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bly to offer it to your lordship, that there is not any such confession. However, you go on to prove it. The proposition then to be proved is, that “I confess that these are far from being self-evident ideas." It is necessary to set it down, and carry it in our minds; for the proposition to be proved is, 1 find, a very slippery thing, and apt to slide out of the way.
Your lordship's proof is, that according to me, "we can have no intuition of these things which are so obvious to us, and consequently we can have no selfevident ideas of them." The force of which proof, I confess, I do not understand. “We have no intuition of the obvious thing matter, and the obvious thing motion; ergo, we have no self-evident ideas of them.” Granting that they are obvious things, and that obvious as they are, we have, as you express it, no intuition of them; it will not follow from thence, that we have no intuition of the ideas we signify by the names matter and motion, and so have no self-evident ideas of them. For whoever has in his mind an idea, which he makes the name matter or motion stand for, has no doubt that idea there, and sees, or has, in your phrase, an intuition of it there, and so has a self-evident idea of it, if intuition, according to your lordship, makes a self-evident idea (for of self-evident ideas, as I have before remarked, I have said nothing, nor made any such distinction as self-evident and not self-evident ideas) and if intuition of an idea does not make a self-evident idea, the want of it is in vain brought here to prove the idea of matter or motion not self-evident.
But your lordship proceeds to instances, and your first instance is in matter : and here, for fear of mistaking, let us remember what the proposition to be proved is, viz. that, “ according to me, we have no intuition,
call it, of the idea of matter." Your lordship begins and tells me, that I give this account of the idea of matter, that “it consists in a solid substance, every where the same." Whereupon you tell me, “you would be glad to come to a certain knowledge of these two things; first, the manner of the cohesion of the parts of matter, and the demonstration of the
divisibility of it in the way of ideas.” Answer. It happened just as I feared, the proposition' to be proved is slipt already quite out of sight: you own that I say matter is a solid substance, every where the same. This idea, which is the idea signified by the word matter, I have in my mind, and have an intuition of it there: how then does this prove, that according to me," there can be no intuition of the idea of matter ?” Leaving therefore this proposition, which was to be proved, you bring places out of my book to show, that we do not know wherein the union and cohesion of the parts of matter consist; and that the divisibility of matter involves us in difficulties : neither of which either is, or proves, that “ according to me, we cannot have an intuition of the idea of matter;" which was the proposition to be proved, and seems quite forgotten during the three following pages, wholly employed upon this instance of matter. You ask indeed, “whether I can imagine, that we have intuition into the idea of matter ?” But those words seem to me to signify quite another thing than having an intuition of the idea of matter, as appears by your explication of them in these words subjoined: “ or that it is possible to come to a demonstration about it, by the help of any intervening ideas :" whereby it seems to me plain, that by intuition into it, your lordship means “ demonstration about it," i. e. some knowledge concerning matter, and not a bare view or intuition of the idea you have of it. And that your lordship speaks of knowledge concerning some affection of matter, in this and the following question, and not of the bare intuition of the idea of matter, is farther evident from the introduction of your two questions, wherein you say, “ there are two things concerning matter, that you would be glad to come to a certain knowledge of.” So that all that can follow, or in your sense of them does follow, from my words quoted by you, is, that I own, that the cohesion of its parts is an affection of matter that is hard to be explained; but from them it can neither be inferred, nor does your lordship attempt to infer, that any one cannot view or have an intuition of the idea he has in his own mind,
which he signifies to others by the word ‘matter: and that you did not make any such inference from them is farther plain by your asking, in the place above quoted, not only “whether I can imagine, that it is possible to come to a demonstration about it;" but your lordship also adds,“ by the help of any intervening ideas.” For I do not think you demand a demonstration by the help of intervening ideas, to make you see, i. e. have an intuition of your own idea of matter. It would misbecome me to understand your lordship in so strange a sense; for then you might have just occasion to ask me again, “ whether I could think you a man of so little sense ?” I therefore suppose, as your words import, that you demand a demonstration by the help of intervening ideas to show you, how the parts of that thing, which you represent to yourself by that idea, to which you give the name matter, cohere together; which is nothing to the question of the intuition of the idea : though, to cover the change of the question as dexterously as might be, “ intuition of the idea” is changed into “ intuition into the idea ;” as if there were no difference between looking upon a watch, and looking into a watch, i. e. between the idea that, taken from an obvious view, I signify by the name watch, and have in my mind when I use the word watch; and the being able to resolve any question that may be proposed to me, concerning the inward make and contrivance of a watch. The idea which taken from the outward visible parts I give the name watch to, I perceive or have an intuition of, in my mind equally, whether or no I know any thing more of a watch than what is represented in that idea.
Upon this change of the question, all that follows to the bottom of the next page being to show, that from what I say it follows that there be many difficulties concerning matter which I cannot resolve; many questions concerning it which I think cannot be demonstratively decided ; and not to show, that any one cannot perceive, or have an intuition, as you call it, of his own idea of matter: I think I need not trouble your lordship with an answer to it.
In this one instance of matter, you have been pleased to ask me two hard questions. To shorten your trouble concerning this business of intuition of ideas, will you, my lord, give me leave to ask you this one easy question concerning all your four instances, matter, motion, duration, and light, viz. what you mean by these four words? That your lordship may not suspect it to be either captious or impertinent, I will tell you the use I shall make of it: if your lordship tell me what you mean by these names, I shall presently reply, that there then are the ideas that you have of them in
your mind; and it is plain you see or have an intuition of them, as they are in your mind, or, as I should have expressed it, perceive them as they are there, because you can tell them to another. And so it is with every one, who can tell what he means by those words; and therefore to all such (amongst which I crave leave to be one) there can be no doubt of the intuition of those ideas. But if your lordship will not tell me what you mean by these terms, I fear you will be thought to use very hard measure in disputing, by demanding to be satisfied concerning questions put in terms, which you yourself cannot tell the meaning of.
This considered, will perhaps serve to show, that all that you say in the following paragraphs, to n. 2, p. 141, contains nothing against intuition of ideas, which is what you are upon, though it be no notion of mine; much less does it contain any thing against my way of demonstration by ideas, which is the point under proof. For,
1. What your lordship has said about the idea of matter hath been considered already.
2. From motion, which is your second instance, your argument stands thus: that because I say, the definitions I meet with of motion are insignificant, therefore the idea fails us. This seems to me a strange consequence; and all one as to say, that a deaf and dumb man, because he could not understand the words used in the definitions that are given of motion, therefore he could not have the idea of motion, or the idea of motion failed him. And yet this consequence, as foreign as it is to
that antecedent, is forced from it to no purpose: the proposition to be inferred being this, that then“ can have no intuition of the idea of motion."
3. As to time, though the intuition of the idea of time be not my way of speaking, yet what your lordship here infers from my words, granting it to be a right inference, with submission, proves nothing against the intuition of that idea. The proposition to be proved is, “ that we can have no intuition of the idea of time;" and the proposition which from my words you infer is, “ that we have not the knowledge of the idea of time by intuition, but by rational deduction.” What can be more remote than these two propositions ? The one of them signifying (if it signifies any thing) the view the mind has of it; the other, as I guess, the original and rise of it. For “ what it is to have the knowledge of an idea, not by intuition, but by deduction of reason," I confess I do not well understand; only I am sure, in terms it is not the same with having the intuition of an idea: but if changing of terms were not some men's privilege, perhaps so much controversy would not be written. The meaning of either of these propositions I concern not myself about, for neither of them is mine. I only here show, that you do not prove the proposition that you yourself framed, and under
took to prove.
Since, my lord, you are so favourable to me, as to seem willing to correct whatever you can find any way amiss in my Essay: therefore I shall endeavour to satisfy you concerning the rise of our idea of duration, from the succession of ideas in our minds. Against this, though it be nothing to the matter in hand, you object, “ that some people reckoned succession of time right by knots, and notches, and figures, without ever thinking of ideas.” Answer. It is certain that men, who wanted better ways, might, by knots or notches, keep accounts of the numbers of certain stated lengths of time, as well as of the numbers of men in their country, or of any other numbers; and that too without ever considering the immediate objects of their thoughts under the name of ideas: but that they should