The Things I Carry - Essay by Hpandya10 - Anti Essays

§ 4. Hence, I think, we may learn the reason why every one familiarly, and without the least hesitation, speaks of, and supposes eternity, and sticks not to ascribe infinity to duration; but it is with more doubting and reserve, that many admit, or suppose the infinity of space. The reason whereof seems to me to be this, that duration and extension being used as names of affections belonging to other beings, we easily conceive in God infinite duration, and we cannot avoid doing so: but not attributing to him extension, but only to matter, which is finite, we are apter to doubt of the existence of expansion without matter; of which alone we commonly suppose it an attribute. And therefore when men pursue their thoughts of space, they are apt to stop at the confines of body; as if space were there at an end too, and reached no farther. Or if their ideas upon consideration carry them farther, yet they term what is beyond the limits of the universe imaginary space; as if it were nothing, because there is no body existing in it. Whereas duration, antecedent to all body, and to the motions which it is measured by, they never term imaginary; because it is never supposed void of some other real existence. And if the names of things may at all direct our thoughts towards the originals of men’s ideas (as I am apt to think they may very much) one may have occasion to think by the name duration, that the continuation of existence, with a kind of resistance to any destructive force, and the continuation of solidity (which is apt to be confounded with, and, if we will look into the minute anatomical parts of matter, is little different from, hardness) were thought to have some analogy, and gave occasion to words, so near of kin as durare and durum esse. And that durare is applied to the idea of hardness, as well as that of existence, we see in Horace, epod. xvi. “ferro duravit secula.” But be that as it will, this is certain, that whoever pursues his own thoughts, will find them sometimes launch out beyond the extent of body into the infinity of space or expansion; the idea whereof is distinct and separate from body, and all other things; which may (to those who please) be a subject of farther meditation.

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The Things They Carried Analysis Essay

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§ 73. And thus I have, in a short draught, given a view of our original ideas, from whence all the rest are derived, and of which they are made up; which if I would consider, as a philosopher, and examine on what causes they depend, and of what they are made, I believe they all might be reduced to these very few primary and original ones, viz. Extension, Solidity, Mobility, or the power of being moved; which by our senses we receive from body; Perceptivity, or the power of perception, or thinking; Motivity, or the power of moving; which by reflection we receive from our minds. I crave leave to make use of these two new words, to avoid the danger of being mistaken in the use of those which are equivocal. To which if we add Existence, Duration, Number; which belong both to the one and the other; we have, perhaps, all the original ideas, on which the rest depend. For by these, I imagine, might be explained the nature of colours, sounds, tastes, smells, and all other ideas we have, if we had but faculties acute enough to perceive the severally modified extensions and motions of these minute bodies, which produce those several sensations in us. But my present purpose being only to inquire into the knowledge the mind has of things, by those ideas and appearances, which God has fitted it to receive from them, and how the mind comes by that knowledge, rather than into their causes, or manner of production; I shall not, contrary to the design of this essay, set myself to inquire philosophically into the peculiar constitution of bodies, and the configuration of parts, whereby they have the power to produce in us the ideas of their sensible qualities: I shall not enter any farther into that disquisition, it sufficing to my purpose to observe, that gold or saffron has a power to produce in us the idea of yellow, and snow or milk the idea of white, which we can only have by our sight, without examining the texture of the parts of those bodies, or the particular figures or motion of the particles which rebound from them, to cause in us that particular sensation: though when we go beyond the bare ideas in our minds, and would inquire into their causes, we cannot conceive any thing else to be in any sensible object, whereby it produces different ideas in us, but the different bulk, figure, number, texture, and motion of its insensible parts.


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The Essay on Human Understanding, that most distinguished of all his works, is to be considered as a system, at its first appearance absolutely new, and directly opposite to the notions and persuasions then established in the world. Now as it seldom happens that the person who first suggests a discovery in any science is at the same time solicitous, or perhaps qualified to lay open all the consequences that follow from it; in such a work much of course is left to the reader, who must carefully apply the leading principles to many cases and conclusions not there specified. To what else but a neglect of this application shall we impute it that there are still numbers amongst us who profess to pay the greatest deference to Mr. Locke, and to be well acquainted with his writings, and would perhaps take it ill to have this pretension questioned; yet appear either wholly unable, or unaccustomed, to draw the natural consequence from any one of his principal positions? Why, for instance, do we still continue so unsettled in the first principles and foundation of morals? How came we not to perceive that by the very same arguments which that great author used with so much success in extirpating innate ideas, he most effectually eradicated all innate or connate senses, instincts, &c. by not only leading us to conclude that every such sense must, in the very nature of it, imply an object correspondent to and of the same standing with itself, to which it refers [as each relative implies its correlate], the real existence of which object he has confuted in every shape; but also by showing that for each moral proposition men actually want and may demand a reason or proof deduced from another science, and founded on natural good and evil: and consequently where no such reason can be assigned, these same senses or instincts, with whatever titles decorated, whether styled sympathetic or sentimental, common or intuitive,—ought to be looked upon as no more than mere habits; under which familiar name their authority is soon discovered, and their effects accounted for.