But our wonder will, perhaps, cease or diminish, when we consider, that the experimental reasoning itself, which we possess in common with beasts, and on which the whole conduct of life depends, is nothing but a species of instinct or mechanical power,8 that acts in us unknown to ourselves; and in its chief operations, is not directed by any such relations or comparisons of ideas, as are the proper objects of our intellectual faculties. Or where this is wanting, the person, who broke the thread of discourse, might still inform you, that there had secretly revolved in his mind a succession of thought, which had gradually led him from the subject of conversation. But if we would have a more philosophical confutation of this theory, perhaps the two following reflections may suffice. But as the former grow thinner every page, in proportion as we advance nearer the enlightened ages, we soon learn, that there is nothing mysterious or supernatural in the case, but that all proceeds from the usual propensity of mankind towards the marvellous, and that, though this inclination may at intervals receive a check from sense and learning, it can never be thoroughly extirpated from human nature. Greater good produced by this Being must still prove a greater degree of goodness: A more impartial distribution of rewards and punishments must proceed from a greater regard to justice and equity.
They make us feel the di¡erence between vice and virtue; they excite and regulate our sentiments; and so they can but bend our hearts to the love of probity2 and true honour, they think, that they have fully attained the end of all their labours. It also 1 When speaking of Scepticism, I have employed the capital letter throughout, except when referring to modern epistemological or metaphysical views. How painful soever this inward search or enquiry may appear, it becomes, in some measure, requisite to those, who would describe with success the obvious and outward appearances of life and manners. Abstract published early in the year; Treatise, Book iii published in November. His argument in the Treatise was, to say the least, awkward, and he may have been glad to get rid of an ungainly and unnecessary discussion. These faculties may mimic or copy the perceptions of the senses; but they never can entirely reach the force and vivacity of the original sentiment. We may change the name of things; but their nature and their operation on the understanding never change.
I hope none will pretend that that pious prelate intended by these assertions to weaken the evidences for a divine existence, but only to distinguish accurately its species of evidence. It enters more into common life; moulds the heart and a¡ections; and, by touching those principles which actuate men, reforms their conduct, and brings them nearer to the model of perfection which it describes. First, when we analyze our thoughts or ideas, however compounded or sublime, we always find that they resolve themselves into such simple ideas as were copied from a precedent feeling or sentiment. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. In short, especially on its ¢rst appearance, the Enquiry was much more like a 12 This footnote was removed after the appearance of An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals in 1751. Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole Treatise is that in which Hume tried to explain § ii, pp.
We know, that, in fact, heat is a constant attendant of flame; but what is the connexion between them, we have no room so much as to conjecture or imagine. So also there is not much reason to complain of the abbreviation to one page of the criticism of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities Treatise, § iv, pp. It may conceive fictitious objects with all the circumstances of place and time. The two incidents are related. The thought moves instantly towards it, and conveys to it all that force of conception, which is derived from the impression present to the senses.
Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Scepticism, 1. The physician declares, that it was impossible she could have been so ill as was proved by witnesses; because it was impossible she could, in so short a time, have recovered so perfectly as he found her. A production without a design would resemble more the ravings of a madman,3 than the sober e¡orts of genius and learning. While the sceptic insists upon these topics, he shows his force, or rather, indeed, his own and our weakness; and seems, for the time at least, to destroy all assurance and conviction. In all cases, we must balance the opposite experiments, where they are opposite, and deduct the smaller number from the greater, in order to know the exact force of the superior evidence.
Our evidence, then, for, the truth of the Christian religion is less than the evidence for the truth of our senses; because, even in the ¢rst authors of our religion, it was no greater; and it is evident it must diminish in passing from them to their disciples; nor can any one rest such con¢dence in their testimony, as in the immediate object of his senses. It is allowed on all hands that there is no known connexion between the sensible qualities and the secret powers; and consequently, that the mind is not led to form such a conclusion concerning their constant and regular conjunction, by anything which it knows of their nature. In the Enquiry the Newtonian connection is very strongly marked. All the ancient fathers, as well as our ¢rst Reformers, are copious in representing the weakness and uncertainty of mere human reason. Nothing farther is in the case. Er versucht zu zeigen, dass das menschliche Handeln einerseits kausal determiniert ist, und dass wir andererseits dennoch frei sind. On the contrary, from observing the variety of conduct in different men, we are enabled to form a greater variety of maxims, which still suppose a degree of uniformity and regularity.
That the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the squares of the other two sides, cannot be known, let the terms be ever so exactly de¢ned, without a train of reasoning and enquiry. A statuary is a sculptor. They may even prove useful, by exciting curiosity, and destroying that implicit faith and security, which is the bane of all reasoning and free enquiry. Sight or feeling conveys an idea of the actual motion of bodies; but as to that wonderful force or power, which would carry on a moving body for ever in a continued change of place, and which bodies never lose but by communicating it to others; of this we cannot form the most distant conception. If you tell me, that any person is in love, I easily understandyour meaning, and form a just conception of his situation; but never can mistake that conception for the real disorders and agitations of the passion.
Utrumque, qui interfuere, nunc quoque memorant, postquam nullum mendacio pretium. Es scheint, als gäbe es nun genau zwei Positionen, die man vertreten könne: Die Lehre, dass menschliches Entscheiden und Handeln vorherbestimmt sei, den so genannten Determinismus, und die Lehre, dass sie frei seien, den Indeterminismus. And if we can go no farther than this mental geography, or delineation of the distinct parts and powers of the mind, it is at least a satisfaction to go so far; and the more obvious this science may appear and it is by no means obvious the more contemptible still must the ignorance of it be esteemed, in all pretenders to learning and philosophy. I must also confess that, though all the learned, for several ages, should have employed themselves in fruitless search upon any subject, it may still, perhaps, be rash to conclude positively that the subject must, therefore, pass all human comprehension. While the latter employs all the richest colours of his art, and gives his figures the most graceful and engaging airs; he must still carry his attention to the inward structure of the human body, the position of the muscles, the fabric of the bones, and the use and figure of every part or organ.
The only method of undeceiving us is to mount up higher; to examine the narrow extent of science when applied to material causes; and to convince ourselves that all we know of them is the constant conjunction and inference above mentioned. However, left to ¢nd his path through his own reading, he developed a passion for philosophy and literature. Whatever veri¢es or justi¢es superstition. Some events are found, in all countries and all ages, to have been constantly conjoined together: Others are found to have been more variable, and sometimes to disappoint our expectations; so that, in our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. Let us, then, take in the whole compass of this doctrine, and allow, that the sentiment of belief is nothing but a conception more intense and steady than what attends the mere fictions of the imagination, and that this manner of conception arises from a customary conjunction of the object with something present to the memory or senses: I believe that it will not be difficult, upon these suppositions, to find other operations of the mind analogous to it, and to trace up these phenomena to principles still more general. Happy, if we can unite the boundaries of the different species of philosophy, by reconciling profound enquiry with clearness, and truth with novelty! There is no enthusiasm21 among philosophers; their doctrines are not very alluring to the people; and no restraint can be put upon their reasonings, but what must be of dangerous consequence to the sciences, and even to the state, by paving the way for persecution and oppression in points, where the generality of mankind are more deeply interested and concerned.