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as the other. This, though very hard to my understanding, must be really so, if every distinct, common, or general nature, be a real being, that really exists any where, but in the understanding : “common nature, taken in my way of ideas, your lordship truly says,
will not make me understand such a common nature, as you speak of, which subsists in several individuals, because I can have no ideas of real substances, but such as are particular; all others are only abstract ideas, and made only by the act of the mind.” But what your lordship farther promises there, I find, to my sorrow, does not hold, viz. that in your lordship’s way (as far as you have discovered it) which you call “ the way of reason, I may come to a better understanding of this matter."
Your lordship in the next paragraph declares yourself really ashamed to be put to explain these things, that which you had said being so very plain and easy: and yet I am not ashamed to own,“ that for my life” I cannot understand them, as they are now farther explained. Your lordship thinks it proved, that every common nature is a real being : let it be so, that it is the subject of real properties, and that thereby it is demonstrated to be a real being; this makes it harder for me to conceive, that this common nature of a man, which is a real being, and but one, should yet be really in Peter, in James, and in John. Had Amphitruo been able to conceive this, he had not been so much puzzled, or thought Sosia to talk idly, when he told him, domi ego sum inquam et apud te adsum Sosia idem. For the common nature of man is a real being, as your lordship says, and Sosia is no more: and he that can conceive any one and the same real being to be in divers places at once, can have no difficulty to conceive it of another real being. And so Sosia may at the same time be at home, and with his master abroad: and Amphitruo might have been ashamed to demand the explication of so plain a matter; or at least, if he had stuck a little at here and there too, ought he not to have been satisfied, as soon as Sosia had told him, I am another distinct I, here, from the same I, that I am
there? Which, no doubt, Sosia could have made out: let your lordship’s countryman chop logic with him, and try whether he cannot. Countryman. But how is it possible, Sosia, that thou the real same, as thou sayest, should be at home and here too? Sosia. Very easily, because I am really the same, and yet distinct. Countryman. How can this be? Sosia. By a trick that I have. Countryman. Canst thou teach me the trick ? Sosia. Yes: it is but for thee to get a particular subsistence
proper to thy real self at home, and another particular subsistence proper to thy same real self abroad, and the business is done: thou wilt then easily be the same real thing, and distinct from thyself; and thou mayest be in as many places together, as thou canst get particular subsistences, and be still the same one real being. Countryman. But what is that particular subsistence ? Sosia. Hold
friend, that's the secret! I thought once it was a particular existence, but that I find is an ineffectual drug, and will not do: every one sees it will not make the same real being distinct from itself, nor bring it into two different places at once, and therefore it is laid aside, and subsistence is taken to do the feat. Countryman. Existence my boy's schoolmaster made me understand, the other day, when my gray mare foaled. For he told me that a horse, that never was before, began then to exist; and when the poor foal died, he told me the same horse ceased to exist. Sosia. But did he tell thee what became of the real common nature of a horse, that was in it, when the foal died? Countryman. No: but this I know, that my real horse was really destroyed. Sosia. There's now thy ignorance! So much of thy horse as had a real existence was really destroyed, that's true: but there was something in thy horse, which, having a real particular subsistence, was not destroyed: nay, and the best part of thy horse too; for it was that, which had in it all those properties that made thy horse better than a broomstick. Countryman. Thou tell'st me wonders of this same subsistence; what, I pray thee, is it? Sosia. I beg your pardon for that; it is the very philosopher's stone: those who are adepti, and can do
strange things with it, are wiser than to tell what it is. Countryman. Where may it be bought then? Sosia. That I know not: but I will tell thee where thou mayest meet with it. Countryman. Where? Sosia. In some of the shady thickets of the schoolmen; and it is worth the looking after. For if particular subsistence has such a power over a real being, as to make one and the same real being to be distinct, and in divers places at once, it may perhaps be able to give thee an account what becomes of that real nature of thy horse after thy horse is dead; and if thou canst but find whither that retires, who knows but thou mayest get as useful a thing as thy horse again ? since to that real nature of thy horse inseparably adhere the shape and motion, and other properties of thy horse.
I hope, my lord, your countryman will not be displeased to have met with Sosia to chop !ogic with, who, I think, has made it as intelligible, how his real self might be the same and distinct, and be really in distinct places at once, by the help of a particular subsistence proper to him in each place; as it is intelligible how any real being under the name of a common nature, or under any
other name bestowed upon it, may be the same and distinct, and really be in divers places at once, by the help of a particular subsistence proper to each of those distinct sames. At least, if I may answer for myself, I understand one as well as the other: and if my head be turned from common sense (as I find your lordship very apt to think) so that it is great news to you that I understand any thing; if in my way of ideas I cannot understand words, that
appear to me either to stand for no ideas, or to be so joined, that they put inconsistent ideas together ; I think
your lordship uses me right, to turn me off for desperate, and “ leave me, as you do, to the reader's understanding."
To your lordship’s many questions concerning men and drills, in the paragraph where you begin to explain what my friend and I found difficult in your discourse concerning person;
I answer, that these two names, man and drill, are perfectly arbitrary, whether founded
on real distinct properties or no: so perfectly arbitrary, that, if men had pleased, drill might have stood for what man now does, and vice versa. I answer farther, that these two names stand for two abstract ideas, which are (to those who know what they mean by these two names) the distinct essences of two distinct kinds; and as particular existences, or things existing are found by men (who know what they mean by these names) to agree to either of those ideas, which these names stand for; these names respectively are applied to those particular things, and the things said to be of that kind. This I have so fully and at large explained in my Essay, that I should have thought it needless to have said any thing again of it here, had it not been to show my readiness to answer any questions you shall be pleased to ask concerning any thing I have writ, which your lordship either finds difficult, or has forgot.
In the next place, your lordship comes to clear what you had said in answer to this question put by yourself, “ what is this distinction of Peter, James, and John founded upon ?" To which you answered, “ that they may be distinguished from each other by our senses, as to difference of features, distance of place, &c. But that is not all; for supposing there was no external difference, yet there is a difference between them, as several individuals in the same common nature.” These words when my friend and I came to consider, we owned, as your lordship here takes notice, that we could understand no more by them but this, “ that the ground of distinction between several individuals in the same common nature is, that they are several individuals in the same common nature.” Hereupon your lordship tells me, “ the question now is, what this distinction is founded upon ? whether on our observing the difference of features, distance of place, &c. or on some antecedent ground."
Pursuant hereunto, as if this were the question, you in the next paragraph (as far as I can understand it) make the ground of the distinction between these individuals, or the principium individuationis, to be
the union of the soul and body. But with submission, my lord, the question is, whether I and
friend were to blame, because when your lordship, in the words above-cited, having removed all other grounds of distinction, said, “ there was yet a difference between Peter and James, as several individuals in the same common nature;" we could understand no more by it but “this, that the ground of distinction between several individuals in the same common nature is, that they are several individuals in the same common nature.
Let the ground that your lordship now assigns of the distinction of individuals be what it will, or let what you say be as clear as you please, viz. that the ground of their distinction is in the union of soul and body; it will, I humbly conceive, be nevertheless true, that what you said before might amount to no more but this, " that the ground of the distinction between several individuals in the same common nature is, that they are several individuals in the same common nature :" and therefore we might not be to blame for so understanding it. For the words which our understandings were then employed about, were those which you had there said, and not those which you would say five months after : though I must own, that those which your lordship here says concerning the distinction of individuals, leave it as much in the dark to me as what you said before. But perhaps I do not understand your lordship’s words right, because I conceive that the principium individuationis is the same in all the several species of creatures, men as well as others; and therefore if the union of soul and body be that which distinguishes two individuals in the human species one from another, I know not how two cherries, or two atoms of matter, can be distinct individuals ; since I think there is in them no union of a soul and body. And upon this ground it will be very hard to tell what made the soul and the body individuals (as certainly they were) before their union.
But I shall leave what your lordship says concerning this matter to the examination of those, whose health