an essay concerning human understanding book i: innate notions

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And thus all mathematical demonstrations, as well as first principles, must be received as native impressions on the mind; which I fear they will scarce allow them to be, who find it harder to demonstrate a proposition than assent to it when demonstrated. There is scarcely any one so floating and superficial in his understanding, who hath not some reverenced propositions, which are to him the principles on which he bottoms his reasonings, and by which he judgeth of truth and falsehood, right and wrong; which some, wanting skill and leisure, and others the inclination, and some being taught that they ought not to examine, there are few to be found who are not exposed by their ignorance, laziness, education, or precipitancy, to take them upon trust. Such natural impressions on the understanding are so far from being confirmed hereby, that this is an argument against them; since, if there were certain characters imprinted by nature on the understanding, as the principles of knowledge, we could not but perceive them constantly operate in us and influence our knowledge, as we do those others on the will and appetite; which never cease to be the constant springs and motives of all our actions, to which we perpetually feel them strongly impelling us. And at the latter end of his little treatise De Religione Laici, he says this of these innate principles: Adeo ut non uniuscujusvis religionis confinio arctentur quae ubique vigent veritates. 8. they bring with them a perception of their not being wholly new to it. And he will be much more afraid to question those principles, when he shall think them, as most men do, the standards set up by God in his mind, to be the rule and touchstone of all other opinions. Thus, having given the marks of the innate principles or common notions, and asserted their being imprinted on the minds of men by the hand of God, he proceeds to set them down, and they are these: 1. "What is, is," and "It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be," not universally assented to. And which since all men do not know, nor can distinguish from other adventitious truths, we may well conclude there are no such. m����/s�\�'��z/'�}��ܦ��`5�����&�s&�ΎS���^-Oa�MZ�wEUgE'��;���쵣�z&���! These they entertain and submit to, as many do to their parents with veneration; not because it is natural; nor do children do it where they are not so taught; but because, having been always so educated, and having no remembrance of the beginning of this respect, they think it is natural. that whatever truths reason can certainly discover to us, and make us firmly assent to, those are all naturally imprinted on the mind; since that universal assent, which is made the mark of them, amounts to no more but this, – that by the use of reason we are capable to come to a certain knowledge of and assent to them; and, by this means, there will be no difference between the maxims of the mathematicians, and theorems they deduce from them: all must be equally allowed innate; they being all discoveries made by the use of reason, and truths that a rational creature may certainty come to know, if he apply his thoughts rightly that way. I confess there is another idea which would be of general use for mankind to have, as it is of general talk as if they had it; and that is the idea of substance; which we neither have nor can have by sensation or reflection. Principles not innate, unless their ideas be innate. This will appear very likely, and almost unavoidable to come to pass, if we consider the nature of mankind and the constitution of human affairs; wherein most men cannot live without employing their time in the daily labours of their callings; nor be at quiet in their minds without some foundation or principle to rest their thoughts on. Perhaps conscience will be urged as checking us for such breaches, and so the internal obligation and establishment of the rule be preserved. :>����ɗӉ����҉��;ׇVH*L?,Tr*ZK31�b�V�=�֗�r�h4fO��l�J�Q �0,��������k�e.GB��ל��6�t���ǛV�U�9�,��,'�~

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