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For the truth of these appearances, or perceptions in our minds, consisting, as has been said, only in their being answerable to the powers in external objects to produce by our senses such appearances in us; and each of them being in the mind, such as it is, suitable to the power that produced it, and which alone it represents; it cannot upon that account, or as referred to such a pattern, be false. Blue and yellow, bitter or sweet, can never be false ideas : these perceptions in the mind are just such as they are there, answering the powers appointed by God to produce them; and so are truly what they are, and are intended to be. Indeed the names may be misapplied; but that in this respect makes no falshood in the ideas; as if a man ignorant in the English tongue should call purple scarlet. §. 17. Secondly, neither can our com
Secondly, plex ideas of modes, in reference to the es
modes not sence of any thing really existing, be false. false, Because whatever complex idea I have of any mode, it hath no reference to any pattern existing, and made by nature: it is not supposed to contain in it any other ideas than what it hath; nor to represent any thing but such a complication of ideas as it does. Thus when I have the idea of such an action of a man, who forbears to afford himself such meat, drink, and clothing, and other conveniencies of life, as his riches and estate will be sufficient to supply, and his station requires, I have no false idea ; but such an one as represents an action, either as I find or imagine it; and so is capable of neither truth or falshood. But when I give the name frugality or virtue to this action, then it may
be called a false idea, if thereby it be supposed to agree with that idea, to which, in propriety of speech, the name of frugality doth belong; or to be conformable to that law, which is the standard. of virtue and vice, §. 18. Thirdly, our complex ideas of
Thirdly, substances, being all referred to patterns in ideas of sub. things themselves, may be false. That they stances when are all false, when looked upon as the re
false. presentations of the unknown essences of things, is so
evident, that there needs nothing to be said of it. I shall therefore pass over that chimerical supposition, and consider them as collections of simple ideas in the mind taken from combinations of simple ideas existing togther constantly in things, of which patterns they are the supposed copies : and in this reference of them to the existence of things, they are false ideas. 1. When they put together simple ideas, which in the real existence of things have no union : as when to the shape and size that exist together in a horse is joined, in the same complex idea, the power of barking like a dog: which three ideas, however put together into one in the mind, were never united in nature; and this therefore may be called a false idea of an horse.
2. Ideas of substances are, in this respect, also false, when from any collection of simple ideas that do always exist together, there is separated, by a direct negation, any other simple idea which is constantly joined with them. Thus, if to extension, solidity, fusibility, the peculiar weightiness
, and yellow colour of gold, any one join in his thoughts the negation of a greater degree of fixedness than is in lead or copper, he may be said to have a false complex idea, as well as when he joins to those other simple ones the idea of perfect absolute fixedness. For either way, the complex idea of gold being made up of such simple ones as have no union in nature may be termed false. But if we leave out of this his complex idea, that of fixedness quite, without either actually joining to, or separating of it from the rest in his mind, it is, I think, to be looked on as an inadequate and imperfect idea, rather than a false one i since though it contains not all the simple ideas that are united in nature, yet it puts none together but what do really exist together. Truth or
§. 19. Though in compliance with the falshood al. ordinary way of speaking I have showed in
what sense, and upon what ground our tion or nega
ideas may be sometimes called true or false ; tion.
yet if we will look a little nearer into the
matter, in all cases where any idea is called true or false, it is from some judgment that the mind
makes, or is supposed to make, that is true or false. For truth or falshood, being never without some affirmation or negation, express or tacit, it is not to be found but where signs are joined and separated, according to the agreement or disagreement of the things they stand for. The signs we chiefly use are either ideas or words, wherewith we make either mental or verbal propositions. Truth lies in so joining or separating these representatives, as the things they stand for do in themselves agree or disagree ; and falshood in the contrary, as shall be more fully shown hereafter.
9. 20, Any idea then which we have in our minds, whether conformable or not to themselves the existence of things, or to any idea in the neither true minds of other men, cannot properly for this alone be called false. For these representations, if they have nothing in them but what is really existing in things without, cannot be thought false, being exact representations of something: nor yet, if they have any thing in them differing from the reality of things, can they properly be said to be false representations, or ideas of things they do not represent.
But the mistake and falshood is,
g. 21. First, when the inind having any but are false, idea, it judges and concludes it the same that is in other men's minds, signified by judged the same name; or that it is conforınable agreeable to to the ordinary received signification or de- man's idea, finition of that word, when indeed it is without be. not; which is the most usual mistake in ing so. mixed modes, though other ideas also are liable to it. $. 22. Secondly, when it having a com
2. When plex idea made up of such a collection of judged to simple ones, as nature never puts together, agree to real it judges it to agree to a species of crea- existence,
when they tures really existing; as when it joins the
do not. weight of tin to the colour, fusibility, and fixedness of gold.
Ş. 23. Thirdly, when in its complex idea it has united a certain number of sim- judged adeple ideas that do really exist together in quate, with
some sort of creatures, but has also left out others as much inseparable, it judges this to be a perfect complete idea of a sort of things which really it is not; v. g. having joined the ideas of substance, yellow, malleable, most heavy, and fusible, it takes that complex idea to be the complete idea of gold, when yet its peculiar fixedness and solubility in aqua regia are as inseparable from those other ideas or qualities of that body, as they are one from another.
§. 24. Fourthly, the mistake is yet judged to re- greater, when I judge, that this complex present the
idea contains in it the real essence of any
body existing, when at least it contains but some few of those properties which flow from its real essence and constitution. I say only some few of those properties; for those properties consisting mostly in the active and passive powers it has, in reference to other things, all that are vulgarly known of any one body, of which the complex idea of that kind of things is usually made, are but a very few in comparison of what a man, that has several ways tried and examined it, knows of that one sort of things: and all that the most expert man knows are but a few, in comparison of what are really in that body, and depend on its internal or essential constitution. The essence of a triangle lies in a very little compass, consists in a very few ideas : three lines including a space make up that essence: but the properties that flow from this essence are more than can be easily known or enumerated. So I imagine it is in substances, their real essences lie in a little compass, though the properties flowing from that internal constitution are endless. Ideas, when
$. 25. To conclude, a man having nofalse, notion of any thing without him, but by
the idea he has of it in his mind, (which idea he has a power to call by what name he pleases) he may indeed make an idea neither answering the reason of things, nor agreeing to the idea commonly signified by other people's words ; but cannot make a wrong or false idea of a thing, which is no otherwise known to him but by the idea he has of it: v. g. when
I frame an idea of the legs, arms, and body of a man, and join to this a horse's head and neck, I do not make a false idea of any thing; because it represents nothing without me.
But when I call it a man or Tartar, and imagine it to represent some real being without me, or to be the same idea that others call by the same name; in either of these cases I may err. And upon this account it is, that it comes to be termed a false idea; though indeed the falshood lies not in the idea, but in that tacit mental proposition, wherein a conformity and resemblance is attributed to it, which it has not. But yet, if having framed such an idea in my mind, without . thinking either that existence, or the name man or Tartar, belongs to it, I will call it man or Tartar, I may be justly thought fantastical in the naming, but pot erroneous in my judgment; nor the idea any way false.
§. 26. Upon the whole matter, I think, that our ideas, as they are considered by perly to be the mind, either in reference to the proper called right signification of their names, or in reference
or wrong. to the reality of things, may very fitly be called right or wrong ideas, according as they agree or disagree to those patterns to which they are referred. But if
any one had rather call them true or false, it is fit he use a liberty, which every one has, to call things by those names he thinks best; though, in propriety of speech, truth or falshood will, I think, scarce agree to them, but as they, some way or other, virtually contain in them some mental proposition. The ideas that are in a man's mind, simply considered, cannot be wrong, unless complex ones, wherein inconsistent parts are jumbled together. All other ideas are in themselves right, aud the knowledge about them right and true knowledge: but when we come to refer them to any thing, as to their patterns and archetypes, then they are capable of being wrong, as far as they disagree with such archetypes.