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History Of Modern Philosophy by Richard Falckenberg

Part 4 out of 13

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by the ancient atomists, revived by Galileo and Descartes on the threshold
of the modern period, retained by Locke, and still customary in the natural
science of the day--forms an important link in the transition from the
popular view of all sense-qualities as properties of things in themselves
to Kant's position, that spatial and temporal qualities also belong
to phenomena alone, and are based merely on man's subjective mode of
apprehension, while the real properties of things in themselves are

Thus far the procedure of the understanding has been purely passive. But
besides the capacity for passively receiving simple ideas, it possesses the
further power of variously combining and extending these original ideas
which have come into it from without, of working over the material given
in sensation by the combination, relation, and separation of its various
elements. In this it is active, but not creative. It is not able to form
new simple ideas (and just as little to destroy such as already exist), but
only freely to combine the elements furnished without its assistance by
perception (or, following the figure mentioned above, to combine into
syllables and words the separate letters of sensation). Complex ideas arise
from simple ideas through voluntary combination of the latter.

Perception is the first step toward knowledge. After perception the most
indispensable faculty is retention, the prolonged consciousness of present
ideas and the revival of those which have disappeared, or, as it were, have
been put aside. For an idea to be "in the memory" means that the mind
has the capacity to reproduce it at will, whereupon it recognizes it as
previously experienced. If our ideas are not freshened up from time to time
by new impressions of the same sort they gradually fade out, until finally
(as the idea of color in one become blind in early life) they completely
disappear. Ideas impressed upon the mind by frequent repetition are rarely
entirely lost. Memory is the basis for the intellectual functions of
discernment and comparison, of composition, abstraction, and naming. Since,
amid the innumerable multitude of ideas, it is not possible to assign to
each one a definite sign, the indispensable condition of language is found
in the power of abstraction, that is, in the power of generalizing ideas,
of compounding many ideas into one, and of indicating by the names of the
general ideas, or of the classes and species, the particular ideas also
which are contained under these. Here is the great distinction between
man and the brute. The brute lacks language because he lacks (not all
understanding whatever, _e.g._, not a capacity, though an imperfect one, of
comparison and composition, but) the faculty of abstraction and of forming
general ideas. The object of language is simply the quick and easy
communication of our thoughts to others, not to give expression to the real
essence of objects. Words are not names for particular things, but signs
of general ideas; and _abstracta_ nothing more than an artifice for
facilitating intellectual intercourse. This abbreviation, which aids in
the exchange of ideas, involves the danger that the creations of the mind
denoted by words will be taken for images of real general essences, of
which, in fact, there are none in existence, but only particular things. In
order to prevent anyone to whom I am speaking from understanding my words
in a different sense from the one intended, it is necessary for me to
define the complex ideas by analyzing them into their elements, and, on the
other hand, to give examples in experience of the simple ideas, which do
not admit of definition, or to explain them by synonyms. Thus much from
Locke's philosophy of language, to which he devotes the third book of the

Complex ideas, which are very numerous, may be divided into three classes:
Modes, Substances, and Relations.

_Modes_ (states, conditions) are such combinations of simple ideas which do
not "contain in them the supposition of subsisting by themselves, but are
considered as dependencies on, or affections of substances." They fall into
two classes according as they are composed of the same simple ideas, or
simple ideas of various kinds; the former are called simple, the latter
mixed, modes. Under the former class belong, for example, a dozen or a
score, the idea of which is composed of simple units; under the latter,
running, fighting, obstinacy, printing, theft, parricide. The formation of
_mixed_ modes is greatly influenced by national customs. Very complicated
transactions (sacrilege, triumph, ostracism), if often considered and
discussed, receive for the sake of brevity comprehensive names, which
cannot be rendered by a single expression in the language of other
nations among whom the custom in question is not found. The elements most
frequently employed in the formation of mixed modes are ideas of the two
fundamental activities, thinking and motion, together with power, which is
their source. Locke discusses _simple_ modes in more detail, especially
those derived from the ideas of space, time, unity, and power.
Modifications of space are distance, figure, place, length; since any
length or measure of space can be repeated to infinity, we reach the idea
of immensity. As modes of time are enumerated succession (which we perceive
and measure only by the flow of our ideas), duration, and lengths or
measures of duration, the endless repetition of which yields the idea of
eternity. From unity are developed the modes of numbers, and from the
unlimitedness of these the idea of infinity. No idea, however, is richer
in modes than the idea of power. A distinction must be made between active
power and passive power, or mere receptivity. While bodies are not capable
of originating motion, but only of communicating motion received, we notice
in ourselves, as spiritual beings, the capacity of originating actions and
motions. The body possesses only the passive power of being moved, the mind
the active power of producing motion. This latter is termed "will." Here
Locke discusses at length the freedom of the will, but not with entire
clearness and freedom from contradictions (cf. below).

Modes are conditions which do not subsist of themselves, but have need of
a basis or support; they are not conceivable apart from a thing whose
properties or states they are. We notice that certain qualities always
appear together, and habitually refer them to a substratum as the ground of
their unity; in which they subsist or from which they proceed. _Substance_
denotes this self-existent "we know not what," which has or bears the
attributes in itself, and which arouses the ideas of them in us. It is the
combination of a number of simple ideas which are presumed to belong to one
thing. From the ideas of sensation the understanding composes the idea of
body, and from the ideas of reflection that of mind. Each of these is just
as clear and just as obscure as the other; of each we know only its effects
and its sensuous properties; its essence is for us entirely unknowable.
Instead of the customary names, material and immaterial substances,
Locke recommends cogitative and incogitative substances, since it is not
inconceivable that the Creator may have endowed some material beings with
the capacity of thought. God,--the idea of whom is attained by uniting the
ideas of existence, power, might, knowledge, and happiness with that of
infinity,--is absolutely immaterial, because not passive, while finite
spirits (which are both active and passive) are perhaps only bodies which
possess the power of thinking.

While the ideas of substances are referred to a reality without the mind as
their archetype, to which they are to conform and which they should image
and represent, _Relations_ (_e.g._, husband, greater) are free and immanent
products of the understanding. They are not copies of real things, but
represent themselves alone, are their own archetypes. We do not ask whether
they agree with things, but, conversely, whether things agree with them
(Book iv. 4.5). The mind reaches an idea of relation by placing two things
side by side and comparing them. If it perceives that a thing, or a
quality, or an idea begins to exist through the operation of some other
thing, it derives from this the idea of the causal relation, which is the
most comprehensive of all relations, since all that is actual or possible
can be brought under it. _Cause_ is that which makes another thing to begin
to be; _effect_, that which had its beginning from some other thing. The
production of a new quality is termed alteration; of artificial things,
making; of a living being, generation; of a new particle of matter,
creation. Next in importance is the relation of _identity and diversity_.
Since it is impossible for a thing to be in two different places at the
same time and for two things to be at the same time in the same place,
everything that at a given instant is in a given place is identical with
itself, and, on the other hand, distinct from everything else (no matter
how great the resemblance between them) that at the same moment exists in
another place. Space and time therefore form the _principium
individuationis_. By what marks, however, may we recognize the identity of
an individual at different times and in different places? The identity of
inorganic matter depends on the continuity of the mass of atoms which
compose it; that of living beings upon the permanent organization of
their parts (different bodies are united into _one_ animal by a common
life); personal identity consists in the unity of self-consciousness, not
in the continuity of bodily existence (which is at once excluded by the
change of matter). The identity of the person or the ego must be carefully
distinguished from that of substance and of man. It would not be impossible
for the person to remain the same in a change of substances, in so far as
the different beings (for instance, the souls of Epicurus and Gassendi)
participated in the same self-consciousness; and, conversely, for a spirit
to appear in two persons by losing the consciousness of its previous
existence. Consciousness is the sole condition of the self, or personal
identity.--The determinations of space and time are for the most part
relations. Our answers to the questions "When?" "How long?" "How large?"
denote the distance of one point of time from another (_e.g._, the birth of
Christ), the relation of one duration to another (of a revolution of the
sun), the relation of one extension to another well-known one taken as a
standard. Many apparently positive ideas and words, as young and old, large
and small, weak and strong, are in fact relative. They imply merely the
relation of a given duration of life, of a given size and strength, to that
which has been adopted as a standard for the class of things in question. A
man of twenty is called young, but a horse of like age, old; and neither of
these measures of time applies to stars or diamonds. Moral relations, which
are based on a comparison of man's voluntary actions with one of the three
moral laws, will be discussed below.

The inquiry now turns from the origin of ideas to their _cognitive value_
or their _validity_, beginning (in the concluding chapters of the second
book) with the accuracy of single ideas, and advancing (in Book iv., which
is the most important in the whole work) to the truth of judgments. An idea
is real when it conforms to its archetype, whether this is a thing, real
or possible, or an idea of some other thing; it is adequate when the
conformity is complete. The idea of a four-sided triangle or of brave
cowardice is unreal or fantastical, since it is composed of incompatible
elements, and the idea of a centaur, since it unites simple ideas in a
way in which they do not occur in nature. The layman's ideas of law or of
chemical substances are real, but inadequate, since they have a general
resemblance to those of experts, and a basis in reality, but yet only
imperfectly represent their archetypes. Nay, further, our ideas of
substances are all inadequate, not only when they are taken for
representations of the inner essences of things (since we do not know these
essences), but also when they are considered merely as collections of
qualities. The copy never includes all the qualities of the thing, the less
so since the majority of these are powers, _i.e._, consist in relations to
other objects, and since it is impossible, even in the case of a single
body, to discover all the changes which it is fitted to impart to, or
to receive from, other substances. Ideas of modes and relations are all
adequate, for they are their own archetypes, are not intended to represent
anything other than themselves, are images without originals. An idea of
this kind, however, though perfect when originally formed, may become
imperfect through the use of language, when it is unsuccessfully intended
to agree with the idea of some other person and denominated by a current
term. In the case of mixed modes and their names, therefore, the
compatibility of their elements and the possible existence of their objects
are not enough to secure their reality and their complete adequacy; in
order to be adequate they must, further, exactly conform to the meaning
connected with their names by their author, or in common use. Simple
ideas are best off, according to Locke, in regard both to reality and to
adequacy. For the most part, it is true, they are not accurate copies of
the real qualities, of things, but only the regular effects of the powers
of things. But although real qualities are thus only the causes and not
the patterns of sensations, still simple ideas, by their constant
correspondence with real qualities, sufficiently fulfill their divinely
ordained end, to serve us as instruments of knowledge, _i.e._, in the
discrimination of things.--An unreal and inadequate idea becomes false only
when it is referred to an object, whether this be the existence of a thing,
or its true essence, or an idea of other things. Truth and error belong
always to affirmations or negations, that is, to (it may be, tacit)
propositions. Ideas uncombined, unrelated, apart from judgments, ideas,
that is, as mere phenomena in the mind, are neither true nor false.

Knowledge is defined as the "perception of the connexion and agreement, or
disagreement and repugnancy" of two ideas; truth, as "the right joining or
separating of signs, _i.e._, ideas or words." The object of knowledge
is neither single ideas nor the relations of ideas to things, but the
_relations of ideas among themselves_. This view was at once paradoxical
and pregnant. If all cognition, as Locke suggests in objection to his own
theory, consists in perceiving the agreement or disagreement of our ideas,
are not the visions of the enthusiast and the reasonings of sober thinkers
alike certain? are not the propositions, A fairy is not a centaur, and a
centaur is a living being, just as true as that a circle is not a triangle,
and that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles?
The mind directly perceives nothing but its own ideas, but it seeks a
knowledge of things! If this is possible it can only be indirect
knowledge--the mind knows things through its ideas, and possesses criteria
which show that its ideas agree with things.

Two cases must be clearly distinguished, for a considerable number of our
ideas, viz., all complex ideas except those of substances, make no claim
to represent things, and consequently cannot represent them falsely. For
mathematical and moral ideas and principles, and the truth thereof, it is
entirely immaterial whether things and conditions correspondent to them
exist in nature or not. They are valid, even if nowhere actualized; they
are "eternal truths," not in the sense that they are known from childhood,
but in the sense that, as soon as known, they are immediately assented
to.[1] The case is different, however, with simple ideas and the ideas of
substances, which have their originals without the mind and which are to
correspond with these. In regard to the former we may always be certain
that they agree with real things, for since the mind can neither
voluntarily originate them (_e.g._, cannot produce sensations of color
in the dark) nor avoid having them at will, but only receive them from
without, they are not creatures of the fancy, but the natural and regular
productions of external things affecting us. In regard to the latter, the
ideas of substances, we may be certain at least when the simple ideas which
compose them have been found so connected in experience. Perception has
an external cause, whose influence the mind is not able to withstand. The
mutual corroboration furnished by the reports of the different senses, the
painfulness of certain sensations, the clear distinction between ideas from
actual perception and those from memory, the possibility of producing and
predicting new sensations of an entirely definite nature in ourselves and
in others, by means of changes which we effect in the external world (e.g.
by writing down a word)--these give further justification for the trust
which we put in the senses. No one will be so skeptical as to doubt in
earnest the existence of the things which he sees and touches, and to
declare his whole life to be a deceptive dream. The certitude which
perception affords concerning the existence of external objects is indeed
not an absolute one, but it is sufficient for the needs of life and the
government of our actions; it is "as certain as our happiness or misery,
beyond which we have no concernment, either of knowing or being." In regard
to the past the testimony of the senses is supplemented by memory, in
which certainty [in regard to the continued existence of things previously
perceived] is transformed into high probability; while in regard to the
existence of other finite spirits, numberless kinds of which may be
conjectured to exist, though their existence is quite beyond our powers of
perception, certitude sinks into mere (though well-grounded) faith.

[Footnote 1: Thus it results that knowledge, although dependent on
experience for all its materials, extends beyond experience. The
understanding is completely bound in the reception of simple ideas; less so
in the combination of these into complex ideas; absolutely free in the act
of comparison, which it can omit at will; finally, again, completely bound
in its recognition of the relation in which the ideas it has chosen
to compare stand to one another. There is room for choice only in the
intermediate stage of the cognitive process; at the beginning (in the
reception of the simple ideas of perception, a, b, c, d), and at the end
(in judging how the concepts a b c and a b d stand related to each other),
the understanding is completely determined.]

More certain than our _sensitive_ knowledge of the existence of external
objects, are our immediate or _intuitive_ knowledge of our own existence
and our mediate or _demonstrative_ knowledge of the existence of God.
Every idea that we have, every pain, every thought assures us of our own
existence. The existence of God, however, as the infinite cause of all
reality, endowed with intelligence, will, and supreme power, is inferred
from the existence and constitution of the world and of ourselves. Reality
exists; the real world is composed of matter in motion and thinking beings,
and is harmoniously ordered. Since it is impossible for any real being to
be produced by nothing, and since we obtain no satisfactory answer to the
question of origin until we rise to something existent from all eternity,
we must assume as the cause of that which exists an Eternal Being, which
possesses in a higher degree all the perfections which it has bestowed upon
the creatures. As the cause of matter and motion, and as the source of all
power, this Being must be omnipotent; as the cause of beauty and order in
the world, and, above all, as the creator of thinking beings, it must be
omniscient. But these perfections are those which we combine in the idea
of God.

Intuitive knowledge is the highest of the three degrees of knowledge. It is
gained when the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas
at first sight, without hesitation, and without the intervention of any
third idea. This immediate knowledge is self-evident, irresistible, and
exposed to no doubt. Knowledge is demonstrative when the mind perceives the
agreement (or disagreement) of two ideas, not by placing them side by side
and comparing them, but through the aid of other ideas. The intermediate
links are called proofs; their discovery is the work of the reason, and
quickness in finding them out is termed sagacity. The greater the number
of the intermediate steps, the more the clearness and distinctness of the
knowledge decreases, and the more the possibility of error increases.
In order for an argument (_e. g_., that a = d) to be conclusive, every
particular step in it (a = b, b = c, c = d) must possess intuitive
certainty. Mathematics is not the only example of demonstrative knowledge,
but the most perfect one, since in mathematics, by the aid of visible
symbols, the full equality and the least differences among ideas may be
exactly measured and sharply determined.

Besides real existence Locke, unsystematically enough, enumerates three
other sorts of agreement between ideas,--in the perception of which he
makes knowledge consist,--viz., identity or diversity (blue is not yellow),
relation (when equals are added to equals the results are equal), and
coexistence or necessary connexion (gold is fixed). We are best off in
regard to the knowledge of the first of these, "identity or diversity," for
here our intuition extends as far as our ideas, since we recognize every
idea, as soon as it arises, as identical with itself and different from
others. We are worst off in regard to "necessary connexion." We know
something, indeed, concerning the incompatibility or coexistence of certain
properties (_e. g_., that the same object cannot have two different sizes
or colors at the same time; that figure cannot exist apart from extension):
but it is only in regard to a few qualities and powers of bodies that we
are able to discover dependence and necessary connexion by intuitive or
demonstrative thought, while in most cases we are dependent on experience,
which gives us information concerning particular cases only, and affords no
guarantee that things are the same beyond the sphere of our observation and
experiment. Since empirical inquiry furnishes no certain and universal
knowledge, and since the assumption that like bodies will in the same
circumstances have like effects is only a conjecture from analogy, natural
science in the strict sense does not exist. Both mathematics and ethics,
however, belong in the sphere of the demonstrative knowledge of relations.
The principles of ethics are as capable of exact demonstration as those of
arithmetic and geometry, although their underlying ideas are more complex,
more involved, hence more exposed to misunderstanding, and lacking in
visible symbols; though these defects can, and should, in part be made good
by careful and strictly consistent definitions. Such moral principles as
"where there is no property there is no injustice," or "no government
allows absolute liberty," are as certain as any proposition in Euclid.

The advantage of the mathematical and moral sciences over the physical
sciences consists in the fact that, in the former, the real and nominal
essences of their objects coincide, while in the latter they do not; and,
further, that the real essences of substances are beyond our knowledge. The
true inner constitution of bodies, the root whence all their qualities, and
the coexistence of these, necessarily proceed, is completely unknown to us;
so that we are unable to deduce them from it. Mathematical and moral ideas,
on the other hand, and their relations, are entirely accessible, for they
are the products of our own voluntary operations. They are not copied from
things, but are archetypal for reality and need no confirmation from
experience. The connexion constituted by our understanding between the
ideas crime and punishment _(e. g_., the proposition: crime deserves
punishment) is valid, even though no crime had ever been committed, and
none ever punished. Existence is not at all involved in universal
propositions; "general knowledge lies only in our own thoughts, and
consists barely in the contemplation of our own abstract ideas" and their
relations. The truths of mathematics and ethics are both universal and
certain, while in natural science single observations and experiments are
certain, but not general, and general propositions are only more or less
probable. Both the particular experiments and the general conclusions are
of great value under certain circumstances, but they do not meet the
requirements of comprehensive and certain knowledge.

The _extent_ of our knowledge is very limited--much less, in fact, than
that of our ignorance. For our knowledge reaches no further than our ideas,
and the possibility of perceiving their agreements. Many things exist of
which we have no ideas--chiefly because of the fewness of our senses and
their lack of acuteness--and just as many of which our ideas are only
imperfect. Moreover, we are often able neither to command the ideas
which we really possess, or at least might attain, nor to perceive their
connexions. The ideas which are lacking, those which are undiscoverable,
those which are not combined, are the causes of the narrow limits of human

There are two ways by which knowledge may be extended: by experience, on
the one hand, and, on the other, by the elevation of our ideas to a state
of clearness and distinctness, together with the discovery and systematic
arrangement of those intermediate ideas which exhibit the relation of other
ideas, in themselves not immediately comparable. The syllogism, as an
artificial form, is of little value in the perception of the agreements
between these intermediate and final terms, and of none whatever in the
discovery of the former. Analytical and identical propositions which merely
explicate the conception of the subject, but express nothing not already
known, are, in spite of their indefeasible certitude, valueless for the
extension of knowledge, and when taken for more than verbal explanations,
mere absurdities. Even those most general propositions, those "principles"
which are so much talked of in the schools, lack the utility which is so
commonly ascribed to them. Maxims are, it is true, fit instruments for the
communication of knowledge already acquired, and in learned disputations
may perform indispensable service in silencing opponents, or in bringing
the dispute to a conclusion; but they are of little or no use in the
discovery of new truth. It is a mistake to believe that special cases (as
5 = 2 + 3, or 5 = 1 + 4) are dependent on the truth of the abstract rule
(the whole is equal to the sum of its parts), that they are confirmed by
it and must be derived from it. The particular and concrete is not only
as clear and certain as the general maxim, but better known than this,
as well as earlier and more easily perceived. Nay, further, in cases
where ideas are confused and the meanings of words doubtful, the use of
axioms is dangerous, since they may easily lend the appearance of proved
truth to assertions which are really contradictory.

Between the clear daylight of certain knowledge and the dark night of
absolute ignorance comes the twilight of probability. We find ourselves
dependent on _opinion_ and presumption, or judgment based upon probability,
when experience and demonstration leave us in the lurch and we are,
nevertheless, challenged to a decision by vital needs which brook no delay.
The judge and the historian must convince themselves from the reports of
witnesses concerning events which they have not themselves observed; and
everyone is compelled by the interests of life, of duty, and of eternal
salvation to form conclusions concerning things which lie beyond the limits
of his own perception and reflective thought, nay, which transcend all
human experience and rigorous demonstration whatever. To delay decision and
action until absolute certainty had been attained, would scarcely allow
us to lift a single finger. In cases concerning events in the past, the
future, or at a distance, we rely on the testimony of others (testing their
reports by considering their credibility as witnesses and the conformity of
the evidence to general experience in like cases); in regard to questions
concerning that which is absolutely beyond experience, _e.g._, higher
orders of spirits, or the ultimate causes of natural phenomena, analogy is
the only help we have. If the witnesses conflict among themselves, or with
the usual course of nature, the grounds _pro_ and _con_ must be carefully
balanced; frequently, however, the degree of probability attained is so
great that our assent is almost equivalent to complete certainty. No
one doubts,--although it is impossible for him to "know,"--that Caesar
conquered Pompey, that gold is ductile in Australia as elsewhere, that iron
will sink to-morrow as well as to-day. Thus opinion supplements the lack of
certain knowledge, and serves as a guide for belief and action, wherever
the general lot of mankind or individual circumstances prevent absolute

Although in this twilight region of opinion demonstrative proofs are
replaced merely by an "occasion" for "taking" a given fact or idea "as true
rather than false," yet assent is by no means an act of choice, as the
Cartesians had erroneously maintained, for in knowledge it is determined by
clearly discerned reasons, and in the sphere of opinion, by the balance of
probability. The understanding is free only in combining ideas, not in its
judgment concerning the agreement or the repugnancy of the ideas compared;
it lies within its own power to decide whether it will judge at all, and
what ideas it will compare, but it has no control over the result of the
comparison; it is impossible for it to refuse its assent to a demonstrated
truth or a preponderant probability.

In this recognition of objective and universally valid relations existing
among ideas, which the thinking subject, through comparisons voluntarily
instituted, discovers valid or finds given, but which it can neither alter
nor demur to, Locke abandons empirical ground (cf. p. 155) and approaches
the idealists of the Platonizing type. His inquiry divides into two very
dissimilar parts (a psychological description of the origin of ideas and a
logical determination of the possibility and the extent of knowledge), the
latter of which is, in Locke's opinion, compatible with the former, but
which could never have been developed from it. The rationalistic edifice
contradicts the sensationalistic foundation. Locke had hoped to show the
value and the limits of knowledge by an inquiry into the origin of ideas,
but his estimate of this value and these limits cannot be proved from the
_a posteriori_ origin of ideas--it can only be maintained in despite of
this, and stands in need of support from some (rationalistic) principle
elsewhere obtained. Thinkers who trace back all simple ideas to outer and
inner perception we expect to reject every attempt to extend knowledge
beyond the sphere of experience, to declare the combinations of ideas
which have their origin in sensation trustworthy, and those which are
formed without regard to perception, illusory; or else, with Protagoras,
to limit knowledge to the individual perceiving subject, with a consequent
complete denial of its general validity. But exactly the opposite of all
these is found in Locke. The remarkable spectacle is presented of a
philosopher who admits no other sources of ideas than perception and the
voluntary combination of perceptions, transcending the limits of experience
with proofs of the divine existence, viewing with suspicion the ideas of
substance formed at the instance of experience, and reducing natural
science to the sphere of mere opinion; while, on the other hand, he
ascribes reality and eternal validity to the combinations of ideas formed
independently of perception, which are employed by mathematics and ethics,
and completely abandons the individualistic position in his naïve faith in
the impregnable validity of the relations of ideas, which is evident to all
who turn their attention to them. The ground for the universal validity of
the relations among ideas as well as of our knowledge of them, naturally
lies not in their empirical origin (for my experience gives information to
me alone, and that only concerning the particular case in question), but in
the uniformity of man's rational constitution. If two men really have the
same ideas--not merely think they have because they use similar
language--it is impossible, according to Locke, that they should hold
different opinions concerning the relation of their ideas. With this
conviction, that the universal validity of knowledge is rooted in the
uniformity of man's rational constitution, and the further one, that we
attain certain knowledge only when things conform to our ideas, Locke
closely approaches Kant; while his assumption of a fixed order of relations
among ideas, which the individual understanding cannot refuse to recognize,
and the typical character assigned to mathematics, associate him with
Malebranche and Spinoza. In view of these points of contact with the
rationalistic school and his manifold dependence on its founder, we may
venture the paradox, that Locke may not only be termed a Baconian with
Cartesian leanings, but (almost) a Cartesian influenced by Bacon. The
possibility must not be forgotten, however, that rationalistic suggestions
came to him also from Galileo, Hobbes, and Newton.[1]

[Footnote 1: Cf. the article by Benno Erdmann cited p. 156, note.]

Intermediate between knowledge and opinion stands faith as a form of assent
which is based on testimony rather than on deductions of the reason,
but whose certitude is not inferior to that of knowledge, since it is a
communication from God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Faith
and the certainty thereof depend on reason, in so far as reason alone can
determine whether a divine revelation has really been made and the meaning
of the words in which the revelation has come down to us. In determining
the boundaries of faith and reason Locke makes use of the
distinction--which has become famous--between things above reason,
according to reason, and contrary to reason. Our conviction that God exists
is according to reason; the belief that there are more gods than one, or
that a body can be in two different places at the same time, contrary
to reason; the former is a truth which can be demonstrated on rational
grounds, the latter an assumption incompatible with our clear and distinct
ideas. In the one case revelation confirms a proposition of which we
were already certain; in the other an alleged revelation is incapable
of depriving our certain knowledge of its force. Above reason are those
principles whose probability and truth cannot be shown by the natural use
of our faculties, as that the dead shall rise again and the account of the
fall of part of the angels. Among the things which are not contrary to
reason belong miracles, for they contradict opinion based on the usual
course of nature, it is true, but not our certain knowledge; in spite of
their supernatural character they deserve willing acceptance, and receive
it, when they are well attested, whereas principles contrary to reason must
be unconditionally rejected as a revelation from God. Locke's demand for
the subjection of faith to rational criticism assures him an honorable
place in the history of English deism. He enriched the philosophy of
religion by two treatises of his own: _The Reasonableness of Christianity_,
1695, and three _Letters on Tolerance_, 1689-1692. The former transfers the
center of gravity of the Christian religion from history to the doctrine of
redemption; the _Letters_ demand religious freedom, mutual tolerance among
the different sects, and the separation of Church and State. Those sects
alone are to receive no tolerance which themselves exercise none, and which
endanger the well-being of society; together with atheists, who are
incapable of taking oaths. In other respects it is the duty of the state to
protect all confessions and to favor none.

%(b) Practical Philosophy.%--Locke contributed to practical philosophy
important suggestions concerning freedom, morality, politics, and
education. Freedom is the "power to begin or forbear, continue or put an
end to" actions (thoughts and motions). It is not destroyed by the fact
that the will is always moved by desire, more exactly, by uneasiness under
present circumstances, and that the decision is determined by the judgment
of the understanding. Although the result of examination is itself
dependent on the unalterable relations of ideas, it is still in our power
to decide whether we will consider at all, and what ideas we will take into
consideration. Not the thought, not the determination of the will, is free,
but the person, the mind; this has the power to suspend the prosecution of
desire, and by its judgment to determine the will, even in opposition
to inclination. Four stages must, consequently, be distinguished in the
volitional process: desire or uneasiness; the deliberative combination of
ideas; the judgment of the understanding; determination. Freedom has its
place at the beginning of the second stage: it is open to me to decide
whether to proceed at all to consideration and final judgment concerning a
proposed action; thus to prevent desire from directly issuing in movements;
and, according to the result of my examination, perhaps, to substitute for
the act originally desired an opposite one. Without freedom, moral judgment
and responsibility would be impossible. The above appears to us to
represent the essence of Locke's often vacillating discussion of freedom
(II. 21). Desire is directed to pleasure; the will obeys the understanding,
which is exalted above motives of pleasure and the passions. Everything is
physically good which occasions and increases pleasure in us, which removes
or diminishes pain, or contributes to the attainment of some other good and
the avoidance of some other evil. Actions, on the contrary, are morally
good when they conform to a rule by which they are judged. Whoever
earnestly meditates on his welfare will prefer moral or rational good to
sensuous good, since the former alone vouchsafes true happiness. God has
most intimately united virtue and general happiness, since he has made the
preservation of human society dependent on the exercise of virtue.

The mark of a law for free beings is the fact that it apportions reward for
obedience and punishment for disobedience. The laws to which an action must
conform in order to deserve the predicate "good" are three in number
(II. 28): by the divine law "men judge whether their actions are sins
or duties"; by the civil law, "whether they be criminal or innocent"
(deserving of punishment or not); by the law of opinion or reputation,
"whether they be virtues or vices." The first of these laws threatens
immorality with future misery; the second, with legal punishments; the
third, with the disapproval of our fellow-men.

The third law, the law of opinion or reputation, called also philosophical,
coincides on the whole, though not throughout, with the first, the divine
law of nature, which is best expressed in Christianity, and which is the
true touchstone of the moral character of actions. While Locke, in his
polemic against innate ideas, had emphasized the diversity of moral
judgments among individuals and nations (as a result of which an action is
condemned in one place and praised as virtuous in another), he here gives
prominence to the fact of general agreement in essentials, since it is only
natural that each should encourage by praise and esteem that which is to
his advantage, while virtue evidently conduces to the good of all who
come into contact with the virtuous. Amid the greatest diversity of moral
judgments virtue and praise, vice and blame, go together, while in general
that is praised which is really praiseworthy--even the vicious man approves
the right and condemns that which is faulty, at least in others. Locke was
the first to call attention to general approval as an external mark of
moral action, a hint which the Scottish moralists subsequently exploited.
The objection that he reduced morality to the level of the conventional is
unjust, for the law of opinion and reputation did not mean for him the
true principle of morality, but only that which controls the majority of
mankind--If anyone is inclined to doubt that commendation and disgrace are
sufficient motives to action, he does not understand mankind; there is
hardly one in ten thousand insensible enough to endure in quiet the
constant disapproval of society. Even if the lawbreaker hopes to escape
punishment at the hands of the state, and puts out of mind the thought of
future retribution, he can never escape the disapproval of his misdeeds
on the part of his fellows. In entire harmony with these views is Locke's
advice to educators, that they should early cultivate the love of esteem in
their pupils.

Of the four principles of morals which Locke employs side by side, and in
alternation, without determining their exact relations--the reason, the
will of God, the general good (and, deduced from this, the approval of
our fellow-men), self-love--the latter two possess only an accessory
significance, while the former two co-operate in such a way that the one
determines the content of the good and the other confirms it and gives
it binding authority. The Christian religion does the reason a threefold
service--it gives her information concerning our duty, which she could have
reached herself, indeed, without the help of revelation, but not with
the same certitude and rapidity; it invests the good with the majesty of
absolute obligation by proclaiming it as the command of God; it increases
the motives to morality by its doctrines of immortality and future
retribution. Although Locke thus intimately joins virtue with earthly joy
and eternal happiness, and although he finds in the expectation of heaven
or hell a welcome support for the will in its conflict with the passions,
we must remember that he values this regard for the results and rewards of
virtue only as a subsidiary motive, and does not esteem it as in itself
ethical: eternal happiness forms, as it were, the "dowry" of virtue,
which adds to its true value in the eyes of fools and the weak, though it
constitutes neither its essence nor its basis. Virtue seems to the wise man
beautiful and valuable enough even without this, and yet the commendations
of philosophers gain for her but few wooers. The crowd is attracted to her
only when it is made clear to it that virtue is the "best policy."

In politics Locke is an opponent of both forms of absolutism, the despotic
absolutism of Hobbes and the patriarchal absolutism of Filmer (died 1647;
his _Patriarcha_ declared hereditary monarchy a divine institution), and
a moderate exponent of the liberal tendencies of Milton (1608-74) and
Algernon Sidney (died 1683; _Discourses concerning Government_). The two
_Treatises on Civil Government_, 1690, develop, the first negatively, the
second positively, the constitutional theory with direct reference to the
political condition of England at the time. All men are born free and with
like capacities and rights. Each is to preserve his own interests, without
injuring those of others. The right to be treated by every man as a
rational being holds even prior to the founding of the state; but then
there is no authoritative power to decide conflicts. The state of nature is
not in itself a state of war, but it would lead to this, if each man should
himself attempt to exercise the right of self-protection against injury. In
order to prevent acts of violence there is needed a civil community, based
on a free contract, to which each individual member shall transfer his
freedom and power. Submission to the authority of the state is a free act,
and, by the contract made, natural rights are guarded, not destroyed;
political freedom is obedience to self-imposed law, subordination to the
common will expressing itself in the majority. The political power is
neither tyrannical, for arbitrary rule is no better than the state of
nature, nor paternal, for rulers and subjects are on an equality in the use
of the reason, which is not the case with parents and children. The
supreme power is the legislative, intrusted by the community to its chosen
representatives--the laws should aim at the general good. Subordinate
to the legislative power, and to be kept separate from it, come the two
executing powers, which are best united in a single hand (the king), viz.,
the executive power (administrative and judicial), which carries the laws
into effect, and the federative power, which defends the community against
external foes. The ruler is subject to the law. If the government, through
violation of the law, has become unworthy of the power intrusted to it, and
has forfeited it, sovereign authority reverts to the source whence it
was derived, that is, to the people. The people decides whether its
representatives and the monarch have deserved the confidence placed in
them, and has the right to depose them, if they exceed their authority. As
the sworn obedience (of the subjects) is to the law alone, the ruler who
acts contrary to law has lost the right to govern, has put himself in a
state of hostility to the people, and revolution becomes merely necessary
defense against aggression.

Montesquieu made these political ideas of Locke the common property of
Europe.[1] Rousseau did a like service for Locke's pedagogical views, given
in the modest but important _Thoughts concerning Education_, 1693. The
aim of education should not be to instill anything into the pupil, but to
develop everything from him; it should guide and not master him, should
develop his capacities in a natural way, should rouse him to independence,
not drill him into a scholar. In order to these ends thorough and
affectionate consideration of his individuality is requisite, and private
instruction is, therefore, to be preferred to public instruction. Since it
is the business of education to make men useful members of society, it must
not neglect their physical development. Learning through play and object
teaching make the child's task a delight; modern languages are to be
learned more by practice than by systematic study. The chief difference
between Locke and Rousseau is that the former sets great value on arousing
the sense of esteem, while the latter entirely rejects this as an
educational instrument.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Theod. Pietsch, _Ueber das Verhältniss der politischen
Theorien Lockes zu Montesquieus Lehre von der Teilung der Gewalten_ Berlin
dissertation, Breslau, 1887.]



Besides the theory of knowledge, which forms the central doctrine in his
system, Locke had discussed the remaining branches of philosophy, though in
less detail, and, by his many-sided stimulation, had posited problems
for the Illumination movement in England and in France. Now the several
disciplines take different courses, but the after-influence of his powerful
mind is felt on every hand. The development of deism from Toland on is
under the direct influence of his "rational Christianity"; the ethics of
Shaftesbury stands in polemic relation to his denial of everything innate;
and while Berkeley and Hume are deducing the consequences of his theory of
knowledge, Hartley derives the impulse to a new form of psychology from his
chapter on the association of ideas.

%1. Natural Philosophy and Psychology.%

In Locke's famous countryman, Isaac Newton (1642-1727),[1] the modern
investigation of nature attains the level toward which it had striven, at
first by wishes and demands, gradually, also, in knowledge and achievement,
since the end of the mediaeval period. Mankind was not able to discard at
a stroke its accustomed Aristotelian view of nature, which animated things
with inner, spirit-like forces. A full century intervened between Telesius
and Newton, the concept of natural law requiring so long a time to break
out of its shell. A tremendous revolution in opinion had to be effected
before Newton could calmly promulgate his great principle, "Abandon
substantial forms and occult qualities and reduce natural phenomena to
mathematical laws," before he could crown the discoveries of Galileo and
Kepler with his own. For this successful union of Bacon's experimental
induction with the mathematical deduction of Descartes, this combination of
the analytic and the synthetic methods, which was shown in the demand
for, and the establishment of, mathematically formulated natural laws,
presupposes that nature is deprived of all inner life [2] and all
qualitative distinctions, that all that exists is compounded of uniformly
acting parts, and that all that takes place is conceived as motion. With
this Hobbes's programme of a mechanical science of nature is fulfilled. The
heavens and the earth are made subject to the same law of gravitation. How
far Newton himself adhered to the narrow meaning of mechanism (motion from
pressure and impulse), is evident from the fact that, though he is often
honored as the creator of the dynamical view of nature, he rejected _actio
in distans_ as absurd, and deemed it indispensable to assume some "cause"
of gravity (consisting, probably, in the impact of imponderable material
particles). It was his disciples who first ventured to proclaim gravity as
the universal force of matter, as the "primary quality of all bodies" (so
Roger Cotes in the preface to the second edition of the _Principia_, 1713).

[Footnote 1: 1669-95 professor of mathematics in Cambridge, later resident
in London; 1672, member, and, 1703, president of the Royal Society. Chief
work, _Philosophic Naturalis Principia Mathematica_, 1687. _Works_, 1779
_seq_. On Newton cf. K. Snell, 1843; Durdik, _Leibniz und Newton_, 1869;
Lange, _History of Materialism_, vol. i. p. 306 _seq_.]

[Footnote 2: That the mathematical view of nature, since it leaves room for
quantitative distinctions alone, is equivalent to an examination of nature
had been clearly recognized by Poiret. As he significantly remarked: The
principles of the Cartesian physics relate merely to the "cadaver" of
nature _(Erud_., p. 260).]

Newton resembles Boyle in uniting profound piety with the rigor of
scientific thought. He finds the most certain proof for the existence of
an intelligent creator in the wonderful arrangement of the world-machine,
which does not need after-adjustment at the hands of its creator, and whose
adaptation he praises as enthusiastically as he unconditionally rejects
the mingling of teleological considerations in the explanation of physical
phenomena. By this "physico-theological" argument he furnishes a welcome
support to deism. While the finite mind perceives in the sensorium of the
brain the images of objects which come to it from the senses, God has all
things in himself, is immediately present in all, and cognizes them without
sense-organs, the expanse of the universe forming his sensorium.

* * * * *

The transfer of mechanical views to psychical phenomena was also
accompanied by the conviction that no danger to faith in God would
result therefrom, but rather that it would aid in its support. The chief
representatives of this movement, which followed the example of Gay,
were the physician, David Hartley[1] (1704-57), and his pupil, Joseph
Priestley,[2] a dissenting minister and natural scientist (born 1733, died
in Philadelphia 1804; the discoverer of oxygen gas, 1774).

The fundamental position of these psychologists is expressed in two
principles: (1) all cognitive and motive life is based on the mechanism of
psychical elements, the highest and most complex inner phenomena (thoughts,
feelings, volitions) are produced by the combination of simple ideas,
that is, they arise through the "association of ideas "; (2) all inner
phenomena, the complex as well as the simple, are accompanied by, or rather
depend on, more or less complicated physical phenomena, viz., nervous
processes and brain vibrations. Although Hartley and Priestley are agreed
in their demand for an associational and physiological treatment of
psychology, and in the attempt to give one, they differ in this, that
Hartley cautiously speaks only of a parallelism, a correspondence between
mental and cerebral processes, and rejects the materialistic interpretation
of inner phenomena, pointing out that the heterogeneity of motion and ideas
forbids the reduction of the latter to the former, and that psychological
analysis never reaches corporeal but only psychical elements. Moreover, it
is only with reluctance that, conscious of the critical character of the
conclusion, he admits the dependence of brain vibrations on the mechanical
laws of the material world and the thoroughgoing determinateness of the
human will, consoling himself with the belief that moral responsibility
nevertheless remains intact. Priestley, on the contrary, boldly avows the
materialistic and deterministic consequences of his position, holds that
psychical phenomena are not merely accompanied by material motions but
consist in them (thought is a function of the brain), and makes psychology,
as the physics of the nerves, a part of physiology. The denial of
immortality and the divine origin of the world is, however, by no means
to follow from materialism. Priestley not only combated the atheism of
Holbach, but also entered the deistic ranks with works of his own on
Natural Religion and the Corruptions of Christianity.

[Footnote 1: Hartley, _Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duties, his
Expectations_. 1749.]

[Footnote 2: Priestley, _Hartley's Theory of the Human Mind on the
Principles of the Association of Ideas_, 1775; _Disquisitions relating to
Matter and Spirit_, 1777; _The Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity_, 1777;
_Free Discussions of the Doctrines of Materialism_, 1778 (against Richard
Price's _Letters on Materialism and Philosophical Necessity_). Cf. on
both Schoenlank's dissertation, _Hartley und Priestley, die Begründer des
Assoziationismus in England_, 1882.]

As early as in Hartley[1] the principle, which is so important for ethics,
appears that things and actions (_e.g._, promotion of the good of others)
which at first are sought and done because they are means to our own
enjoyment, in time come to have a direct worth of their own, apart from the
original egoistic end. James Mill (1829) has repeated this thought in later
times. As fame becomes an immediate object of desire to the ambitious man,
and gold to the miser, so, through association, the impulse toward that
which will secure approval may be transformed into the endeavor after that
which deserves approval.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Jodl, _Geschichte der Ethik_, vol. i. p. 197 _seq_.]

Among later representatives of the Associational school we may mention
Erasmus Darwin _(Zoönomia, or the Laws of Organic Life_, 1794-96).

%2. Deism%.

As Bacon and Descartes had freed natural science, Hobbes, the state, and
Grotius, law from the authority of the Church and had placed them on an
independent basis, _i.e._, the basis of nature and reason, so deism[1]
seeks to free religion from Church dogma and blind historical faith, and to
deduce it from natural knowledge. In so far as deism finds both the source
and the test of true religion in reason, it is rationalism; in so far as it
appeals from the supernatural light of revelation and inspiration to the
natural light of reason, it is naturalism; in so far as revelation and its
records are not only not allowed to restrict rational criticism, but are
made the chief object of criticism, its adherents are freethinkers.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Lechler's _Geschichte des Englischen Deismus_, 1841, which
is rigorously drawn from the sources. [Hunt, _History of Religious Thought
in England_, 1871-73 [1884]; Leslie Stephen, _History of English Thought in
the Eighteenth Century_, 1876 [1880]; Cairns, _Unbelief in the Eighteenth
Century_, 1881.]]

The general principles of deism may be compressed into a few theses. There
is a natural religion, whose essential content is morality; this comprises
not much more than the two maxims, Believe in God and Do your duty.

Positive religions are to be judged by this standard. The elements in them
which are added to natural religion, or conflict with it, are superfluous
and harmful additions, arbitrary decrees of men, the work of cunning rulers
and deceitful priests. Christianity, which in its original form was the
perfect expression of the true religion of reason, has experienced great
corruptions in its ecclesiastical development, from which it must now be

These principles are supported by the following arguments: Truth is one
and there is but one true religion. If the happiness of men depends on the
fulfilment of her commands, these must be comprehensible to every man and
must have been communicated to him; and since a special revelation and
legislation could not come to the knowledge of all, they can be no other
than the laws of duty inscribed on the human heart. In order to salvation,
then, we need only to know God as creator and judge, and to fulfill his
commands, _i.e._. to live a moral life. The one true religion has been
communicated to man in two forms, through the inner natural revelation of
reason, and the outer historical revelation of the Gospel. Since both have
come from God they cannot be contradictory. Accordingly natural religion
and the true one among the positive religions do not differ in their
content, but only in the manner of their promulgation. Reason tries
historical religion by the standard furnished by natural religion, and
distinguishes actual from asserted revelation by the harmony of its
contents with reason: the deist believes in the Bible because of the
reasonableness of its teachings; he does not hold these teachings true
because they are found in the Bible. If a positive religion contains
less than natural religion it is incomplete; if it contains more it is
tyrannical, since it imposes unnecessary requirements. The authority of
reason to exercise the office of a judge in regard to the credibility of
revelation is beyond doubt; indeed, apart from it there is no means of
attaining truth, and the acceptance of an external revelation as genuine,
and not merely as alleged to be such, is possible only for those who have
already been convinced of God's existence by the inner light of reason.

To these logical considerations is added an historical position, which,
though only cursorily indicated at the beginning, is evidenced in
increasing detail as the deistic movement continues on its course. Natural
religion is always and everywhere the same, is universal and necessary, is
perfect, eternal, and original. As original, it is the earliest religion,
and as old as the world; as perfect, it is not capable of improvement, but
only of corruption and restoration. Twice it has existed in perfect purity,
as the religion of the first men and as the religion of Christ. Twice
it has been corrupted, in the pre-Christian period by idolatry, which
proceeded from the Egyptian worship of the dead, in the period after Christ
by the love of miracle and blind reverence for authority. In both cases the
corruption has come from power-loving priests, who have sought to frighten
and control the people by incomprehensible dogmas and ostentations,
mysterious ceremonies, and found their advantage in the superstition of the
multitude,--each new divinity, each new mystery meaning a gain for them. As
they had corrupted the primitive religion into polytheism, so Christianity
was corrupted by conforming it to the prejudices of those to be converted,
in whose eyes the simplicity of the new doctrine would have been no
recommendation for it. The Jew sought in it an echo of the Law, the heathen
longed for his festivals and his occult philosophy; so it was burdened
with unprofitable ceremonial observances and needless profundity, it was
Judaized and heathenized. It was inevitable that the doctrines of original
sin, of satisfaction and atonement should prove especially objectionable to
the purely rational temper of the deists. Neither the guilt of others (the
sin of our ancestors) nor the atonement of others (Christ's death on the
cross) can be imputed to us; Christ can be called the Savior only by way of
metaphor, only in so far as the example of his death leads us on to faith
and obedience for ourselves. The name atheism, which, it is true, orthodoxy
held ready for every belief incorrect according to its standard, was on the
contrary undeserved. The deists did not attack Christian revelation, still
less belief in God. They considered the atheist bereft of reason, and they
by no means esteemed historical revelation superfluous. The end of the
latter was to stir the mind to move men to reflection and conversion, to
transform morals, and if anyone declared it unnecessary because it contains
nothing but natural truths, he was referred to the works of Euclid, which
certainly contain nothing which is not founded in the reason, but which no
one but a fool will consider unnecessary in the study of mathematics.

That which we have here summarized as the general position of deism, gained
gradual expression through the regular development and specialization of
deistic ideas in individual representatives of the movement. The chief
points and epochs were marked by Toland's _Christianity not Mysterious_,
1696; Collins's _Discourse of Freethinking_, 1713; Tindal's _Christianity
as Old as the Creation_, 1730; and Chubb's _True Gospel of Jesus Christ_,
1738. The first of these demands a critique of revelation, the second
defends the right of free investigation, the third declares the religion
of Christ, which is merely a revived natural religion, to be the oldest
religion, the fourth reduces it entirely to moral life.

The deistic movement was called into life by Lord Herbert of Cherbury (pp.
79-80) and continued by Locke, in so far as the latter had intrusted to
reason the discrimination of true from false revelation, and had admitted
in Christianity elements above reason, though not things contrary to
reason. Following Locke, John Toland (1670-1722) goes a step further with
the proof that the Gospel not only contains nothing contrary to reason, but
also nothing above reason, and that no Christian doctrine is to be called
mysterious. To the demand that we should worship what we do not comprehend,
he answers that reason is the only basis of certitude, and alone decides on
the divinity of the Scriptures, by a consideration of their contents. The
motive which impels us to assent to a truth must lie in reason, not in
revelation, which, like all authority and experience, is merely the way by
which we attain the knowledge of the truth; it is a means of instruction,
not a ground of conviction. All faith has knowledge and understanding for
its conditions, and is rational conviction. Before we can put our trust in
the Scriptures, we must be convinced that they were in fact written by the
authors to whom they are ascribed, and must consider whether these men,
their deeds, and their works, were worthy of God. The fact that God's
inmost being is for us inscrutable does not make him a mystery, for even
the common things of nature are known to us only by their properties.
Miracles are also in themselves nothing incomprehensible; they are
simply enhancements of natural laws beyond their ordinary operations, by
supernatural assistance, which God vouchsafes but rarely and only for
extraordinary ends. Toland explains the mysteries smuggled into the ethical
religion of Christianity as due to the toleration of Jewish and heathen
customs, to the entrance of learned speculation, and to the selfish
inventions of the clergy and the rulers. The Reformation itself had not
entirely restored the original purity and simplicity.

Thus far Toland the deist. In his later writings, the five _Letters to
Serena_, 1704, addressed to the Prussian queen, Sophia Charlotte, and
the _Pantheisticon_ (Cosmopoli, 1720), he advances toward a hylozoistic

The first of the Letters discusses the prejudices of mankind; the second,
the heathen doctrine of immortality; the third, the origin of idolatry;
while the fourth and fifth are devoted to Spinoza, the chief defect in
whose philosophy is declared to be the absence of an explanation of motion.
Motion belongs to the notion of matter as necessarily as extension and
impenetrability. Matter is always in motion; rest is only the reciprocal
interference of two moving forces. The differences of things depend on the
various movements of the particles of matter, so that it is motion which
individualizes matter in general into particular things. As the Letters
ascribe the purposive construction of organic beings to a divine reason, so
the _Pantheisticon_ also stops short before it reaches the extreme of naked
materialism. Everything is from the whole; the whole is infinite, one,
eternal, all-rational. God is the force of the whole, the soul of
the world, the law of nature. The treatise includes a liturgy of the
pantheistic society with many quotations from the ancient poets.

Anthony Collins (1676-1729), in his _Discourse of Free-thinking_, shows
the right of free thought _(i. e_., of judgment on rational grounds) in
general, from the principle that no truth is forbidden to us, and that
there is no other way by which we can attain truth and free ourselves from
superstition, and the right to apply it to God and the Bible in particular,
from the fact that the clergy differ concerning the most important matters.
The fear that the differences of opinion which spring from freethinking may
endanger the peace of society lacks foundation; on the contrary, it is
only restriction of the freedom of thought which leads to disorders, by
weakening moral zeal. The clergy are the only ones who condemn liberty of
thought. It is sacrilege to hold that error can be beneficial and truth
harmful. As a proof that freethinking by no means corrupts character,
Collins gives in conclusion a list of noble freethinkers from Socrates down
to Locke and Tillotson. Among the replies to the views of Collins we may
mention the calmly objective Boyle Lectures by Ibbot, and the sharp and
witty letter of Richard Bentley, the philologist. Neither of these attacks
Collins's leading principle, both fully admitting the right to employ the
reason, even in religious questions; but they dispute the implication that
freethinking is equivalent to contentious opposition. On the one hand, they
maintain that Collins's thinking is too free, that is, unbridled, hasty,
presumptuous, and paradoxical; on the other, that it is not free enough
(from prejudice).

After Shaftesbury had based morality on a natural instinct for the
beautiful and had made it independent of religion, as well as served the
cause of free thought by a keenly ironical campaign against enthusiasm and
orthodoxy, and Clarke had furnished the representatives of natural religion
a useful principle of morals in the objective rationality of things, the
debate concerning prophecy and miracles[1] threatened to dissipate the
deistic movement into scattered theological skirmishes. At this juncture
Matthew Tindal (1657-1733) led it back to the main question. His
_Christianity as Old as the Creation_ is the doomsday book of deism.
It contains all that has been given above as the core of this view of
religion. Christ came not to bring in a new doctrine, but to exhort to
repentance and atonement, and to restore the law of nature, which is as old
as the creation, as universal as reason, and as unchangeable as God,
human nature, and the relations of things, which we should respect in our
actions. Religion is morality; more exactly, it is the free, constant
disposition to do as much good as possible, and thereby to promote the
glory of God and our own welfare. For the harmony of our conduct with
the rules of reason constitutes our perfection, and on this depends our
happiness. Since God is infinitely blessed and self-sufficient his purpose
in the moral law is man's happiness alone. Whatever a positive religion
contains beyond the moral law is superstition, which puts emphasis on
worthless trivialities. The true religion occupies the happy mean between
miserable unfaith, on the one hand, and timorous superstition, wild
fanaticism, and pietistical zeal on the other. In proclaiming the
sovereignty of reason in the sphere of religion as well as elsewhere, we
are only openly demanding what our opponents have tacitly acknowledged in
practice _(e. g_.> in allegorical interpretation) from time immemorial. God
has endowed us with reason in order that we should by it distinguish truth
from falsehood.

[Footnote 1: The chief combatant in the conflict over the argument from
prophecy, which was called forth by Whiston's corruption hypothesis,
was Collins _(A Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian
Religion_, 1724). Christianity is based on Judaism; its fundamental article
is that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah of the Jews, its chief proof the
argument from Old Testament prophecy, which, it is true, depends on the
typical or allegorical interpretation of the passages in question. Whoever
rejects this cuts away the ground from under the Christian revelation,
which is only the allegorical import of the revelation of the Jews.--The
second proof of revelation, the argument from miracles, was shaken by
Thomas Woolston _(Six Discourses on the Miracles of our Saviour_, 1727-30),
by his extension of the allegorical interpretation to these also. He
supported himself in this by the authority of the Church Fathers, and,
above all, by the argument that the accounts of the miracles, if taken
literally, contradict all sense and understanding. The unavoidable doubts
which arise concerning the literal interpretation of the resurrection of
the dead, the healing of the sick, the driving out of devils, and the other
miracles, prove that these were intended only as symbolic representations
of the mysterious and wonderful effects which Jesus was to accomplish. Thus
Jairus's daughter means the Jewish Church, which is to be revived at the
second coming of Christ; Lazarus typifies humanity, which will be raised
again at the last day; the account of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is
a symbol of his spiritual resurrection from his grave in the letter of
Scripture. Sherlock, whose _Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of
Jesus_ was long considered a cogent answer to the attacks of Woolston,
was opposed by Peter Annet, who, without leaving the refuge of figurative
interpretation open, proceeded still more regardlessly in the discovery of
contradictory and incredible elements in the Gospel reports, and declared
all the scriptural writers together to be liars and falsifiers. If a man
believes in miracles as supernatural interferences with the regular course
of nature (and they must be so taken if they are to certify to the divine
origin of the Scriptures), he makes God mutable, and natural laws imperfect
arrangements which stand in need of correction. The truth of religion is
independent of all history.]

Thomas Chubb (1679-1747), a man of the people (he was a glove maker and
tallow-chandler), and from 1715 on a participant in deistic literature and
concerned to adapt the new ideas to the men of his class, preached in _The
True Gospel of Jesus Christ_ an honorable working-man's Christianity.,
Faith means obedience to the law of reason inculcated by Christ, not the
acceptance of the facts reported about him. The gospel of Christ was
preached to the poor before his death and his asserted resurrection and
ascension. It is probable that Christ really lived, because of the great
effect of his message; but he was a man like other men. His gospel is his
teaching, not his history, his own teaching, not that of his followers--the
reflections of the apostles are private opinions. Christ's teaching
amounts, in effect, to these three fundamental principles: (1) Conform
to the rational law of love to God and one's neighbor; this is the only
ground of divine acceptance. (2) After transgression of the law, repentance
and reformation are the only grounds of divine grace and forgiveness. (3)
At the last day every one will be rewarded according to his works. By
proclaiming these doctrines, by carrying them out in his own pure life
and typical death, and by founding religio-ethical associations on the
principle of brotherly equality, Christ selected the means best fitted for
the attainment of his purpose, the salvation of human souls. His aim was
to assure men of future happiness (and of the earthly happiness connected
therewith), and to make them worthy of it; and this happiness can only be
attained when from free conviction we submit ourselves to the natural moral
law, which is grounded on the moral fitness of things. Everything which
leads to the illusion that the favor of God is attainable by any other
means than by righteousness and repentance, is pernicious; as, also, the
confusion of Christian societies with legal and civil societies, which
pursue entirely different aims.

Thomas Morgan _(The Moral Philosopher, a Dialogue between the Christian
Deist, Philalethes, and the Christian Jew, Theophanes, 1737 seq_.) stands
on the same ground as his predecessors, by holding that the moral truth of
things is the criterion of the divinity of a doctrine, that the Christian
religion is merely a restoration of natural religion, and that the apostles
were not infallible. Peculiar to him are the application of the first of
these principles to the Mosaic law, with the conclusion that this was not a
revelation; the complete separation of the New Testament from the Old (the
Church of Christ and the expected kingdom of the Jewish Messiah are as
opposed to each other as heaven and earth); and the endeavor to give a
more exact explanation of the origin of superstition, the pre-Christian
manifestations of which he traces back to the fall of the angels, and those
since Christ to the intermixture of Jewish elements. He seeks to solve his
problem by a detailed critique of Israelitish history, which is lacking in
sympathy but not in spirit, and in which, introducing modern relations
into the earliest times, he explains the Old Testament miracles in part as
myths, in part as natural phenomena, and deprives the heroes of the Jews of
their moral renown. The Jewish historians are ranked among the poets; the
God of Israel is reduced to a subordinate, local tutelary divinity; the
moral law of Moses is characterized as a civil code limited to external
conduct, to national and mundane affairs, with merely temporal sanctions,
and the ceremonial law as an act of worldly statecraft; David is declared
a gifted poet, musician, hypocrite, and coward; the prophets are made
professors of theology and moral philosophy; and Paul is praised as the
greatest freethinker of his time, who defended reason against authority
and rejected the Jewish ritual law as indifferent. Whatever is spurious in
Christianity is a remnant of Judaism, all its mysteries are misunderstood
and falsely (_i.e._ literally) applied allegories. Out of regard for Jewish
prejudices Christ's death was figuratively described as sacrificial, as in
earlier times Moses had been forced to yield to the Egyptian superstitions
of his people. Morgan looks for the final victory of the rational morality
of the pure, Pauline, or deistic Christianity over the Jewish Christianity
of orthodoxy. Among the works of his opponents the following deserve
mention: William Warburton's _Divine Legation of Moses, and_ Samuel
Chandler's _Vindication of the History of the Old Testament_.

It maybe doubted whether Bolingbroke (died 1751; cf. p. 203) is to be
classed among the deists or among their opponents. On the one hand, he
finds in monotheism the original true religion, which has degenerated
into superstition through priestly cunning and fantastical philosophy; in
primitive Christianity, the system of natural religion, which has been
transformed into a complicated and contentious science by its weak,
foolish, or deceitful adherents; in theology, the corruption of religion;
in Bacon, Descartes, and Locke, types of untrammeled investigation. On
the other hand, he seeks to protect revelation from the reason whose
cultivation he has just commended, and to keep faith and knowledge
distinct, while he demands that the Bible, with all the undemonstrable
and absurd elements which it contains, be accepted on its own authority.
Religion is an instrument indispensable to the government for keeping the
people in subjection. Only the fear of a higher power, not the reason,
holds the masses in check; and the freethinkers do wrong in taking a bit
out of the mouth of the sensual multitude, when it were better to add to
those already there.

As Hume, the skeptic, leads empiricism to its fall, so Hume, the
philosopher of religion (see below), leads deism toward dissolution. Among
those who defended revealed Christianity against the deistical attacks we
may mention the names of Conybeare (1732) and Joseph Butler (1736). The
former argues from the imperfection and mutability of our reason to like
characteristics in natural religion. Butler (cf. p. 206) does not admit
that natural and revealed religion are mutually exclusive. Christian
revelation lends a higher authority to natural religion, in which she finds
her foundation, and adapts it to the given relations and needs of mankind,
adding, however, to the rational law of virtue new duties toward God the
Son and God the Holy Ghost. It is evident that in order to be able to deal
with their opponents, the apologetes are forced to accommodate themselves
to the deistic principle of a rational criticism of revelation.

Notwithstanding the fear which this principle inspired in the men of the
time, it soon penetrated the thought even of its opponents, and found
its way into the popular mind through the channels of the Illumination.

Although it was often defended and applied with violence and with a
superfluous hatred of the clergy, it forms the justifiable element in the
endeavors of the deists. It is a commonplace to-day that everything which
claims to be true and valid must justify itself before the criticism of
reason; but then this principle, together with the distinction between
natural and positive religion based upon it, exerted an enlightening and
liberating influence. The real flaw in the deistical theory, which was
scarcely felt as such, even by its opponents, was its lack of religious
feeling and all historical sense, a lack which rendered the idea acceptable
that religions could be "made," and priestly falsehoods become world-moving
forces. Hume was the first to seek to rise above this unspeakable
shallowness. There was a remarkable conflict between the ascription to
man, on the one hand, of an assured treasure of religious knowledge in
the reason, and the abandonment of him, on the other, to the juggling of
cunning priests and despots. Thus the deists had no sense either for the
peculiarities of an inward religious feeling, which, in happy prescience,
rises above the earthly circle of moral duties to the world beyond, or for
the involuntary, historically necessary origin and growth of the particular
forms of religion. Here, again, we find that turning away from will and
feeling to thought, from history to nature, from the oppressive complexity
of that which has been developed to the simplicity of that which is
original, which we have noted as one of the most prominent characteristics
of the modern period.

%3. Moral Philosophy.%

The watchword of deism was "independence in religion"; that of modern
ethical philosophy is "independence in morals." Hobbes had given this out
in opposition to the mediaeval dependence of ethics on theology; now it was
turned against himself, for he had delivered morality from ecclesiastical
bondage only to subject it to the no less oppressive and unworthy yoke of
the civil power. Selfish consideration, so he had taught, leads men to
transfer by contract all power to the ruler. Right is that which the
sovereign enjoins, wrong that which he forbids. Thus morality was conceived
in a purely negative way as justice, and based on interest and agreement.
Cumberland, recognizing the one-sidedness of the first of these positions,
announces the principle of universal benevolence, at which Bacon had hinted
before him, and in which he is followed by the school of Shaftesbury.
Opposition to the foundation of ethics on self-love and convention, again,
springs up in three forms, one idealistic, one logical, and one aesthetic.
Ethical ideas have not arisen artificially through shrewd calculation and
agreement, but have a natural origin. Cudworth, returning to Plato and
Descartes, assumes an innate idea of the good. Clarke and Woolston base
moral distinctions on the rational order of things, and characterize
the ethically good action as a logical truth translated into practice.
Shaftesbury derives ethical ideas and actions from a natural instinct for
judging the good and the beautiful. Moreover, Hobbes's ethics of interest
experiences, first, correction at the hands of Locke (who, along with a
complete recognition of the "legal" character of the good, distinguishes
the sphere of morality from that of mere law, and brings it under the
law of "reputation," hence of a "tacit" agreement), and then a frivolous
intensification under Mandeville and Bolingbroke. A preliminary conclusion
is reached in the ethical labors of Hume and Smith.

Richard Cumberland _(De Legibus Naturae_, 1672) turns to experience with
the questions, In what does morality consist? Whence does it arise? and
What is the nature of moral obligation? and finds these answers: Those
actions are good, or in conformity to the moral law of nature, which
promote the common good _(commune bonum summa lex)_. Individual welfare
must be subordinated to the good of all, of which it forms only a part. The
psychological roots of virtuous action are the social and disinterested
affections, which nature has implanted in all beings, especially in those
endowed with reason. There is nothing in man more pleasing to God than
love. We recognize our obligation to the virtue of benevolence, or that God
commands it, from the rewards and punishments which we perceive to follow
the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the law,--the subordination of
individual to universal good is the only means of attaining true happiness
and contentment. Men are dependent on mutual benevolence. He who labors
for the good of the whole system of rational beings furthers thereby the
welfare of the individual parts, among whom he himself is one; individual
happiness cannot be separated from general happiness. All duties are
implied in the supreme one: Give to others, and preserve thyself. This
principle of benevolence, advanced by Cumberland with homely simplicity,
received in the later development of English ethics, for which it pointed
out the way, a more careful foundation.

The series of emancipations of morality begins with the Intellectual System
of Ralph Cud worth _(The Intellectual System of the Universe_, 1678; _A
Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality_, 1731). Ethical ideas
come neither from experience nor from civil legislation nor from the will
of God, but are necessary ideas in the divine and the human reason. Because
of their simplicity, universality, and immutability, it is impossible for
them to arise from experience, which never yields anything but that which
is particular and mutable. It is just as impossible that they should spring
from political constitutions, which have a temporal origin, which are
transitory, and which differ from one another. For if obedience to positive
law is right and disobedience wrong, then moral distinctions must have
existed before the law; if, on the other hand, obedience to the civil law
is morally indifferent, then more than ever is it impossible that this
should be the basis of the moral distinctions in question. A law can bind
us only in virtue of that which is necessarily, absolutely, or _per se_
right; therefore the good is independent, also, of the will of God. The
absolutely good is an eternal truth which God does not create by an act of
his will, but which he finds present in his reason, and which, like the
other ideas, he impresses on created spirits. On the _a priori_ ideas
depends the possibility of science, for knowledge is the perception of
necessary truth.

In agreement with Cudworth that the moral law is dependent neither on human
compact nor on the divine will, Samuel Clarke (died 1729) finds the eternal
principles of justice, goodness, and truth, which God observes in his
government of the universe, and which should also be the guide of human
action, embodied in the nature of things or in their properties, powers,
and relations, in virtue of which certain things, relations, and modes
of action are suited to one another, and others not. Morality is the
subjective conformity of conduct to this objective fitness of things; the
good is the fitting. Moral rules, to which we are bound by conscience and
by rational insight, are valid independently of the command of God and of
all hope or fear in reference to the life to come, although the principles
of religion furnish them an effective support, and one which is almost
indispensable in view of the weakness of human nature. They are not
universally observed, indeed, but universally acknowledged; even the
vicious man cannot refrain from praising virtue in others. He who is
induced by the voice of passion to act contrary to the eternal relations
or harmony of things, contradicts his own reason in thus undertaking to
disturb the order of the universe; he commits the absurdity of willing that
things should be that which they are not. Injustice is in practice that
which falsity and contradiction are in theoretical affairs. In his
well-known controversy with Leibnitz, Clarke defends the freedom of the
will against the determinism of the German philosopher.

In William Wollaston (died 1724), with whom the logical point of view
becomes still more apparent, Clarke found a thinker who shared his
convictions that the subjective moral principle of interest was
insufficient, and, hence, an objective principle to be sought; that
morality consists in the suitableness of the action to the nature and
destination of the object, and that, in the last analysis, it is coincident
with truth. The highest destination of man is, on the one hand, to know the
truth, and, on the other, to express it in actions. That act is good whose
execution includes the affirmation (and its omission the negation) of a
truth. According to the law of nature, a rational being ought so to conduct
himself that he shall never contradict a truth by his actions, _i. e_., to
treat each thing for what it is. Every immoral action is a false judgment;
the violation of a contract is a practical denial of it. The man who is
cruel to animals declares by his act that the creature maltreated is
something which in fact it is not, a being devoid of feeling. The murderer
acts as though he were able to restore life to his victim. He who, in
disobedience toward God, deals with things in a way contrary to their
nature, behaves as though he were mightier than the author of nature. To
this equation of truth and morality happiness is added as a third identical
member. The truer the pleasures of a being the happier it is; and a
pleasure is untrue whenever more (of pain) is given for it than it is
worth. A rational being contradicts itself when it pursues an irrational
pleasure.--The course of moral philosophy has passed over the logical
ethics of Clarke and Wollaston as an abstract and unfruitful idiosyncrasy,
and it is certain that with both of these thinkers their plans were greater
than their performances. But the search for an ethical norm which should
be universally valid and superior to the individual will, did not lack
justification in contrast to the subjectivism of the other two schools of
the time--the school of interest and the school of benevolence, which made
virtue a matter of calculation or of feeling.

* * * * *

The English ethics of the period culminates in Shaftesbury (1671-1713),
who, reared on the principles of his grandfather's friend Locke, formed
his artistic sense on the models of classical antiquity, to recall to the
memory of his age the Greek ideal of a beautiful humanity. Philosophy,
as the knowledge of ourselves and that which is truly good, a guide to
morality and happiness; the world and virtue, a harmony; the good, the
beautiful as well; the whole, a controlling force in the particular--these
views, and his tasteful style of exposition, make Shaftesbury a modern
Greek; it is only his bitterness against Christianity which betrays the
son of the new era. Among the studies collected under the title
_Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times_, 1711, the most
important are those on Enthusiasm, on Wit and Humor, on Virtue and Merit,
and the Moralists.[1]

[Footnote 1: Georg v. Gizycki has written on Shaftesbury's philosophy,
1876. [Cf. Fowler's _Shaftesbury and Hutchison_, English Philosophers
Series, 1882.--TR.]]

Shaftesbury's fundamental metaphysical concept is aesthetic: unity in
variety is for him the all-pervasive law of the world. In every case where
parts work in mutual dependence toward a common result, there rules a
central unity, uniting and animating the members. The lowest of these
substantial unities is the ego, the common source of our thoughts and
feelings. But as the parts of the organism are governed and held together
by the soul, so individuals are joined with one another into species and
genera by higher unities. Each individual being is a member in a system of
creatures, which a common nature binds together. Moreover, since order and
harmony are spread throughout the world, and no one thing exists out of
relation to all others and to the whole, the universe must be conceived
as animated by a formative power which works purposively; this all-ruling
unity is the soul of the world, the universal mind, the Deity. The finality
and beauty of those parts of the world which we can know justifies the
inference to a like constitution of those which are unapproachable, so that
we may be certain that the numerous evils which we find in the details,
work for the good of a system superior to them, and that all apparent
imperfections contribute to the perfection of the whole. As our philosopher
makes use of the idea of the world-harmony to support theism and the
theodicy, so, further, he derives the content of morality from it, thus
giving ethics a natural basis independent of self-interest and conventional

A being is good when its impulses toward the preservation and welfare of
the species is strong, and those directed to its own good not too strong.
The virtue of a rational being is distinguished from the goodness of
a merely "sensible creature" by the fact that man not only possesses
impulses, but reflects upon them, that he approves or disapproves his own
conduct and that of others, and thus makes his affections the object of a
higher, reflective, judging affection. This faculty of moral distinctions,
the sense for right and wrong, or, which amounts to the same thing, for
beauty and ugliness, is innate; we approve virtue and condemn vice by
nature, not as the result of a compact, and from this natural feeling for
good and evil exercise develops a cultivated moral taste or tact. And when,
further, the reason, by means of this faculty of judgment, gains control
over the passions, man becomes an ethical artist, a moral virtuoso.

Virtue pleases by its own worth and beauty, not because of any external
advantage. We must not corrupt the love of the good for its own sake by
mixing with it the hope of future reward, which at the best is admissible
only as a counter-weight against evil passions. When Shaftesbury speaks of
future bliss, his highest conception of the heavenly life is uninterrupted
friendship, magnanimity, and nobility, as a continual rewarding of virtue
by new virtue.

The good is the beautiful, and the beautiful is the harmonious, the
symmetrical; hence the essence of virtue consists in the balance of the
affections and passions. Of the three classes into which Shaftesbury
divides the passions, one, including the "unnatural" or unsocial
affections, as malevolence, envy, and cruelty, which aim neither at the
good of the individual nor that of others, is always and entirely evil.

The two other classes, the social (or "natural") affections and the
"self-affections," may be virtuous or vicious, according to their degree,
_i. e_., according to the relation of their strength to that of the other
affections. In itself a benevolent impulse is never too strong; it
can become so only in comparison with self-love, or in respect to the
constitution of the individual in question, and conversely. Commonly the
social impulses do not attain the normal standard, while the selfish exceed
it; but the opposite case also occurs. Excessive parental tenderness, the
pity which enervates and makes useless for aid, religious zeal for making
converts, passionate partisanship, are examples of too violent social
affections which interfere with the activity of the other inclinations.
Just as erroneous, on the other side, is the neglect of one's own good.
For although the possession of selfish inclinations does not make a
man virtuous, yet the lack of them is a moral defect, since they are
indispensable to the general good. No one can be useful to others who
does not keep himself in a condition for service. The impulse to care for
private welfare is good and necessary in so far as it comports with the
general welfare or contributes to this. The due proportion between the
social passions, which constitute the direct source of good, and those of
self-love, consists in subordinating the latter to the former. The kinship
of this ethics of harmony with the ethical views of antiquity is evident.
It is completed by the eudemonistic conclusion of the system.

As the harmony of impulses constitutes the essence of virtue, so also it is
the way to true happiness. Experience shows that unsocial, unsympathetic,
vicious men are miserable; that love to society is the richest source
of happiness; that even pity for the suffering of others occasions more
pleasure than pain. Virtue secures us the love and respect of others,
secures us, above all, the approval of our own conscience, and true
happiness consists in satisfaction with ourselves. The search after this
pure, constant, spiritual pleasure in the good, which is never accompanied
by satiety and disgust, should not be called self-seeking; he alone takes
pleasure in the good who is already good himself.

Shaftesbury is not well disposed toward positive Christianity, holding that
it has made virtue mercenary by its promises of heavenly rewards, removed
moral questions entirely out of this world into the world to come, and
taught men most piously to torment one another out of pure supernatural
brotherly love. In opposition to such transcendental positions Shaftesbury,
a priest of the modern view of the world, gives virtue a home on earth,
seeks the hand of Providence in the present world, and teaches men to reach
faith in God by inspiring contemplation of the well-ordered universe.
Virtue without piety is possible, indeed, though not complete. But morality
is first and fixed, hence it is the condition and the criterion of genuine
religion. Revelation does not need to fear free rational criticism, for the
Scriptures are accredited by their contents. Besides reason, banter is
with Shaftesbury a second means for distinguishing the genuine from the
spurious: ridicule is the test of truth, and wit and humor the only
cure for enthusiasm. With these he scourges the over-pious as religious
parasites, who for safety's sake prefer to believe too much rather than too

Before Shaftesbury's theory of the moral sense and the disinterested
affections had gained adherents and developers, the danger, which indeed
had not always been escaped, that man might content himself with the
satisfaction of possessing noble impulses, without taking much care
to realize them in useful actions, called forth by way of reaction, a
paradoxical attempt at an apology for vice. Mandeville, a London physician
of French extraction, and born in Holland, had aroused attention by his
poem, _The Grumbling Hive; or Knaves Turned Honest_, 1706, and in response
to vehement attacks upon his work, had added a commentary to the second
edition, _The Fable of the Bees; or Private Vices Public Benefits_, 1714.
The moral of the fable is that the welfare of a society depends on the
industry of its members, and this, in turn, on their passions and vices.
Greed, extravagance, envy, ambition, and rivalry are the roots of
the acquisitive impulse, and contribute more to the public good than
benevolence and the control of desire. Virtue is good for the individual,
it is true, since it makes him contented with himself and acceptable to God
and man, but great states require stronger motives to labor and industry
in order to be prosperous. A people among whom frugality, self-denial, and
quietness of spirit were the rule would remain poor and ignorant. Besides
holding that virtue furthers the happiness of society, Shaftesbury makes a
second mistake in assuming that human nature includes unselfish
inclinations. It is not innate love and goodness that make us social, but
our passions and weaknesses (above all, fear); man is by nature
self-seeking. All actions, including the so-called virtues, spring from
vanity and egoism; thus it has always been, thus it is in every grade of
society. In social life, indeed, we dare not display all these desires
openly, nor satisfy them at will. Shrewd lawgivers have taught men to
conceal their natural passions and to limit them by artificial ones,
persuading them that renunciation is true happiness, on the ground that
through it we attain the supreme good--reputation among, and the esteem of
our fellows. Since then honor and shame have become the strongest motives
and have incited men to that which is called virtue, _i.e._, to actions
which apparently imply the sacrifice of selfish inclinations for the good
of society, while they are really done out of pride and self-love. By
constantly feigning noble sentiments before others man comes, finally, to
deceive himself, believing himself a being whose happiness consists in the
renunciation of self and all that is earthly, and in the thought of his
moral excellence.--The crass assumptions in Mandeville's reasoning are
evident at a glance. After analyzing virtue into the suppression of desire,
after labeling the impulse after moral approbation vanity, lawful self-love
egoism, and rational acquisitiveness avarice, it was easy for him to prove
that it is vice which makes the individual industrious and the state
prosperous, that virtue is seldom found, and that if it were universal it
would become injurious to society.

With different shading and with less one-sidedness, Bolingbroke (cf.
p. 193) defended the standpoint of naturalism. God has created us for
happiness in common; we are destined to assist one another. Happiness is
attainable in society alone, and society cannot exist without justice and
benevolence. He who exercises virtue, _i.e._, promotes the good of the
species, promotes at the same time his own good. All actions spring from
self-love, which, guided at first by an immediate instinct, and later, by
reason developed through experience, extends itself over ever widening
spheres. We love ourselves in our relatives, in our friends, further still,
in our country, finally, in humanity, so that self-love and social love
coincide, and we are impelled to virtue by the combined motives of interest
and duty. This is an ethic of common sense from the standpoint of the
cultured man of the world--which at the proper time has the right, no
doubt, to gain itself a hearing.

Meanwhile Shaftesbury's ideas had impressed Hutcheson and Butler, according
to the peculiarities of each. Both of these writers deem it necessary to
explain and correct the distinction between the selfish and the benevolent
affections by additions, which were of influence on the ethics of Hume;
both devote their zeal to the new doctrine of feelings of reflection or
moral taste, in which the former gives more prominence to the aesthetic,
merely judging factor, the latter to the active or mandatory one.

Francis Hutcheson[1] (died 1747), professor at Glasgow, in his posthumous
_System of Moral Philosophy_, 1755, which had been preceded by an _Inquiry
concerning the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue_, 1725, pursues
the double aim of showing against Hobbes and Locke the originality and
disinterestedness both of benevolence and of moral approval. Virtue is not
exercised because it brings advantage to the agent, nor approved on account
of advantage to the observer.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Fowler's treatise, cited above--TR.]

(1) The benevolent affections are entirely independent of self-love and
regard for the rewards of God and of man, nay, independent even of the
lofty satisfaction afforded by self-approbation. This last, indeed, is
vouchsafed to us only when we seek the good of others without personal
aims: the joy of inward approval is the result of virtue, not the motive to
it. If love were in reality a concealed egoism, it would yield to control
in cases where it promises advantage, which, as experience shows, is not
the fact. Benevolence is entirely natural and as universal in the moral
world as gravitation in the corporeal; and like gravitation further in
that its intensity increases with propinquity--the nearer the persons, the
greater the love. Benevolence is more widespread than malevolence; even
the criminal does more innocent and kind acts in his life than criminal
ones--the rarity of the latter is the reason why so much is said about

(2) Moral judgment is also entirely uninfluenced by consideration of the
advantageous or disadvantageous results for the agent or the spectator. The
beauty of a good deed arouses immediate satisfaction. Through the moral
sense we feel pleasure at observing a virtuous action, and aversion when we
perceive an ignoble one, feelings which are independent of all thought of
the rewards and punishments promised by God, as well as of the utility or
harm for ourselves. Hutcheson argues a complete distinction between moral
approval and the perception of the agreeable and the useful, from the facts
that we judge a benevolent action which is forced, or done from motives of
personal advantage, quite differently from one inspired by love; that we
pay esteem to high-minded characters whether their fortunes be good or
ill; and that we are moved with equal force by fictitious actions, as, for
instance, on the stage, and by those which really take place.

(3) A few further particulars may be emphasized from the comprehensive
systematization which Hutcheson industriously and thoughtfully gave to
Shaftesbury's ideas. Two points reveal the forerunner of Hume. First, the
rôle assigned to the reason in moral affairs is merely subsidiary. Our
motive to action is never the knowledge of a true proposition, but always
simply a wish, affection, or impulse. Ultimate ends are given by the
feelings alone; the reason can only discover the means thereto. Secondly,
the turbulent, blind, rapidly passing passions are distinguished from the
calm, permanent affections, which are mediated by cognition. The latter are
the nobler; among them, in turn, the highest place is occupied by those
conducive to the general good, whose worth is still further determined
by the extent of their objects. From this is derived the law that a kind
affection receives the more lively approval, the more calm and deliberate
it is, the higher the degree of happiness experienced by the object of the
action, and the greater the number of persons affected by it. Patriotism
and love of mankind in general are higher virtues than affection for
friends and children. As the goal of the self-regarding affections,
perfection makes its appearance--for the first time in English ethics--by
the side of happiness.

Joseph Butler[1] (1692-1752; _Sermons on Human Nature_, 1726; cf. p. 194)
maintains still more strictly than Hutcheson the immediateness both of the
affections and the moral estimation of them. He declares that even the
self-regarding impulses as such are un-egoistic, and makes moral judgment
leave out of view all consequences, either foreseen or present, whereas his
predecessor had resolved the goodness of the action into its advantageous
effects (not for the agent and the spectator, but for its object and) for
society. The conscience--so Butler terms the moral sense--directly approves
or disapproves characters and actions in themselves, no matter what good or
ill they occasion in the world. We judge a mode of action good, not because
it is useful to society, but because it corresponds to the demands of the
conscience. This must be unconditionally obeyed, whatever be the issue. We
must not act contrary to truth and justice, even if it should seem to bring
about more happiness than misery.--Butler, too, furnishes material for the
ethics of Hume, by his revival of the separation, previously defended by
the Stoics, of desire and passion from self-love or interest. Self-love
desires a thing because it expects pleasure from it, but the natural
impulses impel us toward their objects immediately, _i. e_., without a
representation of the pleasure to be gained; and repetition is necessary
before the artificial motive of egoistic pleasure-seeking can be added to
the natural motive of inborn desire. Self-love always presupposes original,
immediate affections.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Collins's _Butler_, Blackwood's Philosophical Classics.

The English moral science of the century is brought to a conclusion by Adam
Smith[1] (1723-90), the celebrated founder of political economy.[2] Smith
not only takes into consideration--like his greater friend, Hume--all the
problems proposed by his predecessors, but, further (in his _Theory of
Moral Sentiments_, 1759, published while he was professor at Glasgow),
combines the various attempts at their solution, not by eclectic
co-ordination but by working them over for himself, and arranges them on a
uniform principle, thus accomplishing a work which has not yet received
due recognition beyond the limits of his native land. He reached this
comprehensive moral principle by recognizing the full bearing of a thought
which Hume had incidentally expressed, that moral judgment depends on
participation in the feelings of the agent, and by following out with fine
psychological observation this sympathy of men into its first and last
manifestations. In this way a twofold kind of morality was revealed to him:
mere propriety of behavior and real merit in action. On the one hand, that
is, the sympathy of the spectator--as Hume has one-sidedly emphasized--is
directed to the utility of the consequences (or to the "merit") of the
action, and, on the other, to the fitness of the motives (or their
"propriety"). An action is proper when the impartial spectator is able to
sympathize with its motive, and meritorious if he can sympathize also with
its end or effect; _i.e._, if, in the first case, the feelings are suitable
to their objects (neither too strong nor too weak), and, in the second
case, the consequences of the act are advantageous to others. Merit =
propriety + utility. The main conclusion is this: Sympathy is that by
means of which virtue is recognized and approved, as well as that which is
approved as virtue; it is _ratio cognoscendi_ as well as _ratio essendi_,
the criterion as well as the source of morality. Thus Smith endeavors to
solve the two principal problems of English ethics--the criterion and the
origin of virtue--with a common answer.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Farrer's _Adam Smith_, English Philosophers Series,

[Footnote 2: The epoch-making work, with which he called economic science
into existence, _The Wealth of Nations_\ appeared in 1776. Cf. Wilhelm
Hassbach, _Untersuchungen über Adam Smith_, Leipsic, 1891.]

"Sympathy" denotes primarily nothing more than the innate and purely formal
power of imitating to a certain degree the feelings of others. From this
modest germ is developed by a progressive growth the wide-spreading tree of
morality: moral judgment, the moral imperative with its religious sanction,
and ethical character. Accordingly we may distinguish different stages
in the development of sympathy--the psychological stage of mere
fellow-feeling, the aesthetic stage of moral appreciation, the imperative
stage of moral precepts, which further on are construed as commands of
God (the famous Kantian definition of religion was announced in Glasgow
a generation earlier than in Königsberg), finally, the concluding stage
wherein these laws of duty are taken up into the disposition. Besides
these, there results from the mechanism of the sympathetic feelings a
series of phenomena, which, although they do not entirely conform to the
ethical standard, yet exercise a salutary effect on the permanence of
society; _e.g._, our exceptional judgment of the deeds of the great, the
rich, and the fortunate, as also the higher worth ascribed to good (and,
conversely, the greater guilt to bad) intentions when successfully carried
out into action, in comparison with those which fall short of their result.

The first, the purely psychological stage, includes three cases. The
spectator sympathizes (1) with the feelings of the agent; (2) with the
gratitude or anger of the person affected by the action; (3) the person
observed sympathizes in return with the imitative and judging feelings of
the spectator.

The fundamental laws of sympathy are as follows: We are roused to imitate
the feeling of another by the perception either of its signs (its natural
consequences or its natural expression in visible and audible motions), or
of its causes (the circumstances and experiences which occasion it), the
latter exercising a more potent influence than the former. The wooden leg
of the beggar is more effective in exciting our pity than his anxious air;
the sight of dental instruments is more eloquent than the plaints of
the sufferer from toothache. In order to be able to imitate vividly the
feelings of a person, we must know the causes of them.--The feeling of
the spectator is, on the average, less intense than that of the person
observed, so long as the latter does not control and repress his emotions
in view of the calmness of the former. The difference of intensity between
the original and the sympathetic feelings differs widely with the various
classes of emotions. It is difficult to take part in feelings which arise
from bodily conditions, but easy to share those in the production of which
the imagination is concerned--hence easier to share in hope and fear than
in pleasure and pain.--We sympathize more readily with feelings which are
agreeable to the observer, the observed, and other participants than with
such as are not so; more willingly, therefore, with cheerfulness, love,
benevolence than with grief, hatred, malevolence. This is not only true of
temporary affections, but especially of those general dispositions which
depend on a more or less happy situation in life; we sympathize more
vividly with the fortunes of the rich and noble, because we consider them
happier than the poor and lowly. Wealth and high rank are objects of
general desire chiefly because their possessor enjoys the advantage of
knowing that whatever gives him joy or sorrow always arouses similar
feelings in countless other men. The root of all ambition is the wish to
rule over the hearts of our fellows by compelling them to make our feelings
their own; the central nerve of all happiness consists in seeing our own
sensations shared by those about us and reflected back, as it were, from
manifold mirrors. Small annoyances often have a diverting effect on the
spectator; great success easily excites his envy; great sorrows and minor
joys, on the contrary, are always sure of our sympathy. Hence the morose
man, to whom everything is an occasion of ill-humor, is nowhere welcome,
and the man of cheerful disposition, who rejoices in each little event and
whose good spirits are contagious, everywhere.

Not less admirable than the fine gift of observation which guides Smith in
his discovery of the primary manifestations and the laws of sympathy is the
skill with which he deduces moral phenomena, from the simplest to the
most complex--moral judgment, the moral law, its application to one's own
conduct, the conscience--from the interchange of sympathetic feelings. From
involuntary comparison of the representative feeling of the spectator with
its original in the person observed arises an agreeable or disagreeable
feeling of judgment, a judgment of value, approbating or rejecting the
latter. This is approving when the intensity of the original harmonizes
with that of the copy, disapproving when the former exceeds or fails to
attain the latter. In the one case the emotion is judged suitable to the
object which causes it; in the other, too violent or too weak. It is always
a certain mean of passion which, as "proper," receives approval (esteem,
love, or admiration). In the case of the social passions excess is more
readily condoned, in the case of the unsocial and selfish ones, defect;
hence we judge the over-sensitive more leniently than the over-vengeful.
Anger must be well-grounded and must express itself with great moderation
to arouse in the spectator a like degree of sympathetic resentment. For
here the sympathy of the spectator is divided between two parties, and
fellow-feeling with the angry one is weakened by fear for the person
menaced by him, whereas, in the case of kind affections, sympathy is
increased by doubling. While our judgment of propriety or decorum rests on
simple participation in the sentiments of the agent, our judgment of
merit and demerit is based, in addition, on sympathy with the feelings
of gratitude or resentment experienced by the person on whom the action
terminates. An act is meritorious if it appears to us to deserve thanks
and reward, ill-deserving if it seems to merit resentment and punishment.
Nature has inscribed on the heart, apart from all reflection on the utility
of punishment, an independent, immediate, and instinctive approbation of
the sacred law of retribution. This is the point at which a hitherto purely
contemplative sympathy passes over into an active impulse, which prepares
us to support the victim of attack and insult in his defense and revenge.

This participation in the circumstances and feelings of others is a
reciprocal phenomenon. The spectator takes pains to share the sentiments of
the person observed; and the latter, on his part, endeavors to reduce the
emotions which move him to a degree which will render participation in them
possible for the former. In these reciprocal efforts we have the beginnings
of the two classes of virtues--the gentle, amiable virtues of sympathy
and sensibility, and the exalted, estimable virtues of self-denial and
self-command. Both of these conditions of mind, however, are considered
virtues only when they are manifested in unusual intensity: humanity is
a remarkably delicate fellow-feeling, greatness of soul a rare degree of
self-command. (The consideration for those about one which is ethically
demanded is given, moreover, to a certain extent involuntarily. The man
in trouble and the merry man alike restrain themselves in the company of
persons who are indifferent, or in an opposite mood, while they give rein
to their emotions when with those similarly affected. Joy is enhanced by
sympathy, and grief mitigated.) Thus the perfection of human nature and the
divinely willed harmony among the feelings of men are dependent on every
man feeling little for himself and much for others; on his holding his
selfish inclinations in check and giving free course to his benevolent
ones. This is the injunction of Christianity as well as of nature. And
as, on the one hand, the content of the moral law is thus deduced from
sympathy, so, on the other, this yields the formal criterion of good:
Look upon thy sentiments and actions in the light in which the impartial
spectator would see them. Conscience is the spectator taken up into our own
breast. It remains to consider the origin of this third, imperative stage.

From daily experience of the fact that we judge the conduct of others, and
they ours, and from the wish to gain their approval, arises the habit of
subjecting our own actions to criticism. We learn to look at ourselves
through the eyes of others, we assign the spectator and judge a place in
our own heart, we make his calm objective judgment our own, and hear the
man within calling to us: Thou art responsible for thy acts and intentions.
In this way we are placed in a position to overcome two great delusions,
one of passion, which overestimates the present at the expense of the
future, and one of self-love, which overestimates the individual at the
expense of other men; delusions from which the impartial spectator is free,
for the pleasure of the moment seems to him no more desirable than pleasure
to come, and one person is just the same to him as another. Through
comparison of like cases in the exercise of self-examination certain rules
or principles are formed concerning what is right and good. Reverence for
these general rules of living is called the sense of duty. The last step in
the process consists in our enhancement of the binding authority of moral
rules by looking on them as commands of God. Here Smith adds subtle
discussions of the question, in what cases actions ought to be done simply
out of regard for these abstract maxims, and in what others we welcome the
co-operation of a natural impulse or passion. We ought to be angry and to
punish with reluctance, merely because reason enjoins it, but, on the other
hand, we should be benevolent and grateful from affection; she is not a
model wife who performs her duties merely from a sense of duty, and not
from inclination also. Further, in all cases where the rules cannot be
formulated with perfect exactness and definiteness (as they can in the case
of justice), and are not absolutely valid without exception, reverence for
them must be assisted by a natural taste for modifying and supplementing
the general maxims to suit particular instances.

In this sketch of the course of Smith's moral philosophy much that is fine
and much that is of importance has of necessity been passed over--his
excellent analysis of the relations of benevolence and justice, and
numerous descriptions of traits of character, _e. g_., his ingenious
parallel between pride and vanity. We may briefly mention, in conclusion,
his observations on the irregularities of moral judgment. Prosperity and
success exert an influence on this, which, though hurtful to its purity,
must, on the whole, be considered advantageous to mankind. Our lenience
toward the defects of princes, the great, and the rich, and our over-praise
for their excellent qualities are, from the moral standpoint, an injustice,
but one which has this advantage, that it encourages ambition and industry,
and maintains social distinctions intact, which without loyalty and respect
toward superiors would be broken down. For most men the road to fortune
coincides with the path to virtue. Again, it is a beneficent provision of
nature that we put a higher estimate on a successfully executed act of
benevolence, and reward it more, than a kind intention which fails of
execution; that we judge and punish the purposed crime which is not carried
out more leniently than the one which is completed; that we even ascribe
a certain degree of accountability to an unintentional act of good or
evil--although in these cases the moralist is compelled to see an ethically
unjustifiable corruption of the judgment by external success or failure
beyond the control of the agent. The first of these irregularities does
not allow the man of good intentions to content himself with noble desires
merely, but spurs him on to greater endeavors to carry them out--man
is created for action; the second protects us from the inquisitorial
questioning of motives, for it is easy for the most innocent to fall under
grave suspicion. To this inconsistency of feeling we owe the necessary
legal principle that deeds only, not intentions, are punishable. God
has reserved for himself judgment concerning dispositions. The third
irregularity, that he who inflicts unintentional injury is not guilty, even
in his own eyes, but yet seems bound to make atonement and reparation,
is useful in so far as it warns everyone to be prudent, while the
corresponding illusion, in virtue of which we are grateful to an
involuntary benefactor--for instance, the bearer of good tidings--and
reward him, is at least not harmful, for any reason appears sufficient for
the bestowal of kind intentions and actions.

It is impossible to explain in brief the relation of Smith's ethical
theory to his political economy. His merit in the former consists in his
comprehensive and characteristic combination of the results reached by his
predecessors, and in his preparation for Kantian views, so far as this
was possible from the empirical standpoint of the English. His impartial
spectator was the forerunner of the categorical imperative.

English ethics after Smith may, almost without exception, be termed
eclecticism. This is true of Ferguson _(Institutes of Moral Philosophy_,
1769); of Paley (1785); of the Scottish School (Dugald Stewart, 1793).
Bentham's utilitarianism was the first to bring in a new phase.

%4. Theory of Knowledge.%

(a) %Berkeley%.--George Berkeley, a native of Ireland, Bishop of Cloyne
(1685-1753; _An Essay toward a New Theory of Vision_, 1709; _A Treatise
concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge_, 1710; _Three Dialogues
between Hylas and Philonous_, 1713; _Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher_,
1732, against the freethinkers; _Works_, 1784. Fraser's edition of the
Collected Works appeared in 1871, in four volumes),[1] is related to Locke
as Spinoza to Descartes. He notices blemishes and contradictions allowed by
his predecessor to remain, and, recognizing that the difficulty is not to
be remedied by minor corrections and artificial hypotheses, goes back to
the fundamental principles, takes these more earnestly than their author,
and, by carrying them out more strictly, arrives at a new view of the
world. The points in Locke's doctrines which invited a further advance were
the following: Locke proclaims that our knowledge extends no further
than our ideas, and that truth consists in the agreement of ideas among
themselves, not in the agreement of ideas with things. But this principle
had scarcely been announced before it was violated. In spite of his
limitation of knowledge to ideas, Locke maintains that we know (if not the
inner constitution, yet) the qualities and powers of things without us, and
have a "sensitive" certainty of their existence. Against this, it is to be
said that there are no primary qualities, that is, qualities which exist
without as well as within us. Extension, motion, solidity, which are cited
as such, are just as purely subjective states in us as color, heat, and
sweetness. Impenetrability is nothing more than the feeling of resistance,
an idea, therefore, which self-evidently can be nowhere else than in the
mind experiencing it. Extension, size, distance, and motion are not even
sensations (we see colors only, not quantitative determinations), but
relations which we in thinking add to the sense-qualities (secondary
qualities), and which we are not able to represent apart from them; their
relativity alone would forbid us to consider them objective. And material
substances, the "support" of qualities invented by the philosophers, are
not only unknown, but entirely non-existent. Abstract matter is a phrase
without meaning, and individual things are collections of ideas in us,
nothing more. If we take away all sense-qualities from a thing, absolutely
nothing remains. Our ideas are not merely the only; objects of knowledge,
but also the only existing things--_nothing exists except minds and
their ideas_. Spirits alone are active beings, they only are indivisible
substances, and have real existence, while the being of bodies (as
dependent, inert, variable beings, which are in a constant process of
becoming) consists alone in their appearance to spirits and their being
perceived by them. Incogitative, hence passive, beings are neither
substances, nor capable of producing ideas in us. Those ideas which we do
not ourselves produce are the effects of a spirit which is mightier than
we. With this a second inconsistency was removed which had been overlooked
by Locke, who had ascribed active power to spirits alone and denied it to
matter, but at the same time had made the former affected by the latter. If
external sense is to mean the capacity for having ideas occasioned by the
action of external material things, then there is no external sense. A
third point wherein Locke had not gone far enough for his successor,
concerned the favorite English doctrine of nominalism. Locke, with his
predecessors, had maintained that all reality is individual, and that
universals exist only in the abstracting understanding. From this point
Berkeley advances a step further, the last, indeed, which was possible in
this direction, by bringing into question the possibility even of abstract
ideas. As all beings are particular things, so all ideas are particular

[Footnote 1: Cf. also Fraser's _Berkeley_ (Blackwood's Philosophical
Classics) 1881; Eraser's _Selections from Berkeley_, 4th ed., 1891; and
Krauth's edition of the _Principles_, 1874, with notes from several
sources, especially those translated from Ueberweg.--TR.]

Berkeley looks on the refutation of these two fundamental mistakes--the
assumption of general ideas in the mind, and the belief in the existence
of a material world outside it--as his life work, holding them the chief
sources of atheism, doubt, and philosophical discord. The first of these
errors arises from the use of language. Because we employ words which
denote more than one object, we have believed ourselves warranted in
concluding that we have ideas which correspond to the extension of the
words in question, and which contain only those characteristics which are
uniformly found in all objects so named. This, however, is not the case.[1]
We speak of many things which we cannot represent: names do not always
stand for ideas. The definition of the word triangle as a three-sided
figure bounded by straight lines, makes demands upon us which our faculties
of imagination are never fully able to meet; for the triangle that we
represent to ourselves is always either right-angled or oblique-angled, and
not--as we must demand from the abstract conception of the figure--both and
neither at once. The name "man" includes men and women, children and the
aged, but we are never able to represent a man except as an individual of a
definite age and sex. Nevertheless we are in a position to make a safe
use of these non-presentative but useful abbreviations, and by means of a
particular idea to develop truths of wider application. This takes place
when, in the demonstration, those qualities are not considered which
distinguish the idea from others with a like name. In this case the
given idea stands for all others which are known by the same name; the
representative idea is not universal, but serves as such. Thus when I have
demonstrated the proposition, the sum of all the angles of a triangle is
equal to two right angles, for a given triangle, I do not need to prove
it for every triangle thereafter. For not only the color and size of the
triangle are indifferent, but its other peculiarities as well; the question
whether it is right-angled or obtuse-angled, whether it has equal
sides, whether it has equal or unequal angles, is not mentioned in the
demonstration, and has no influence upon it. _Abstracta_ exist only in this
sense. In considering the individual Paul I can attend exclusively to those
characteristics which he has in common with all men or with all living
beings, but it is impossible for me to represent this complex of common
qualities apart from his individual peculiarities. Self-observation shows
that we have no general concepts; reason, that we can have none, for the
combination of opposite elements in one idea would be a contradiction in
terms. Motion in general, neither swift nor slow, extension in general,
at once great and small, abstract matter without sensuous
determinations--these can neither exist nor be perceived.

[Footnote 1: Against the Berkeleyan denial of abstract notions the popular
philosopher, Joh. Jak. Engel, directed an essay, _Ueber die Realität
allgemeiner Begriffe_ (Engel's _Schriften_, vol. x.), to which attention
has been called by O. Liebmann, _Analysis tier Wirklichkeit_, 2d ed., p.

The "materialistic" hypothesis--so Berkeley terms the assumption that a
material world exists apart from perceiving mind, and independently of
being perceived--is, first, unnecessary, for the facts which it is to
explain can be explained as well, or even better, without it; and, second,
false, since it is a contradiction to suppose that an object can exist
unperceived, and that a sensation or idea is the copy of anything itself
not a sensation or idea. Ideas are the only objects of the understanding.
Sensible qualities (white, sweet) are subjective states of the soul; sense
objects (sugar), sensation-complexes. If sensations need a substantial
support, this is the soul which perceives them, not an external thing which
can neither perceive nor be perceived. Single ideas, and those combined
into objects, can exist nowhere else than in the mind; the being of sense
objects consists in their being perceived (_esse est percipi_). I see light
and feel heat, and combine these sensations of sight and touch into the
substance fire, because I know from experience that they constantly
accompany and suggest each other.[1] The assumption of an "object" apart
from the idea is as useless as its existence would be. Why should God
create a world of real things without the mind, when these can neither
enter into the mind, nor (because unperceived) be copied by its ideas, nor
(because they themselves lack perception and power) produce ideas in it?
Ideas signify nothing but themselves, _i. e_., affections of the subject.

[Footnote 1: The fire that I see is not the cause of the pain which I
experience in approaching it, but the visual image of the flame is only a
sign which warns me not to go too near. If I look through a microscope
I see a different object from the one perceived with the naked eye. Two
persons never see the same object, they merely have like sensations.]

The further question arises, What is the origin of ideas? Men have been led
into this erroneous belief in the reality of the material world by the
fact that certain ideas are not subject to our will, while others are.
Sensations are distinguished from the ideas of imagination, which we can
excite and alter at pleasure, by their greater strength, liveliness, and
distinctness, by their steadiness, regular order, and coherence, and by
the fact that they arise without our aid and whether we will or no. Unless
these ideas are self-originated they must have an external cause. This,
however, can be nothing else than a willing, thinking Being; for without
will it could not be active and act upon me, and without ideas of its own
it could not communicate ideas to me. Because of the manifoldness and
regularity of our sensations the Being which produces them must, further,
possess infinite power and intelligence. The ideas of imagination are
produced by ourselves, real perceptions are produced by God. The connected
whole of divinely produced ideas we call nature, and the constant
regularity in their succession, the laws of nature. The invariableness of

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