by Thomas Hobbes (1650)
CHAPTER I. - Of SENSE
Concerning the Thoughts of manI will consider them first singlyandafterwards in Trayneor dependance upon one another. Singlytheyare every one a Representation or Apparence of some qualityorother Accident [or Attribute] of a body without us; which is commonlycalled an Object. Which Object worketh on the EyesEaresand other parts ofmans body; and by diversity of workingproduceth diversity of Apparences.
The Originall of them allis that which we call SENSE; (For there is noconception in a mans mindwhich hath not at firsttotallyor by partsbeenbegotten upon the organs of Sense.) The rest are derived from that originall.
To know the naturall cause of Senseis not very necessary to the businessnow in hand; and I have else-where written of the same at large. Neverthelessto fill each part of my present methodI will briefly deliver the same in thisplace.
The cause of Senseis the Externall Bodyor Objectwhich presseth theorgan proper to each Senseeither immediatelyas in the Tast and Touch; ormediatelyas in SeeingHearingand Smelling: which pressureby the mediationof Nervesand other stringsand membranes of the bodycontinued inwards tothe Brainand Heartcauseth there a resistanceor counter-pressureorendeavour of the heartto deliver itself: which endeavour because Outwardseemeth to be some matter without. And this seemingor fancyisthat which men call Sense; and consistethas to the Eyein a Lightor Colour figured; To the Earein a Sound; To the Nostrillin anOdourTo the Tongue and Palatin a SavourAnd to the rest ofthe bodyin HeatColdHardnesseSoftnesseand such other qualitiesas we discern by Feeling. All which qualities called Sensiblearein the object that causeth thembut so many several motions of the matterbywhich it presseth our organs diversly. Neither in us that are pressedare theyany thing elsebut divers motions; (for motionproduceth nothing but motion.)But their apparence to us is Fancythe same wakingthat dreaming. And aspressingrubbingor striking the Eyemakes us fancy a light; and pressing theEareproduceth a dinne; so do the bodies also we seeor hearproduce the sameby their strongthough unobserved action. For if those Coloursand Soundswere in the Bodiesor Objects that cause themthey could not bee severed fromthemas by glassesand in Ecchoes by reflectionwee see they are; where weknow the thing we seeis in one place; the apparencein another. And though atsome certain distancethe realland very object seem invested with the fancyit begets in us; Yet still the object is one thingthe image or fancy isanother. So that Sense in all casesis nothing els but originall fancycaused(as I have said) by the pressurethat isby the motionof externall thingsupon our EyesEaresand other organs thereunto ordained.
But the Philosophy-schoolesthrough all the Universities of Christendomegrounded upon certain Texts of Aristotleteach another doctrine; and sayFor the cause of Visionthat the thing seensendeth forth on every sidea visible species (in English) a visible shewapparitionor aspector a being seen; the receiving whereof into the EyeisSeeing. And for the cause of Hearingthat the thing heardsendeth forth an Audible speciesthat isan Audible aspector Audible beingseen; which entring at the Earemaketh Hearing. Nay for the cause of Understandingalsothey say the thing Understood sendeth forth intelligible speciesthat isan intelligible being seen; which comming into the Understandingmakes us Understand. I say not thisas disapproving the use of Universities:but because I am to speak hereafter of their office in a Common-wealthI mustlet you see on all occasions by the waywhat things would be amended in them;amongst which the frequency of insignificant Speech is one.
That when a thing lies stillunlesse somewhat els stirre itit will lyestill for everis a truth that no man doubts of. But that when a thing is inmotionit will eternally be in motionunless somewhat els stay itthough thereason be the same(namelythat nothing can change it selfe) is not so easilyassented to. F or men measurenot onely other menbut all other thingsbythemselves: and because they find themselves subject after motion to painandlassitudethink everything els growes weary of motionand seeks repose of itsown accord; little consideringwhether it be not some other motionwhereinthat desire of rest they find in themselvesconsisteth. From hence it isthatthe Schooles sayHeavy bodies fall downwardsout of an appetite to restandto conserve their nature in that place which is most proper for them; ascribingappetiteand Knowledge of what is good for their conservation(which is morethan man has) to things inanimateabsurdly.
When a Body is once in motionit moveth (unless something els hinder it)eternally; and whatsoever hindreth itcannot in an instantbut in timeand bydegrees quite extinguish it: And as wee see in the waterthough the wind ceasethe waves give not over rowling for a long time after; so also it happeneth inthat motionwhich is made in the internall parts of a manthenwhen he SeesDreams&c. For after the object is removedor the eye shutwee stillretain an image of the thing seenthough more obscure than when we see it. Andthis is itthe Latines call Imaginationfrom the image made in seeing;and apply the samethough improperlyto all the other senses. But the Greekscall it Fancy; which signifies apparenceand is as proper to onesenseas to another. IMAGINATION therefore is nothing but decaying sense;and is found in menand many other living Creaturesaswell sleepingas waking.
The decay of Sense in men wakingis not the decay of the motion made insense; but an obscuring of itin such manneras the light of the Sun obscureththe light of the Starres; which starrs do no less exercise their vertue by whichthey are visiblein the daythan in the night. But because amongst manystroakswhich our eyesearesand other organs receive from externall bodiesthe predominant onely is sensible; therefore the light of the Sun beingpredominantwe are not affected with the action of the starrs. And any objectbeing removed from our eyesthough the impression it made in us remain; yetother objects more present succeedingand working on usthe Imagination of thepast is obscuredand made weak; as the voyce of a man is in the noyse of theday. From whence it followeththat the longer the time isafter the sightorSense of any objectthe weaker is the Imagination. For the continuall change ofmans bodydestroyes in time the parts which in sense were moved: So thatdistance of timeand of placehath one and the same effect in us. For as at agreat distance of placethat which wee look atappears dimmeand withoutdistinction of the smaller parts; and as Voyces grow weakand inarticulate: soalso after great distance of timeour imagination of the Past is weak; and weelose (for example) of Cities wee have seenmany particular Streets; and ofActionsmany particular Circumstances. This decaying sensewhen weewould express the thing it self(I mean fancy it selfe) wee call Imaginationas I said before: But when we would express the decayand signifie thatthe Sense is fadingoldand pastit is called Memory. So that Imaginationand Memoryare but one thingwhich for divers considerations hathdivers names.
Much memoryor memory of many thingsis called Experience. AgaineImagination being only of those things which have been formerly perceived bySenseeither all at onceor by parts at severall times; The former(which isthe imagining the whole objectas it was presented to the sense) is simpleImagination; as when one imagineth a manor horsewhich he hath seenbefore. The other is Compounded; as when from the sight of a man at onetimeand of a horse at anotherwe conceive in our mind a Centaure. So when aman compoundeth the image of his own personwith the image of the actions of another man; as when a man imagins himselfe a Herculesor an Alexander(which happeneth often to them that are much taken with reading of Romants) itis a compound imaginationand properly but a Fiction of the mind. There be alsoother Imaginations that rise in men(though waking) from the great impressionmade in sense: As from gazing upon the Sunthe impression leaves an image ofthe Sun before our eyes a long time after; and from being long and vehementlyattent upon Geometricall Figuresa man shall in the dark(though awake) havethe Images of Linesand Angles before his eyes: which kind of Fancy hath noparticular name; as being a thing that doth not commonly fall into mensdiscourse.
The imaginations of them that sleepare those we call Dreams. Andthese also (as all other Imaginations) have been beforeeither totallyor byparcells in the Sense. And because in sensethe Brainand Nerveswhich arethe necessary Organs of senseare so benummed in sleepas not easily to bemoved by the action of Externall Objectsthere can happen in sleepnoImagination; and therefore no Dreamebut what proceeds from the agitation ofthe inward parts of mans body; which inward partsfor the connexion they havewith the Braynand other Organswhen they be distempereddo keep the same inmotion; whereby the Imaginations there formerly madeappeare as if a man werewaking; saving that the Organs of Sense being now benummedso as there is nonew objectwhich can master and obscure them with a more vigorous impressionaDreame must needs be more clearein this silence of sensethan are our wakingthoughts. And hence it cometh to passethat it is a hard matterand by manythought impossible to distinguish exactly between Sense and Dreaming. For mypartwhen I considerthat in DreamesI do not oftennor constantly think ofthe same PersonsPlacesObjectsand Actions that I do waking; nor remember solong a trayne of coherent thoughtsDreamingas at other times; And becausewaking I often observe the absurdity of Dreamesbut never dream of theabsurdities of my waking Thoughts; I am well satisfiedthat being awakeI knowI dreame not; though when I dreameI think my selfe awake.
And seeing dreames are caused by the distemper of some of the inward parts ofthe Body; divers distempers must needs cause different Dreams. And hence it isthat lying cold breedeth Dreams of Feareand raiseth the thought and Image ofsome fearfull object (the motion from the brain to the inner partsand from theinner parts to the Brain being reciprocall:) And that as Anger causeth heat insome parts of the Bodywhen we are awake; so when we sleepthe over heating ofthe same parts causeth Angerraiseth up in the brain the Imagination of anEnemy. In the same manner; as naturall kindnesswhen we are awake causethdesire; and desire makes heat in certain other parts of the body; so alsotoomuch heat in those partswhile wee sleepraiseth in the brain an imaginationof some kindness shewn. In summeour Dreams arethe reverse of our wakingImaginations; The motion when we are awakebeginning at one end; and when weDreamat another.
The most difficult discerning of a mans Dreamfrom his waking thoughtsisthenwhen by some accident we observe not that we have slept: which is easie tohappen to a man full of fearfull thoughts; and whose conscience is much troubled;and that sleepethwithout the circumstancesof going to bedor putting offhis clothesas one that noddeth in a chayre. For he that taketh painsandindustriously layes himself to sleepin case any uncouth and exorbitant fancycome unto himcannot easily think it other than a Dream. We read of MarcusBrutus(one that had his life given him by Julius Caesarand wasalso his favoriteand notwithstanding murthered him) how at Philippithe night before he gave battell to Augustus Caesarhee saw a fearfullapparitionwhich is commonly related by Historians as a Vision: but consideringthe circumstancesone may easily judge to have been but a short Dream. Forsitting in his tentpensive and troubled with the honour of his rash actitwas not hard for himslumbering in the coldto dream of that which mostaffrighted him; which feareas by degrees it made him wake; so also it mustneeds make the Apparition by degrees to vanish: And having no assurance that heslepthe could have no cause to think it a Dreamor any thing but a Vision.And this is no very rare Accident: for even they that be perfectly awakeifthey be timorousand supperstitiouspossessed with fearfull talesand alonein the darkare subject to the like fancies; and believe they see spirits anddead mens Ghosts walking in Church-yards; whereas it is either their Fancy onelyor els the knavery of such personsas make use of such superstitious fearetopasse disguised in the nightto places they would not be known to haunt.
From this ignorance of how to distinguish Dreamsand other strong Fanciesfrom Vision and Sensedid arise the greatest part of the Religion of theGentiles in time pastthat worshipped SatyresFawnesNymphsand the like;and now adayes the opinion that rude people have of FayriesGhostsand Goblins;and of the power of Witches. For as for WitchesI think not that theirwitchcraft is any reall power; but yet that they are justly punishedfor thefalse beliefe they havethat they can do such mischiefejoyned with theirpurpose to do it if they can: their trade being neerer to a new Religionthanto a Craft or Science. And for Fayriesand walking Ghoststhe opinion of themhas I think been on purposeeither taughtor not confutedto keep in creditthe use of Exorcismeof Crossesof holy Waterand other such inventions ofGhostly men. Neverthelessethere is no doubtbut God can make unnaturallApparitions: But that he does it so oftenas men need to feare such thingsmore than they feare the stayor changeof the course of Naturewhich he alsocan stayand changeis no point of Christian faith. But evill men underpretext that God can do anythingare so bold as to say any thing when it servestheir turnthough they think it untrue; It is the part of a wise mantobelieve them no furtherthan right reason makes that which they sayappearcredible. If this superstitious fear of Spirits were taken awayand with itPrognostiques from Dreamsfalse Propheciesand many other things dependingthereonby whichcrafty ambitious persons I abuse the simple peoplemen wouldbe much more fitted than they are for civill Obedience.
And this ought to be the work of the Schooles: but they rather nourish suchdoctrine. For (not knowing what Imaginationor the Senses are)what theyreceivethey teach: some sayingthat Imaginations rise of themselvesand haveno cause: Others that they rise most commonly from the Will; and that Goodthoughts are blown (inspired) into a manby God; and Evill thoughts by theDivell: or that Good thoughts are powred (infused) into a manby Godand Evillones by the Divell. Some say the Senses receive the Species of thingsanddeliver them to the Common-sense; and the Common Sense delivers them over to theFancyand the Fancy to the Memoryand the Memory to the Judgementlikehanding of things from one to anotherwith many words making nothingunderstood.
The Imagination that is raysed in man (or any other creature indued with thefaculty of imagining) by wordsor other voluntary signesis that we generallycall Understandingand is common to Man and Beast. For a dogge bycustome will understand the callor the rating of his Master; and so will manyother Beasts. That Understanding which is peculiar to manis the Understandingnot onely his will; but his conceptions and thoughtsby the sequell andcontexture of the names of things into AffirmationsNegationsand other formesof Speech: And of this kinde of Understanding I shall speak hereafter.
By Consequenceor TRAYNE of ThoughtsI understand that succession of oneThought to anotherwhich is called (to distinguish it from Discourse in words) MentallDiscourse.
When a man thinketh on any thing whatsoeverHis next Thought afteris notaltogether so casuall as it seems to be. Not every Thought to every Thoughtsucceeds indifferently. But as wee have no Imaginationwhereof we have notformerly had Sensein wholeor in parts; so we have no Transition from oneImagination to anotherwhereof we never had the like before in our Senses. Thereason whereof is this. All Fancies are Motions within usreliques of thosemade in the Sense: And those motions that immediately succeeded one another inthe sensecontinue also together after Sense: In so much as the former commingagain to take placeand be praedominantthe later followethby coherence ofthe matter movedin such manneras water upon a plain Table is drawn which wayany one part of it is guided by the finger. But because in senseto one and thesame thing perceivedsometimes one thingsometimes another succeedethitcomes to passe in timethat in the Imagining of any thingthere is nocertainty what we shall Imagine next; Onely this is certainit shall besomething that succeeded the same beforeat one time or another.
This Trayne of Thoughtsor Mentall Discourseis of two sorts. The first is Unguidedwithout Designeand inconstant; Wherein there is no Passionate Thoughttogovern and direct those that followto it selfas the end and scope of somedesireor other passion: In which case the thoughts are said to wanderandseem impertinent one to anotheras in a Dream. Such are Commonly the thoughtsof menthat are not onely without companybut also without care of any thing;though even then their Thoughts are as busie as at other timesbut withoutharmony; as the sound which a Lute out of tune would yeeld to any man; or intuneto one that could not play. And yet in this wild ranging of the mindaman may oft-times perceive the way of itand the dependance of one thought uponanother. For in a Discourse of our present civill warrewhat could seem moreimpertinentthan to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny? Yetthe Cohaerence to me was manifest enough. For the Thought of the warreintroduced the Thought of the delivering up the King to his Enemies; The Thoughtof thatbrought in the Thought of the delivering up of Christ; and that againthe Thought of the 30 pencewhich was the price of that treason: and thenceeasily followed that malicious question; and all this in a moment of time; forThought is quick.
The second is more constant; as being regulated by some desireanddesigne. For the impression made by such things as wee desireor feareisstrong and permanentor(if it cease for a time) of quick return: so strongit is sometimesas to hinder and break our sleep. From Desireariseth theThought of some means we have seen produce the like of that which we ayme at;and from the thought of thatthe thought of means to that mean; and socontinuallytill we come to some beginning within our own power. And becausethe Endby the greatnesse of the impressioncomes often to mindin case ourthoughts begin to wanderthey are quickly again reduced into the way: whichobserved by one of the seven wise menmade him give men this praeceptwhich isnow worne outRespice finem; that is to sayin all your actionslookoften upon what you would haveas the thing that directs all your thoughts inthe way to attain it.
The Trayne of regulated Thoughts is of two kinds; Onewhen of an effectimaginedwee seek the causesor means that produce it: and this is common toMan and Beast. The other iswhen imagining any thing whatsoeverwee seek allthe possible effectsthat can by it be produced; that is to saywe imaginewhat we can do with itwhen wee have it. Of which I have not at any time seenany signebut in man onely; for this is a curiosity hardly incident to thenature of any living creature that has no other Passion but sensuallsuch asare hungerthirstlustand anger. In summethe Discourse of the Mindwhenit is governed by designeis nothing but Seekingor the faculty ofInventionwhich the Latines call Sagaritasand Solertia; ahunting out of the causesof some effectpresent or past; or of the effectsof some present or past cause. Sometimes a man seeks what he hath lost; and fromthat placeand timewherein hee misses ithis mind runs backfrom place toplaceand time to timeto find whereand when he had it; that is to saytofind some certainand limited time and placein which to begin a method ofseeking. Againfrom thencehis thoughts run over the same places and timestofind what actionor other occasion might make him lose it. This we call Remembranceor Calling to mind: the Latines call it Reminiscentiaas it were aRe-conning of our former actions.
Sometimes a man knows a place determinatewithin the compasse whereof he isto seek; and then his thoughts run over all the parts thereofin the samemanneras one would sweep a roomto find a jewell; or as a Spaniel ranges thefieldtill he finds a sent; or as a man should run over the Alphabetto starta rime.
Sometime a man desires to know the event of an action; and then he thinkethof some like action pastand the events thereof one after another; supposinglike events will follow like actions. As he that foresees what wil become of aCriminalre-cons what he has seen follow on the like Crime before; having thisorder of thoughtsThe Crimethe Officerthe Prisonthe Judgeand theGallowes. Which kind of thoughtsis called Foresightand Prudenceor Providence; and sometimes Wisdome; though such conjecturethrough the difficulty of observing all circumstancesbe very fallacious. Butthis is certain; by how much one man has more experience of things pastthananother; by so much also he is more Prudentand his expectations the seldomerfaile him. The Present onely has a being in Nature; things Past have a being inthe Memory onelybut things to come have no being at all; the Futurebeing but a fiction of the mindapplying the sequels of actions Pastto theactions that are Present; which with most certainty is done by him that has mostExperience; but not with certainty enough. And though it be called Prudencewhen the Event answereth our Expectation; yet in its own natureit is butPresumption. For the foresight of things to comewhich is Providencebelongsonely to him by whose will they are to come. From him onelyand supernaturallyproceeds Prophecy. The best Prophet naturally is the best guesser; and the bestguesserhe that is most versed and studied in the matters he guesses at: for hehath most Signes to guesse by.
A Signeis the Event Antecedentof the Consequent; and contrarilytheConsequent of the Antecedentwhen the like Consequences have been observedbefore: And the oftner they have been observedthe lesse uncertain is theSigne. And therefore he that has most experience in any kind of businessehasmost Signeswhereby to guesse at the Future time; and consequently is the mostprudent: And so much more prudent than he that is new in that kind of businessas not to be equalled by any advantage of naturall and extemporary; wit: thoughperhaps many young men think the contrary.
Neverthelesse it is not Prudence that distinguisheth man from beast. There bebeaststhat at a year old obsene moreand pursue that which is for their goodmore prudentlythan a child can do at ten.
As Prudence is a Praesumtion of the Futurecontracted from theExperience of time Past: So there is a Praesumtion of things Pasttaken from other things (not future but) past also. For he that hath seen bywhat courses and degreesa flourishing State hath first come into civil warreand then to ruine; upon the sight of the ruines of any other Statewill guessethe like warreand the like courses have been there also. But this conjecturehas the same incertainty almost with the conjecture of the Future; both beinggrounded onely upon Experience.
There is no other act of mans mindthat I can remembernaturally planted inhimsoas to need no other thingto the exercise of itbut to be born a manand live with the use of his five Senses. Those other Facultiesof which Ishall speak by and byand which seem proper to man onelyare acquiredandencreased by study and industry; and of most men learned by instructionanddiscipline; and proceed all from the invention of Wordsand Speech. For besidesSenseand Thoughtsand the Trayne of thoughtsthe mind of man has no othermotion; though by the help of Speechand Methodthe same Facultyes may beimproved to such a heightas to distinguish men from all other livingCreatures.
Whatsoever we imagineis Finite. Therefore there is no Ideaorconception of any thing we call Infinite. No man can have in his mind anImage of infinite magnitude; nor conceive infinite swiftnessinfinite timeorinfinite forceor infinite power. When we say any thing is infinitewesignifie onelythat we are not able to conceive the endsand bounds of thething named; having no Conception of the thingbut of our own inability. Andtherefore the Name of God is usednot to make us conceive him; (for heis Incomprehensible; and his greatnesseand power are unconceivable;)but that we may honour him. Also because whatsoever (as I said before) weconceivehas been perceived first by senseeither all at onceor by parts; aman can have no thoughtrepresenting any thingnot subject to sense. No mantherefore can conceive any thingbut he must conceive it in some place; andindued with some determinate magnitude; and which may be divided into parts; northat any thing is all in this placeand all in another place at the same time;nor that twoor more things can be in oneand the same place at once: For noneof these things ever haveor can be incident to Sense; but are absurd speechestaken upon credit (without any signification at all) from deceivedPhilosophersand deceivedor deceiving Schoolemen.
The Invention of Printingthough ingeniouscompared with theinvention of Lettersis no great matter. But who was the first thatfound the use of Lettersis not known. He that first brought them into Greecemen say was Cadmusthe sonne of AgenorKing of Phaenicia. Aprofitable Invention for continuing the memory of time pastand the conjunctionof mankinddispersed into so manyand distant regions of the Earth; and withall difficultas proceeding from a watchfull observation of the divers motionsof the TonguePalatLipsand other organs of Speech; whereby to make as manydifferences of charactersto remember them. But the most noble and profitableinvention of all otherwas that of SPEECHconsisting of Names or Appellationsand their Connexion; whereby men register their Thoughts; recall them when theyare past; and also declare them one to another for mutuall utility andconversation; without whichthere had been amongst menneither Common-wealthnor Societynor Contractnor Peaceno more than amongst LyonsBearsandWolves. The first author of Speech was God himselfthat instructed Adamhow to name such creatures as he presented to his sight; For the Scripture goethno further in this matter. But this was sufficient to direct him to adde morenamesas the experience and use of the creatures should give him occasion; andto joyn them in such manner by degreesas to make himself understood; and so bysuccession of timeso much language might be gottenas he had found use for;though not so copiousas an Orator or Philosopher has need of. Nor I do notfind any thing in the Scriptureout of whichdirectly or by consequence can begatheredthat Adam was taught the names of all FiguresNumbersMeasuresColoursSoundsFanciesRelations; much less the names of Words andSpeechas GenerallSpeciallAffirmativeNegativeInterrogativeOptativeInfinitiveall which are usefull; and least of allof EntityIntentionalityQuiddityand other insignificant words of the School.
But all this language gottenand augmented by Adam and his posteritywas again lost at the tower of Babelwhen by the hand of Godevery manwas stricken for his rebellionwith an oblivion of his former language. Andbeing hereby forced to disperse themselves into severall parts of the worlditmust needs bethat the diversity of Tongues that now isproceeded by degreesfrom themin such manneras need (the mother of all inventions) taught them;and in tract of time grew every where more copious.The generall use of Speechis to transferre our Mentall Discourseinto Verbal; or the Trayne of ourThoughtsinto a Trayne of Words; and that for two commodities; whereof one isthe Registring of the Consequences of our Thoughts; which being apt to slip outof our memoryand put us to a new labourmay again be recalledby such wordsas they were marked by. So that the first use of namesis to serve for Markesor Notes of remembrance. Another iswhen many use the same wordstosignifie (by their connexion and order) one to anotherwhat they conceiveorthink of each matter; and also what they desirefeareor have any otherpassion for. And for this use they are called Signes. Speciall uses ofSpeech are these; Firstto Registerwhat by cogitationwee find to be thecause of any thingpresent or past; and what we find things present or past mayproduceor effect: which in summeis acquiring of Arts. Secondlyto shew toothers that knowledge which we have attained; which isto Counselland Teachone another. Thirdlyto make known to others our willsand purposesthat wemay have the mutuall help of one another. Fourthlyto please and delight ourselvesand othersby playing with our wordsfor pleasure or ornamentinnocently.
To these Usesthere are also foure correspondent Abuses. Firstwhen menregister their thoughts wrongby the inconstancy of the signification of theirwords; by which they register for their conceptionsthat which they neverconceived; and so deceive themselves.
Secondlywhen they use words metaphorically; that isin other sense thanthat they are ordained for; and thereby deceive others. Thirdly when by wordsthey declare that to be their willwhich is not. Fourthlywhen they use themto grieve one another: for seeing nature hath armed living creaturessome withteethsome with hornsand some with handsto grieve an enemyit is but anabuse of Speechto grieve him with the tongueunlesse it be one whom wee areobliged to govern; and then it is not to grievebut to correct and amend.
The manner how Speech serveth to the remembrance of the consequence of causesand effectsconsisteth in the imposing of Namesand the Connexionof them.
Of Namessome are Properand singular to one onely thing; as PeterJohnThis manthis Tree: and some are Common to many things; as ManHorseTree; every of which though but one Nameis nevertheless the name ofdivers particular things; in respect of all which togetherit is called an Universall;there being nothing in the world Universall but Names; for the things namedareevery one of them Individuall and Singular.
One Universall name is imposed on many thingsfor their similitude in somequalityor other accident: And wheras a Proper Name bringeth to mind one thingonely; Universals recall any one of those many.
And of Names Universallsome are of moreand some of lesse extent; thelarger comprehending the lesse large: and some again of equall extentcomprehending each other reciprocally. As for examplethe Name Body isof larger signification than the word Manand comprehendeth it; and thenames Man and Rationallare of equall extentcomprehendingmutually one another. But here wee must take noticethat by a Name is notalwayes understoodas in Grammarone onely Word; but sometimes bycircumlocution many words together. For all these wordsHee that in hisactions observeth the Lawes of his Countrymake but one Nameequivalent tothis one wordJust.
By this imposition of Namessome of largersome of stricter significationwe turn the reckoning of the consequences of things imagined in the mindinto areckoning of the consequences of Appellations. For examplea man that hath nouse of Speech at all(suchas is born and remains perfectly deafe and dumb)if he set before his eyes a triangleand by it two right angles(such as arethe corners of a square figure) he may by meditation compare and findthat thethree angles of that triangleare equall to those two right angles that standby it. But if another triangle be shewn him different in shape from the formerhe cannot know without a new labourwhether the three angles of that also beequall to the same. But he that hath the use of wordswhen he observesthatsuch equality was consequentnot to the length of the sidesnor to any otherparticular thing in his triangle; but onely to thisthat the sides werestraightand the angles three; and that that was allfor which he named it aTriangle; will boldly conclude Universallythat such equality of angles is inall triangles whatsoever; and register his invention in these generall termesEverytriangle hath its three angles equall to two right angles. And thus theconsequence found in one particularcomes to be registred and remembredas anUniversall rule; and discharges our mentall reckoningof time and place; anddelivers us from all labour of the mindsaving the first; and makes that whichwas found true hereand nowto be true in all times and places.
But the use of words in registring our thoughtsis in nothing so evident asin Numbring. A naturall foole that could never learn by heart the order ofnumerall wordsas onetwoand threemay observe everystroak of the Clockand nod to itor say oneoneone; but can never knowwhat houre it strikes. And it seemsthere was a time when those names of numberwere not in use; and men were fayn to apply their fingers of one or both handsto those things they desired to keep account of; and that thence it proceededthat now our numerall words are but tenin any Nationand in some but fiveand then they begin again. And he that can tell tenif he recite them out oforderwill lose himselfeand not know when he has done: Much lesse will he beable to addeand subtractand performe all other operations of Arithmetique.So that without wordsthere is no possibility of reckoning of Numbers; muchlesse of Magnitudesof Swiftnesseof Forceand other thingsthe reckoningswhereof are necessary to the beingor well-being of man-kind.
When two Names are joyned together into a Consequenceor Affirmation; asthusA man is a living creature; or thusif he be a manhe is aliving creatureIf the later name Living creaturesignifie all thatthe former name Man signifieththen the affirmationor consequence istrue; otherwise false. For True and False are attributes ofSpeechnot of Things. And where Speech is notthere is neither Truthnor Falshood. Errour there may beas when wee expect that whichshall not be; or suspect what has not been: but in neither case can a man becharged with Untruth.
Seeing then that truth consisteth in the right ordering of names inour affirmationsa man that seeketh precise truthhad need to rememberwhat every name he uses stands for- and to place it accordingly; or else he willfind himselfe entangled in wordsas a bird in lime-twiggs; the more hestrugglesthe more belimed. And therefore in Geometry(which is the onelyScience that it hath pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind) men begin atsettling the significations of their words; which settling of significationsthey call Definitions; and place them in the beginning of theirreckoning.
By this it appears how necessary it is for any man that aspires to trueKnowledgeto examine the Definitions of former Authors; and either to correctthemwhere they are negligently set down; or to make them himselfe. For theerrours of Definitions multiply themselvesaccording as the reckoning proceeds;and lead men into absurditieswhich at last they seebut cannot avoydwithoutreckoning anew from the beginning; in which lyes the foundation of theirerrours. From whence it happensthat they which trust to booksdo as they thatcast up many little summs into a greaterwithout considering whether thoselittle summes were rightly cast up or not; and at last finding the errourvisibleand not mistrusting their first groundsknow not which way to cleerethemselves; but spend time in fluttering over their bookes; as birds thatentring by the chimneyand finding themselves inclosed in a chamberflutter atthe false light of a glasse windowfor want of wit to consider which way theycame in. So that in the right Definition of Nameslyes the first use of Speech;which is the Acquisition of Science: And in wrongor no Definitions lyes thefirst abuse; from which proceed all false and senslesse Tenets; which make thosemen that take their instruction from the authority of booksand not from theirown meditationto be as much below the condition of ignorant menas men enduedwith true Science are above it. For between true Scienceand erroneousDoctrinesIgnorance is in the middle. Naturall sense and imaginationare notsubject to absurdity. Nature it selfe cannot erre: and as men abound incopiousnesse of language; so they become more wiseor more mad than ordinary.Nor is it possible without Letters for any man to become either excellentlywiseor (unless his memory be hurt by diseaseor ill constitution of organs)excellently foolish. For words are wise mens countersthey do but reckon bythem: but they are the mony of foolesthat value them by the authority of an Aristotlea Ciceroor a Thomasor any other Doctor whatsoeverif but aman.
Subject to Namesis whatsoever can enter intoor be considered in anaccount; and be added one to another to make a summe; or substracted one fromanotherand leave a remainder. The Latines called Accounts of mony Rationesand accountingRatioeinatio: and I that which we in bills or books ofaccount call Itemsthey called Nomina; that isNames: andthence it seems to proceedthat they extended the word Ratioto the faculty ofReckoning in all other things. The Greeks have but one wordfor both Speechand Reason; not that they thought there was no Speech without Reason; butno Reasoning without Speech: And the act of reasoning they called Syllogisme;which signifieth summing up of the consequences of one sawing to another. Andbecause the same things may enter into account for divers accidents; their namesare (to shew that diversity) diversly wrestedand diversified. This diversityof names may be reduced to foure generall heads.
Firsta thing may enter into account for Matteror Body; as livingsensiblerationallhotcoldmovedquiet; with all which names the word Matteror Body is understood; all suchbeing names of Matter.
Secondlyit may enter into accountor be consideredfor some accident orqualitywhich we conceive to be in it; as for being movedfor beingso longfor being hot &c; and thenof the name of the thing itselfeby a little change or wrestingwee make a name for that accidentwhichwe consider; and for living put into the account life; for movedmotion; for hotheat; for longlengthand the like: And allsuch Namesare the names of the accidents and propertiesby which one Matterand Body is distinguished from another. These are called names Abstract;because severed (not from Matterbut) from the account of Matter.
Thirdlywe bring into accountthe Properties of our own bodieswhereby wemake such distinction: as when any thing is Seen by uswe reckon not the thingit selfe; but the sightthe Colourthe Idea of it in thefancy: and when any thing is heardwee reckon it not; but the hearingor sound onelywhich is our fancy or conception of it by the Eare: andsuch are names of fancies.
Fourthlywe bring into accountconsiderand give namesto Namesthemselvesand to Speeches: Forgeneralluniversallspeciallaequivocallare names of Names. And AffirmationInterrogationCommandementNarrationSyllogismeSermonOrationand many other suchare names of Speeches. And this is all the variety of Names Positive;which are put to mark somewhat which is in Natureor may be feigned by the mindof manas Bodies that areor may be conceived to be; or of bodiestheProperties that areor may be feigned to be; or Words and Speech.
There be also other Namescalled Negative; which are notes tosignifie that a word is not the name of the thing in question; as these words Nothingno maninfiniteindociblethree want foureand the like; which arenevertheless of use in reckoningor in correcting of reckoning; and call tomind our past cogitationsthough they be not names of any thing; because theymake us refuse to admit of Names not rightly used.
All other Namesare but insignificant sounds; and those of two sorts. Onewhen they are newand yet their meaning not explained by Definition; whereofthere have been aboundance coyned by Schoolemenand pusled Philosophers.
Anotherwhen men make a name of two Nameswhose significations arecontradictory and inconsistent; as this namean incorporeall bodyor(which is all one) an incorporeall substanceand a great number more.For whensoever any affirmation is falsethe two names of which it is composedput together and made onesignifie nothing at all. For exampleif it be afalse affirmation to say a quadrangle is roundthe word roundquadrangle signifies nothing; but is a meere sound. So likewise if it befalseto say that vertue can be powredor blown up and down; the words In-powredvertueIn-blown vertueare as absurd and insignificantas a roundquadrangle. And therefore you shall hardly meet with a senslesse andinsignificant wordthat is not made up of some Latin or Greek names. AFrenchman seldome hears our Saviour called by the name of Parolebut bythe name of Verbe often; yet Verbe and Parole differ nomorebut that one is Latinthe other French.
When a man upon the hearing of any Speechhath those thoughts which thewords of that Speechand their connexionwere ordained and constituted tosignifie; Then he is said to understand it: Understanding being nothingelsebut conception caused by Speech. And therefore if Speech be peculiar toman (as for ought I know it is) then is Understanding peculiar to him also. Andtherefore of absurd and false affirmationsin case they be universalltherecan be no Understanding; though many think they understandthenwhen they dobut repeat the words softlyor con them in their mind.
What kinds of Speeches signifie the AppetitesAversionsand Passions ofmans mind; and of their use and abuseI shall speak when I have spoken of thePassions.
The names of such things as affect usthat iswhich pleaseand displeaseusbecause all men be not alike affected with the same thingnor the same manat all timesare in the common discourses of menof inconstantsignification. For seeing all names are imposed to signifie our conceptions; andall our affections are but conceptions; when we conceive the same thingsdifferentlywe can hardly avoyd different naming of them. For though the natureof that we conceivebe the sameyet the diversity of our reception of itinrespect of different constitutions of bodyand prejudices of opiniongivesevery thing a tincture of our different passions. And therefore in reasoningaman must take heed of words; which besides the signification of what we imagineof their naturehave a signification also of the naturedispositionandinterest of the speaker; such as are the names of Vertuesand Vices; For oneman calleth Wisdomewhat another calleth feare; and one crueltywhat another justice; one prodigalitywhat another magnanimity;and one gravitywhat another stupidity&c. And thereforesuch names can never be true grounds of any ratiocination. No more canMetaphorsand Tropes of speech: but these are less dangerousbecause theyprofess their inconstancy; which the other do not.
When a man Reasonethhee does nothing else but conceive a summetotallfrom Addition of parcels; or conceive a RemainderfromSubstraction of one summe from another: which (if it be done by Words) isconceiving of the consequence from' the names of all the partsto the name ofthe whole; or from the names of the whole and one partto the name of the otherpart. And though in some things(as in numbers) besides Adding and Substractingmen name other operationsas Multiplying and Dividing; yet theyare the same; for Multiplicationis but Adding together of things equall; andDivisionbut Substracting of one thingas often as we can. These operationsare not incident to Numbers onelybut to all manner of things that can be addedtogetherand taken one out of another. For as Arithmeticians teach to adde andsubstract in numbers; so the Geometricians teach the same in linesfigures (solid and superficiall) anglesproportionstimesdegrees of swiftnesseforcepowerand the like; The Logicians teachthe same in Consequences of words; adding together two Namestomake an Affirmation; and two Affirmationsto make a Syllogisme;and many Syllogismes to make a Demonstration; and from thesummeor Conclusion of a Syllogismethey substract one Propositionto finde the other. Writers of Politiquesadde together Pactionstofind mens duties; and LawyersLawesand factsto find what is rightand wrong in the actions of private men. In summein what matter soeverthere is place for addition and substractionthere also is placefor Reason; and where these have no placethere Reason has nothing atall to do.
Out of all which we may define(that is to say determine) what that iswhich is meant by this word Reasonwhen wee reckon it amongst theFaculties of the mind. For REASONin this senseis nothing but Reckoning(that isAdding and Substracting) of the Consequences of generall names agreeduponfor the marking and signifying of our thoughts; I say markingthemwhen we reckon by our selves; and signifyingwhen we demonstrateor approve our reckonings to other men.
And as in Arithmetiqueunpractised men mustand Professors themselves mayoften erreand cast up false; so also in any other subject of Reasoningtheablestmost attentiveand most practised menmay deceive themselvesandinferre false ConclusionsNot but that Reason it selfe is alwayes Right Reasonas well as Arithmetique is a certain and infallible Art: But no one mans Reasonnor the Reason of any one number of menmakes the certaintie; no more than anaccount is therefore well cast upbecause a great many men have unanimouslyapproved it. And therforeas when there is a controversy in an accounttheparties must by their own accordset up for right Reasonthe Reason of someArbitratoror Judgeto whose sentence they will both standor theircontroversie must either come to blowesor be undecidedfor want of a rightReason constituted by Nature; so is it also in all debates of what kind soever:And when men that think themselves wiser than all othersclamor and demandright Reason for judge; yet seek no morebut that things should be determinedby no other mens reason but their ownit is as intolerable in the society ofmenas it is in play after trump is turnedto use for trump on every occasionthat suite whereof they have most in their hand. For they do nothing elsthatwill have every of their passionsas it comes to bear sway in themto be takenfor right Reasonand that in their own controversies: bewraying their want ofright Reasonby the claym they lay to it.
The Use and End of Reasonis not the finding of the summeand truth of oneor a few consequencesremote from the first definitionsj and settledsignifications of names; but to begin at these; and proceed from one consequenceto another. For there can be no certainty of the last Conclusionwithout acertainty of all those Affirmations and Negationson which it was groundedandinferred. As when a master of a familyin taking an accountcasteth up thesumms of all the bills of expenceinto one sum; and not regarding how each billis summed upby those that give them in account; nor what it is he payes tor;he advantages himself no morethan if he allowed the account in grossetrusting to every of the accountants skill and honesty: so also in Reasoning ofall other thingshe that takes up conclusions on the trust of Authorsand dothnot fetch them from the first Items in every Reckoning(which are thesignifications of names settled by definitions)loses his labour; and does notknow any thing; but onely beleeveth.
When a man reckons without the use of wordswhich may be done in particularthings(as when upon the sight of any one thingwee conjecture what was likelyto have precededor is likely to follow upon it;) if that which he thoughtlikely to followfollowes not; or that which he thought likely to have precededithath not preceded itthis is called ERROR; to which even the most prudentmen are subject. But when we Reason in Words of generall significationand fallupon a generall inference which is false; though it be commonly called Errorit is indeed an ABSURDITYor senslesse Speech. For Error is but a deceptioninpresuming that somewhat is pastor to come; of whichthough it were not pastor not to come; yet there was no impossibility discoverable. But when we make agenerall assertionunlesse it be a true onethe possibility of it isunconceivable. And words whereby we conceive nothing but the soundare those wecall AbsurdInsignificantand Non-sense. And therefore ifa man should talk to me of a round Quadrangle; or accidents of Breadin Cheese; or Immateriall Substances; or of A free Subject; Afree-will; or any Freebut free from being hindred by oppositionIshould not say he were in an Errourbut that his words were without meaning;that is to sayAbsurd.
I have said before(in the second chapter) that a Man did excell all otherAnimals in this facultythat when he conceived any thing whatsoeverhe was aptto enquire the consequences of itand what effects he could do with it. And nowI adde this other degree of the same excellencethat he can by words reduce theconsequences he findes to generall Rulescalled Theoremesor Aphorismes;that ishe can Reasonor reckonnot onely in number; but in all other thingswhereof one may be added untoor substracted from another.
But this priviledgeis allayed by another; and that isby the priviledge ofAbsurdity; to which no living creature is subjectbut man onely. And of menthose are of all most subject to itthat professe Philosophy. For it is mosttrue that Cicero sayth of them somewhere; that there can be nothing soabsurdbut may be found in the books of Philosophers. And the reason ismanifest. For there is not one of them that begins his ratiocination from theDefinitionsor Explications of the names they are to use; which is a methodthat hath been used onely in Geometry; whose Conclusions have thereby been madeindisputable.
The first cause of Absurd conclusions I ascribe to the want of Method; inthat they begin not their Ratiocination from Definitions; that isfrom settledsignifications of their words: as if they could cast accountwithout knowingthe value of the numerall wordsonetwoand three.
And whereas all bodies enter into account upon divers considerations(whichI have mentioned in the precedent chapter;) these considerations being diverslynameddivers absurdities proceed from the confusionand unfit connexion oftheir names into assertions. And therefore
The second cause of Absurd assertionsI ascribe to the giving of names of bodiesto accidentsor of accidentsto bodies; As they dothatsayFaith is infusedor inspired; when nothing can be powredor breathed into any thingbut body; and thatextension is body;that phantasmes are spirits&c.
The third I ascribe to the giving of the names of the accidents of bodieswithout usto the accidents of our own bodies; as they dothat saythe colour is in the body; the sound is in the ayre&c.
The fourthto the giving of the names of bodiesto namesor speeches;as they do that saythat there be things universall; that a livingcreature is Genusor a generall thing&c.
The fifthto the giving of the names of accidentsto namesand speeches; as they do that saythe nature of a thing is itsdefinition; a mans command is his will; and the like.
The sixthto the use of MetaphorsTropesand other Rhetoricallfiguresin stead of words proper. For though it be lawfull to say(for example) incommon speechthe way goethor leadeth hitheror thitherTheProverb sayes this or that (whereas wayes cannot gonor Proverbs speak;)yet in reckoningand seeking of truthsuch speeches are not to be admitted.
The seventhto names that signifie nothing; but are taken upand learned byrote from the Schoolesas hypostaticaltransubstantiateI consubstantiateeternal-Nowand the like canting of Schoole-men.
To him that can avoyd these thingsit is not easie to fall into anyabsurdityunlesse it be by the length of an account; wherein he may perhapsforget what went before. For all men by nature reason alikeand wellwhen theyhave good principles. For who is so stupidas both to mistake in Geometryandalso to persist in itwhen another detects his error to him?
By this it appears that Reason is not as Senseand Memoryborne with us;nor gotten by Experience onelyas Prudence is; but attayned by Industry; firstin apt imposing of Names; and secondly by getting a good and orderly Method inproceeding from the Elementswhich are Namesto Assertions made by Connexionof one of them to another; and so to Syllogismeswhich are the Connexions ofone Assertion to anothertill we come to a knowledge of all the Consequences ofnames appertaining to the subject in hand; and that is itmen call SCIENCE. Andwhereas Sense and Memory are but knowledge of Factwhich is a thing pastandirrevocable; Science is the knowledge of Consequencesand dependance ofone fact upon another: by whichout of that we can presently dowe know how todo something else when we willor the likeanother time: Because when we seehow any thing comes aboutupon what causesand by what manner; when the likecauses come into our powerwee see how to make it produce the like effects.
Children therefore are not endued with Reason at alltill they have attainedthe use of Speech: but are called Reasonable Creaturesfor the possibilityapparent of having the use of Reason in time to come. And the most part of menthough they have the use of Reasoning a little wayas in numbring to somedegree; yet it serves them to little use in common life; in which they governthemselvessome bettersome worseaccording to their differences ofexperiencequicknesse of memoryand inclinations to severall ends; butspecially according to good or evill fortuneand the errors of one another. Foras for Scienceor certain rules of their actionsthey are so farre from itthat they know not what it is. Geometry they have thought Conjuring: But forother Sciencesthey who have not been taught the beginningsand some progressein themthat they may see how they be acquired and generatedare in this pointlike childrenthat having no thought of generationare made believe by thewomenthat their brothers and sisters are not bornbut found in the garden.
But yet they that have no Scienceare in betterand nobler conditionwith their naturall Prudence; than menthat by misreasoningor by trustingthem that reason wrongfall upon false and absurd generall rules. For ignoranceof causesand of rulesdoes not set men so farre out of their wayas relyingon false rulesand taking for causes of what they aspire tothose that are notsobut rather causes of the contrary.
To concludeThe Light of humane minds is Perspicuous Wordsbut by exactdefinitions first snuffedand purged from ambiguity; Reason is the pace;Encrease of Sciencethe way; and the Benefit of man-kindthe end.And on the contraryMetaphorsand senslesse and ambiguous wordsare like ignesfatui; and reasoning upon themis wandering amongst innumerableabsurdities; and their endcontentionand seditionor contempt.
Asmuch Experienceis Prudence; sois much ScienceSapience.For though wee usually have one name of Wisedome for them both; yet the Latinesdid alwayes distinguish between Prudentia and Sapientia; ascribingthe former to Experiencethe later to Science. But to make their differenceappeare more cleerlylet us suppose one man endued with an excellent naturalluseand dexterity in handling his armes; and another to have added to thatdexterityan acquired Scienceof where he can offendor be offended by hisadversariein every possible postureor guard: The ability of the formerwould be to the ability of the lateras Prudence to Sapience; both usefull; butthe later infallible. But they that trusting onely to the authority of booksfollow the blind blindlyare like him that trusting to the false rules of amaster of Fenceventures praesumptuously upon an adversarythat either killsor disgraces him.
The signes of Scienceare somecertain and infallible; someuncertain.Certainwhen he that pretendeth the Science of any thingcan teach the same;that is to saydemonstrate the truth thereof perspicuously to another:Uncertainwhen onely some particular events answer to his pretenceand uponmany occasions prove so as he sayes they must. Signes of prudence are alluncertain; because to observe by experienceand remember all circumstances thatmay alter the successeis impossible. But in any businessewhereof a man hasnot infallible Science to proceed by; to forsake his own naturall judgementandbe guided by generall sentences read in Authorsand subject to many exceptionsis a signe of follyand generally scorned by the name of Pedantry. And even ofthose men themselvesthat in Councells of the Common-wealthlove to shew theirreading of Politiques and Historyvery few do it in their domestique affaireswhere their particular interest is concerned; having Prudence enough for theirprivate affaires: but in publique they study more the reputation of their ownewitthan the successe of anothers businesse.