision, a theory which was in turn countered by Hutcheson in his letter to William Mace, 6 September 1727: see the introduction, p. xiv and n. 19.
[8 ]In this reference to “learned men” and in the two following references, Hutcheson appears to have had in mind certain physicists whose writings served as introductions to the philosophy of Newton at Scottish universities and dissenting academies: W. J. ’s Gravesande, Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy; or, An Introduction to Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophy, and Henry Pemberton, A View of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophy. On the idea of rest or inertia, see ’s Gravesande, bk. 1, chap. 2, pp. 4-5, and Pemberton, p. 28: “The real and absolute motion of any body is not visible to us: for we are ourselves in constant motion along with the earth on which we dwell; insomuch that we perceive bodies to move so far only as their motion is different from our own. When a body appears to us to lie at rest, in reality it only continues the motion it has received, without putting forth any power to change that motion.” Francis Hutcheson is listed as one of the subscribers to the Dublin edition of Pemberton’s work.
[9 ]On the idea of figure, see ’s Gravesande, bk. 1, chap. 2, p. 5, and bk. 1, chap. 14, pp. 43-44, on the application of the idea of figure to wedges and cylinders.
[10 ]Andrew Baxter, in Enquiry, sec. 1, note K, pp. 33-49, appealed to the authority of the same Newtonians against Newton himself, who had proposed that “a subtle elastic fluid … might be the cause of gravity and the cause of many other phenomena” (cited by Baxter, p. 34). Baxter was determined to vindicate “the universality of Providence, or the immediate presence of God … in all the operations of nature,” p. 39, a project endorsed by Hutcheson. See above, Part I, chap. 5, p. 92, and below, this chapter, n. 14; Part II, chap. 4, p. 145; and Part III, chap. 5, p. 180.
[11 ]See chap. 1, sec. 4, p. 70 on relations.
[12 ]In the course of his argument against Samuel Clarke’s theory that moral distinctions are grounded in the relations of things, Hutcheson affirmed that “Relations are not real Qualities inherent in external Natures, but only Ideas necessarily accompanying our Perception of two objects and comparing them.” Illustrations on the Moral Sense, sec. 2, p. 156.
[13 ]The reference may be to Berkeley, who had argued that mathematicians were in error when they substituted calculations based on fluxions or infinitesimals for magnitudes or quantities; he described fluxions as “the ghosts of departed quantities” (The Analyst , sec. 35; Works, vol. 4, p. 89). Hutcheson was impatient to have this work answered: see letter to Colin Maclaurin, 21 April 1737, in which Berkeley is described as “a man bursting almost with vanity long ago,” Aberdeen University Library MS 206/11.
[14 ]In the third edition (1749), there is the following note: “See above, Chapter IV, Section 5,” pp. 92-93.
[15 ]In the third edition (1749): “namely Malebranche, Baxter and some Newtonians.”
[16 ]See above, pp. 78-86.
[1 ]On the study of pneumatology in Scottish universities in the early eighteenth century, see the introduction, p. xxii.
[2 ]In the first edition (1742), the text continued after this sentence with a discussion of spirit and the ways in which spirit differs from body. This order of presentation followed de Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae, sec. 1, in De Natura Dei et Humanae Mentis. In the second edition of A Synopsis of Metaphysics (1744) this discussion has been moved to chap. 3, pp. 138-44.
[3 ]The auxetic and threptic powers of the soul are Aristotle’s terms for the powers responsible for the “growth” and “nourishment” of all living things. See Aristotle, On the Soul, II, 4, especially 415 a23, p. 85 in the Hett translation.
[4 ]De Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae, sec. 2, chap. 6. Locke thought that the distinction of the faculties into understanding and willing had “misled many into a confused notion of so many distinct agents in us.” Essay, II, 21, 6, p. 237. In contrast to Locke, Hutcheson liked to remind his critics of the importance of the distinction between the understanding and the will: An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections (1742), pp. 30-31n., and Illustrations upon the Moral Sense (1742), pp. 219-22.
[5 ]Malebranche, The Search After Truth, pp. 46-47, and Locke, “An Examination of Malebranche’s Opinion,” secs. 10-16.
[6 ]De Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae, II, 2, does not speak of sensation but of apprehensio, which he defines as nuda perceptio. Hutcheson’s distinction between direct sensation and reflexive sensation follows Locke, Essay, II, 20-24.
[7 ]This sentence was added in 1744.
[8 ]Virgil, Aeneid, bk. 5, 56, in vol. 1, p. 476: Aeneas reflects that it is not without design that he has been driven by a storm to land in the very place where his father died. Hutcheson makes evocative use of the beginning of book 5 of the Aeneid in his inaugural lecture. See p. 191.
[9 ]Locke used the term “internal sense” on occasion (for example, Essay, II, 1, 4, p. 105), as Hutcheson recalled in An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, preface, p. xi. But Locke preferred to use the term “reflection” for those ideas “the mind gets by reflecting on its own operations,” Essay, p. 105.
[10 ]Locke, Essay, II, 8, 9, p. 135.
[11 ]Robert Boyle, Origin of Forms and Qualities, pp. 18-19.
[12 ]The last three paragraphs were added in the second edition, 1744.
[13 ]A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, p. 6: “Internal senses are those powers or determinations of the mind by which it perceives or is conscious of itself, … this power some celebrated writers call consciousness or reflection.”
[14 ]For a parallel discussion of reflex or subsequent sensations, see A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, p. 12 ff.
[15 ]This is a quotation from Horace, Odes, 3, 2, 13, p. 144, in Odes and Epodes.
[16 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “these things are more fully proved in the ethics.”
[17 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “memory and imagination.”
[18 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “On the origin of all ideas, as on the conclusions of reason, read Locke’s oft-cited book on Human Understanding.”
[19 ]Malebranche described the influence of animal spirits upon the imagination and memory in The Search After Truth, bk. 2, pp. 87 ff. and 106 ff.
[20 ]The three paragraphs between brackets were added in the second edition (1744).
[21 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “see Part I, Chapter V, Section 4,” pp. 106-8.
[22 ]See de Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae, II, III, 21.
[1 ]The sentences between brackets were added in 1744.
[2 ]The distinction between sensual desire and rational desire was a commonplace in the writing of scholastic moralists: for example, in Eustache, Ethica, I, pp. 10-11, and Heereboord, Collegium Logicum Pneumaticae, I, 8, p. 43. Hutcheson insisted upon it in later editions of An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections (1742), sec. 2, p. 32n., and Illustrations upon the Moral Sense (1742), sec. 1, p. 214, against his rationalist critics, who would reduce all actions, desires, and volitions to exercises of the intellect or understanding.
[3 ]See de Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae, II, VI, p. 31.
[4 ]The scholastic distinction between objective ends, about which there may be deliberation, and the formal end or happiness itself is found in Eustache, Ethica, 20-27, and Heereboord, Collegium Ethicum, pp. 13-22. See Carmichael, Natural Rights, p. 23, n. 7.
[5 ]This paragraph was added in 1744. In the third edition of Illustrations upon the Moral Sense (1742), p. 318n. Hutcheson wrote: “In many Questions of this Nature we must have recourse with Aristotle to a Sense, which is the last Judge in particular Cases.” (Also see An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, edited by Aaron Garrett, Liberty Fund, p. 189.) He appears to have had in mind (here, as in many other citations of Aristotle) Henry More, Enchiridion Ethicum (1666) translated as An Account of Virtue; or, Dr Henry More’s Abridgement of Morals, Put into English, p. 16: “The Philosopher having (in his great Morals [Magna Moralia, bk. 2, chap. 10]) brought in one who demands, what Right Reason was, and where to be found? The Answer is but darkly thus, That unless a Man have a Sense of things of this Nature, there is nothing to be done. … So that in short the final Judgment upon this matter is all referred to inward Sense, which I confess, I should rather have called, The Boniform Faculty of the Soul.”
[6 ]The notion that the liberty of the will consists in indifference was defended by Eustache, Ethica, pp. 12-13, 64-65, and repudiated by the Reformed: Heereboord, Collegium Ethicum, pp. 4-5, 50. Locke dismissed the idea in Essay, II, 21, 73, pp. 238-84.
[7 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “See Part I, Chapter 4, Section 6,” [pp. 97-99], where reference is made to Locke, “On Power.” See also Part III, chap. 3, sec. 3, note 6.
[8 ]It was a characteristic feature of the Neoplatonist philosophers of the third and fourth centuries , some of them celebrated by Hutcheson (“Dissertation on the Origin of Philosophy,” pp. 3-8), that they criticized Stoic fatality by insisting, with the Peripatetics, on the exercise of deliberation over appearances of good in acts of will. One of the most effective critics of Stoicism from this perspective was Nemesius of Emesa, remarked by Hutcheson, in A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, p. 4, as an author to be consulted on the subject of human nature, with Aristotle, Cicero, Arrian, Locke, Malebranche, and Shaftesbury. The text of Nemesius, “On the Nature of Man,” is provided in an English translation with commentary in Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa, edited by William Telfer; see especially pp. 389-423. The Cambridge Platonists also employed Peripatetic arguments against the Stoics on the question of the freedom of the will. See Henry More, An Account of Virtue, bk. 3, chap. 2, pp. 181-90.
[9 ]Locke considered joy and sorrow to be reflective or secondary sensations, which cannot otherwise make themselves “known to us than by making us reflect on what we see in ourselves.” He also referred to these “modifications or tempers of mind” as “in ternal sensations.” Essay, II, XX, 1-8, pp. 229-31.
[10 ]Aliudque cupido, mens aliud suadet: Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII, 19-20, in Meta morphoses, vol. I, p. 342, from the soliloquy of Medea as she attempts to resist falling in love with Jason and betraying her father.
[11 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “All this has been more fully expounded by Cicero, in Tusculan Disputations, Book IV.” See also An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, sec. 3, p. 59 ff.
[12 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[13 ]Ignoti nulla cupido: Ovid, The Art of Love, 3, 397 (p. 146), from Ovid’s advice to a woman to get out and be seen by men if she wishes to find a lover. The same phrase appears in de Vries, Determinationes Pneumatologicae II, VI, p. 29.
[14 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[15 ]Ira autem brevis ille furor: Horace, Epistles, I, 2, 62 (p. 266).
[16 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[17 ]See also An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, pp. 95 ff., 136, 165, and so on, on “fantastic” and “foolish” associations of ideas.
[1 ]This chapter was located in Part II, chapter 1 of the first edition (1742). See note 2 to Part II, chapter 1, pp. 111-12.
[2 ]In this chapter and the next, Hutcheson may be supposed to have had in mind the extended debate between Samuel Clarke, on the one hand, and Henry Dodwell and Anthony Collins, on the other, collected in The Works of Samuel Clarke, vol. 3, pp. 719-913, and the later defense of Clarke by Andrew Baxter in An Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul. For a review of eighteenth-century debates on the question whether it may be possible for matter to think, see John Yolton, Thinking Matter: Materialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain.
[3 ]See Aristotle, On the Soul, I, 2, 405 a-b (pp. 24-28).
[4 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[5 ]In the third edition (1749), a note was added: “See Plato, in Alcibiades I and passim” (Plato, Alcibiades I.129b-130e).
[6 ]Compare the discussion in Hutcheson’s A System of Moral Philosophy, p. 200: “The simplicity and unity of consciousness could not result from modes dispersed and inherent in an aggregate of different bodies in distinct places.” The note to this sentence urges the reader to consult Aristotle, De Anima, I, i, Dr. Samuel Clarke, and “Mr. Baxter’s ingenious book on the subject.”
[7 ]This paragraph was inserted at this place in the third edition (1749). There is also a note to this paragraph: “See Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I, 24-30.”
[8 ]See Part II, chap. 4, sec. 3, pp. 147-49.
[9 ]These two paragraphs were added in 1744.
[1 ]The corresponding chapters in de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, are sec. 2, chaps. 9 and 10, pp. 37-45.
[2 ]Malebranche, The Search After Truth, pp. 46-47, 59-60; and Baxter, Enquiry, pp. 395-407.
[3 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[4 ]This paragraph was added in 1744. The authors involved in this paragraph are again Malebranche and Baxter. See Part I, chap. 5, sec. 5, p. 109 and note 15.
[5 ]De Vries considered life after death to be a certainty; inasmuch as the soul is not material, it was therefore created by God from nothing, Determinationes Ontologicae, II, X, 3-4, p. 42. Hutcheson considered that we have only probable reasons to believe in the survival of the soul after death.
[6 ]The argument that divine providence has made such provision for the happiness of the human race was developed at length by Hutcheson in A System of Moral Philosophy.
[7 ]The final sentence was added in 1744.
[1 ]This was the part of Hutcheson’s metaphysics that he continued to teach at the University of Glasgow. He did not teach those parts of metaphysics that dealt with ontology and the human mind; those subjects were taught by the Professor of Logic. See the introduction, p. xxii. He taught natural theology because in the universities of Scotland and the Netherlands in the early eighteenth century it was considered that natural theology was the foundation of morality. See Gershom Carmichael, “Synopsis of Natural Theology,” in Natural Rights, p. 230, and de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, III, 1, p. 47.
[1 ]In the third edition (1744) there is the following note: “Philosophers, ancient and modern, have fully explained this topic: Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Arrian, and the writer of the very elegant little book, ‘On the World’ among the works of Aristotle. It would take a long time to enumerate the names of the moderns: the Cudworths, Stillingfleets, Nieuwentijts, Rays, Pellings, Derhams, Fenelons, Cheynes, Clarkes, Nyes.” There is a notable duplication in this list with the names of natural philosophers cited by Carmichael in “A Synopsis of Natural Theology,” in Natural Rights, p. 241.
[2 ]Compare Shaftesbury, “The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody,” pt. 3, sec. 1: “Let us begin, then, said he, with this one element of earth. …” Characteristics, p. 310 ff.
[3 ]See also A System of Moral Philosophy, I, 9, p. 171.
[4 ]See the elaboration of the argument of this paragraph in “On the Natural Sociability of Mankind.”
[5 ]Note (1749): “Part II, Chapter 3,” pp. 138-44.
[6 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[7 ]Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, II, 175; Bayle, “Epicurus,” remark S, in Dictionary, 1737, vol. 5, pp. 56-59.
[8 ]Baxter, Enquiry, p. 22 ff.
[9 ]Descartes, third meditation, in Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, pp. 77-78. See also Carmichael’s comment on the third meditation of Descartes in “A Synopsis of Natural Theology,” in Natural Rights, pp. 246-47.
[10 ]This section was added in 1744.
[1 ]For the distinction between the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God, see Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, chap. 5, p. 60 ff., and Carmichael, “A Synopsis of Natural Theology,” Natural Rights, pp. 248-70.
[2 ]All of the sentences between brackets were added in the second edition (1744).
[3 ]Hutcheson’s opinion that God does not require a cause and that the notion of self-creation or aseity is not a meaningful term or idea was shared by de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, III, 3, pp. 52-54, and Carmichael, Natural Rights, pp. 249-50.
[4 ]As Hutcheson understood the Stoics, they made provision for the government of nature by “many inferior created spirits.” See “The Life of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus,” prefaced to Hutcheson’s and Moor’s translation of The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, p. 35 ff. See also A System of Moral Philosophy, pp. 174 and 206.
[5 ]Note (1740): “Part II, Chapter III,” pp. 138-44 above.
[6 ]Note (1749): “Part I, Chapter III, Section 4 and Part II, Chapter III, Sections 4 and 5.” See pp. 82-86 and 140-42. The “serious thinkers” whom Hutcheson had in mind were identified in his note to I, 3, 4 (p. 83, n. 10) and the note to A System of Moral Philosophy, p. 200, cited at II, 3, 5 (p. 142, n. 6).
[7 ]Hutcheson’s view that “the former position seems the more likely” appears consistent with the line taken by Leibniz in his exchange with Clarke: “some have believed it [space] to be God himself, or, one of his Attributes, his Immensity. But since Space consists of Parts, it is not a thing which can belong to God.” The Works of Samuel Clarke, vol. 4, p. 602. Carmichael had adopted a similar position: Natural Rights, p. 254.
[8 ]Compare Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion, pt. 1, chap. 7, pp. 160-61: “The natural world then, and natural government of it, being … so incomprehensible, that a man must, really in the literal sense, know nothing at all, who is not sensible of his ignorance in it. …”
[9 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[1 ]The characterization of God as “the soul of the world” had become particularly controversial in the early eighteenth century because of the identification of this Platonic and Stoic idea with the philosophy of Spinoza. See, for example, Bayle’s Dictionary article “Spinoza,” remark A: “He was a systematical Atheist, and upon a scheme intirely new, though the ground of his doctrine was the same with that of several other Philosophers, both ancient and modern. … The doctrine of the soul of the world, which was so common among the ancients, and which made a principal part of the system of the Stoics, is at the bottom that of Spinoza.” Vol. 9, pp. 347, 351. See also Leibniz’s second letter to Clarke: “Will they say that [God] is Intelligentia Mundana; that is, the Soul of the World ? I hope not. However, they will do well to take care not to fall into that Notion unawares.” The Works of Samuel Clarke, vol. 4, p. 595.
[2 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part I, Chapter 1, Section 4.” See p. 70.
[3 ]The distinction between knowledge of simple intelligence and knowledge of vision is found in the writings of Reformed scholastics. See Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 74-75; de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, pp. 68-69; and Carmichael, Natural Rights, pp. 259-61.
[4 ]The doctrine of mediate knowledge was rejected by the Reformed as Jesuitical and Pelagian. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 78, quoting Voetius: “The Jesuits thought out scientia media, which to this day is the refuge of all Pelagianisers.” See also Carmichael, Natural Rights, pp. 261-62.
[5 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part III, final chapter, Section 4.” See pp. 183-84.
[6 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “Part II, Chapter 2, Section 3.” See pp. 129-32.
[7 ]See the introduction, p. xxv.
[8 ]The paragraphs between brackets were added in 1744.
[1 ]The sentences between brackets were added in 1744.
[2 ]The argument that evil, disagreeable sensations, and death itself are consistent with the benevolent design of the world is developed at greater length in A System of Moral Philosophy, bk. 1.
[3 ]Hutcheson’s note (1749): “On this whole question, read Leibniz, Théodicée; the Earl of Shaftesbury, Rhapsody [“The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody,” in Characteristics ]; Samuel and John Clarke; the Boyle lectures; and dissertations of others against the Manichees.”
[1 ]Note (1749): “Part III, Chapter 3, Section 1,” p. 168.
[2 ]This section was added in 1744.
[3 ]The distinction between first and second creation was made by Reformed theologians. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, chap. 9, pp. 197-98, and de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, III, XVII, p. 79.
[4 ]The sentences between brackets were added in 1744.
[5 ]Samuel Clarke, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God; Baxter, Enquiry.
[6 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[7 ]Reformed theologians distinguish between the “general decree,” by which God created the world, and the “special decree,” in which God predestined some for eternal life, others to be damned. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 145-49. Hutcheson appears to preempt consideration of any distinction of this kind.
[8 ]This sentence was added in 1744.
[9 ]The distinction between the preservation of all things by God (or precursus) and the manner in which God enters into the successive actions of creatures (or concursus ) is found in Reformed scholasticism. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 250 ff.
[10 ]The three paragraphs between brackets were added in 1744.
[11 ]It was characteristic of the natural theologies of the Reformed scholastics that they eventuated in a discussion of miracles. See Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, pp. 263-65; de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, p. 89; Carmichael, “Synopsis of Natural Theology,” in Natural Rights, p. 277. Unlike Reformed natural theologians, however, Hutcheson considered it the criterion of a divinely inspired miracle that it must be conducive to human happiness.