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mentioned. If your lordship means what is the real internal constitution, that physically makes solidity in things; if I answer I do not know, that will no more make
my idea of solidity not to be true or certain (if your lordship thinks certainty may be attributed to single ideas) than the not knowing the physical constitution, whereby the parts of bodies are so framed as to cohere, makes my idea of cohesion not true or certain.
To my saying in my Essay *, " that if any one asks me what this solidity is, I send him to his senses to inform him;" your lordship replies, "you thought the design of my book would have sent him to his ideas for certainty : and are we, says your lordship, sent back again from our ideas to our senses ?” Answ. I cannot help it, if your lordship mistakes the design of my book: for what concerns certainty, i.e. the knowledge of the truth of propositions, my book sends every one to his ideas; but for the getting of simple ideas of sensation, my book sends him only to his senses. But your lordship uses certainty here in a sense I never used it, nor do understand it in; for what the certainty of any simple idea is, I confess I do not know, and shall be glad if you would tell me what you mean by it.
However, in this sense you ask me, and that as if your question carried a demonstration of my contradicting myself: " and are we sent back again, from our ideas to our senses ?” Answ. My lord, every one is sent to his senses to get the simple ideas of sensation, because they are no other way to be got.
Your lordship presses on with this farther question, “ what do these ideas signify then?” i. e. if a man be sent to his senses for the idea of solidity. I answer, to show him the certainty of propositions, wherein the agreement or disagreement of ideas is perceived; which is the certainty I speak of, and no other: but what the certainty is which your lordship speaks of in this and the following page, I confess I do not understand. For
Your lordship adds, that I say farther, “ that if this be not a sufficient explication of solidity, I promise to tell any one what it is, when he tells me what
+ B. ii. c. 4. $ 6.
thinking is; or explains to me, what extension and motion are." “ Are we not now in the true way to certainty, when such things as these are given over, of which we have the clearest evidence by sensation and reflection ? For here I make it as impossible to come to certain, clear, and distinct notions of these things, as to discourse into a blind man the ideas of light and colours. Is not this a rare way of certainty ?" Answ. What things, my lord, I beseech you, are those which you here tell me are given over, of which we have the clearest evidence by sensation or reflection ? It is likely you will tell me, they are extension and motion. But, my lord, I crave the liberty to say, that when you have considered again, you will be satisfied, there are no things given over in the case, but only the names extension and motion; and concerning them too, nothing is given over, but a power of defining them. When you will be pleased to lay by a little the warmth of those questions of triumph, which I meet with in this passage, and tell me what things your lordship makes these names extension and motion to stand for; you perhaps will not find, that I make it impossible for those, who have their senses, to get the simple ideas, signified by these names, very clear and distinct by their senses: though I do say, that these, as well as all other names of simple ideas, cannot be defined; nor any simple ideas be brought into our minds by words, any more than the ideas of light and colours can be discoursed into a blind man: which is all I do say in those words of mine, which your lordship quotes, as such wherein I have given over things, whereof we have the clearest evidence. And so from my being of opinion, that the names of simple ideas cannot be defined, nor those ideas got by any words whatsoever, which is all that I there say; your lordship very pathetically expresses yourself, as if in my way all were gone, certainty were lost; and if my method should be allowed, there is an end of all knowledge in the world. The reason your lordship gives against my way
of certainty is, “that I here make it as impossible to come to certain, clear, and distinct notions of these things, [i. c. extension and motion as to discourse
into a blind man the idea of light and colours.” Answ. What clear and distinct notions or ideas are, I do understand: but what your lordship means by certain notions, speaking here, as you do, of simple ideas, I must own I do not understand. That for the attaining those simple ideas I send men to their senses, I shall think I am in the right, till I hear from your lordship better arguments to convince me of my mistake than these: "Are we not now in the true way to certainty? Is not this a rare way of certainty ?" And if your lordship has a better way to get clear and distinct simple ideas than by the senses, you will oblige me, and I think the world too, by a discovery of it. Till then, I shall continue in the same mind I was of, when I writ that passage, viz. That words can do nothing towards it*, and that for the reason which I there promised, and is to be found, Essay, b. iii. c. 4. $7,&c. And therefore to your lord ship's saying, “ that thus you have showed, that I have no security against false and uncertain ideas, no criterion to judge them by;" I think I may securely reply, that with submission thus showing it, is not showing at all; nor will ever show, that I have no such criterion, even when we shall add your lordship’s farther inference, “now here again our ideas deceive us.” Which supposing it a good inference from these words of mine, “ that most of our simple ideas are not the likenesses of things without us;" yet it seems to me to come in here a little out of season : because the proposition to be proved is, as I humbly conceive, not that our ideas deceive us, but that "I have not a criterion to distinguish true from false ideas."
If it be brought to prove that I have no criterion, I have this to say, that I neither well understand what it is for our ideas to deceive us in the way of certainty; nor, in the best sense that I can give it, do I see how it proves that I have no criterion; nor, lastly, how it follows from my saying that most of our simple ideas are not resemblances.
Your lordship seems by the following words to mean, that in this way by ideas which are confessed not to be
* Essay, b. ii. c. 4. § 5, 6.
resemblances, men are hindered, and cannot go far in the knowledge of what they desire to know of the nature of those objects, of which we have the ideas in our minds. If this should be so, what is this, I beseech your lordship, to your showing that I have no criterion ? but that this is a fault in the way by ideas, I shall be convinced, when your lordship shall be pleased to show me, how in your way of certainty by reason we can know more of the nature of things without us, or of that which causes these ideas or perceptions in us. But, I humbly conceive, it is no objection to the way of ideas, if any one will deceive himself, and expect certainty by ideas, in things where certainty is not to be had ; because he is told how knowledge or certainty is got by ideas, as far as men attain to it. And since your lordship is here comparing the ways of certainty by ideas and by reason, as two different and inconsistent ways, I humbly crave leave to add, that when you can show me any one proposition, which you have attained to a certainty of, in your way of certainty by reason, which I cannot attain to a certainty of in my way of certainty by ideas; I will acknowledge my Essay to be guilty of whatever your lordship pleases.
Your lordship concludes, “so that these ideas are really nothing but names, if they be not representations." Answ. This does not yet show, that I have no criterion to distinguish true from false ideas; the thing that your lordship is thus showing. For I may have a criterion to distinguish true from false ideas, though that criterion concern not names at all. For your lordship, in this proposition, allowing none to be ideas, but what are representations; the other, which you say are nothing but names, are not concerned in the criterion, that is to distinguish true from false ideas : because it relates to nothing but ideas, and the distinguishing of them one from another; unless true and false ideas can be any thing but ideas, i.e. ideas and not ideas at the same time.
But farther, I crave leave to answer, that your lordship's proposition, viz. “ that these ideas are really nothing but names, if they be not the representations
of things," seems to me no consequence from my words, to which it is subjoined, though it is introduced with “so that:" for, methinks, it carries something like a contradiction in it. I say, “most of our simple ideas of sensation are not the likeness of something without us :" your lordship infers, “ if so, these ideas are really nothing but names;" which, as it seems to me, is as much as to say, these ideas, that are ideas, are not ideas, but names only. Methinks they might be allowed to be ideas, and that is all they pretend to be, though they do not resemble that which produces them. I cannot help thinking a son something really more than a bare name, though he has not the luck to resemble his father, who begot him: and the black and blue which I see I cannot conclude but to be something besides the words black and blue (wherever your lordship shall place that something, either in my perception only, or in my skin) though it resemble not at all the stone, that with a knock produced it.
Should your lordship put your two hands, whereof one is hot and the other cold, into lukewarm water; it would be hard to think that the idea of heat produced in you by one of your hands, and the idea of cold by the other, were the likenesses and very resemblances of something in the same water, since the same water could not be capable of having at the same time such real contrarieties. Wherefore since, as it is evident, they cannot be representations of any thing in the water, it follows by your lordship’s doctrine here, that if
you should declare what you feel, viz. that you feel heat and cold in that water, viz. heat by one hand, and cold by the other; you mean nothing by heat and cold: heat and cold in the case are nothing but names; and your lordship, in truth, feels nothing but these two names.
Your lordship, in the next place, proceeds to examine my way of demonstration. Whether you do this to show that I have no criterion, whereby to distinguish true from false ideas; or to show, “that my way of certainty by ideas is inconsistent with the certainty of deductions by reason;" (for these were the things you seemed to me to have undertaken to show, and