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nization, which is fit to convey that common life to all the parts so united.
$. 5. The case is not so much different Identity of
in brutes, but that any one may hence see animals.
what makes an animal, and continues it the same. Something we have like this in machines, and may serve to illustrate it. For example, what is a watch? It is plain it is nothing but a fit organization, or construction of parts, to a certain end, which when a sufficient force is added to it, it is capable to attain, If we would suppose this machine one continued body, all whose organized parts were repaired, increased or diminished by a constant addition or separation of insensible parts, with one common life, we should have something very much like the body of an animal; with this difference, that in an animal the fitness of the organization, and the motion wherein life consists, begin together, the motion coming from within ; but in machines, the force coming sensibly from without, is often away when the organ is in order, and well fitted to receive it,
§. 6. This also shows wherein the idenIdentity of
tity of the same man consists; viz. in no
thing but a participation of the same continued life, by constantly fleeting particles of matter, in succession vitally united to the same organized body, He that shall place the identity of man in any thing else, but like that of other animals in one fitly organized body, taken in any one instant, and from thence continued under one organization of life in several successively fleeting particles of matter united to it, will find it hard to make an embryo, one of years, mad and sober, the same man, by any supposition, that will not inake it possible for Seth, Ismael, Socrates, Pilate, St. Austin, and Cæsar Borgia, to be the same man. For if the identity of soul alone makes the same man, and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the same individual spirit may not be united to different bodies, it will be possible that those men living in distant ages, and of different tempers, may have been the same man: which way of speaking must be, from a very strange
use of the word man, applied to an idea, out of which body and shape are excluded. And that way of speaking would agree yet worse with the notions of those philosophers who allow of transmigration, and are of opinion that the souls of men may, for their miscarriages, be detruded into the bodies of beasts, as fit habitations, with organs suited to the satisfaction of their brutal inclinations. But yet, I think, no-body, could he be sure that the soul of Heliogabalus were in one of his hogs, would yet say that hog were a man or Heliogabalus. §. 7. It is not therefore unity of sub
Identity stance that comprehends all sorts of iden- suited to the tity, or will determine it in every case:
idea. but to conceive and judge of it aright, we must consider what idea the word it is applied to stands for; it being one thing to be the same substance, another the same man, and a third the same person, if person, man, and substance are three names standing for three different ideas; for such as is the idea belonging to that name, such must be the identity: which, if it had been a little more carefully attended to, would possibly have prevented a great deal of that confusion, which often occurs about this matter, with no small seeming difficulties, especially concerning personal identity, which therefore we shall in the next place a little consider. §. 8. An animal is a living organized
Same man. body; aud consequently the same animal, as we have observed, is the same continued life communicated to different particles of matter, as they happen successively to be united to that organized living body. And whatever is talked of other definitions, ingenuous observation puts it past doubt, that the idea in our minds, of which the sound man in our mouthis is the sign, is nothing else but of an animal of such acertain form : since I think I may be confident, that whoever should see a creature of his own shape and make, though it had no more reason all its life than a cat or a parrot, would call him still a man: or whoever should hear a cat or a parrot discourse, reason and Vol. II.
philosophize, would call or think it nothing but a cat or a parrot: and say, the one was a dull irrational man, and the other a very intelligent rational párrot. A relation we have in an author of great note is sufficient to countenance the supposition of a rational parrot. His words are * :
“I had a mind to know from prince Maurice's own “ mouth the account of a common, but much credited s story, that I heard so often from many others, of - an old parrot he had in Brasil during his govern
ment there, that spoke, and asked, and answered
common questions like a reasonable creature: so that " those of his train there generally concluded it to be " witchery or possession; and one of his chaplains, who “ lived long afterwards in Holland, would never from " that time endure a parrot, but said, they all had a “ devil in them. I had heard many particulars of this
story, and assevered by people hard to be discredited, “ which made me ask prince Maurice what there was
of it. He said, with his usual plainness and dryness “ in talk, there was something true, but a great deal “ false of what had been reported. I desired to know " of him what there was of the first? He told me short “ and coldly, that he had heard of such an old parrot s when he had been at Brazil; and though he believed “ nothing of it, and it was a good way off
, yet he had so much curiosity as to send for it: that it was a'very great and a very old one, and when it came first into the room where the prince was, with a great many Dutchmen about him, it said presently, What
a company of white men are here! They asked it “ what it thought that man was, pointing to the prince? " It answered, some general or other; when they
brought it close to him, he asked it, † D'ou venez
* Memoirs of what passed in Christendom from 1672 to 1679, p. 3oz
+ Whence come ye? It answered from Marinnan. The Prince, To whom do you belong ? The Parrot, To a Portuguese. Prince, What do you there? Parrot, I look after the chickens. The prince laughed, and said, You look after the chickens ? The parrot answered, Yes, 1, and I know well enough how to do it.
vous ? It answered, De Marinnan. The prince, A
qui estes vous ? The parrot, A un Portugais. Prince, “ Que fais tu la ? Parrot, Je garde les poulles. The
prince laughed, and said, Vous gardez les poulles ? “ The parrot answered, Oui moi, & je scai bien faire; " and made the chuck four or five times that people
use to make to chickens when they call them. I set “ down the words of this worthy dialogue in French,
just as prince Maurice said them to me. I asked “ him in what language the parrot spoke, and he said, “ in Brasilian; I asked whether he understood Bra“silian; he said, no, but he had taken care to have two “ interpreters by him, the one a Dutchman that spoke
Brasilian, and the other a Brasilian that spoke “ Dutch ; that he asked them separately and privately, “ and both of them agreed in telling him just the same " thing that the parrot had said. I could not but tell " this odd story, because it is so much out of the way, " and from the first hand, and what may pass for a good
one; for I dare say this prince at least believed him“ self in all he told ine, having ever passed for a very “ honest and pious man: I leave it to naturalists to
reason, and to other men to believe, as they please upon it; however, it is not, perhaps, amiss to relieve or enliven a busy scene sometimes with such digressions, whether to the purpose or no."
I have taken care that the reader should have the story at large in the author's own words, because he seems to me not to have thought it incredible ; for it cannot be imagined that so able a man as he, who had sufficiency enough to warrant all the testimonies he gives of himself, should take so much pains, in a place where it had nothing to do, to pin so close not only on a man whom he mentions as his friend, but on a prince in whom he acknowledges very great honesty and piety, a story which if he himself thought incredible, he could not but also think ridiculous. The prince, it is plain, who vouches this story, and our author, who relates it from him, both of them call this talker a parrot; and I ask any one else, who thinks such a story fit to be told, whether if E 2
this parrot, and all of its kind, had always talked, as we have a prince's word for it this one did, whether, I say, they would not have passed for a race of rational animals; but yet whether for all that they would have been allowed to be men, and not parrots ? For I presume it is not the idea of a thinking or rational being alone that makes the idea of a man in most people's sense, but of a body, so and so shaped, joined to it: and if that be the idea of a man, the same sucessive body not shifted all at once, must, as well as the same immaterial spirit, go to the making of the same man. Personal
9. 9. This being premised, to find wherein identity. personal identity consists, we must consider
what person stands for : which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places; which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and as it seems to me essential to it: it being impossible for any one to perceive, without perceiving that he does perceive. When we see, hear, smell
, taste, feel, meditate, or will any thing, we know that we do so. Thus it is always as to our present sensations and perceptions; and by this every one is to himself that which lie calls selt'; it not being considered in this case whether the same self be continued in the same or divers substances. For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes every one to be what he calls self, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things; in this alone consists personal identity, i. e. the sameness of a rational being : and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person ; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. Conscious
§. 10. But it is farther inquired, wheness makes
ther it be the same identical substance? personal
This few would think they had reason to identity. doubt of, if these perceptions, with their