« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Mr. Locke to Mr. MOLYNEUX.
Oates, Jan. 20, 1692-9. HAD I known I should, within so few days, have received the favour of such a letter as yours of Dec. 22, I should not have troubled you with mine, that went hence but a little before the receipt of yours. I was afraid, in reading the beginning of yours, that I had not so great an interest in you as I flattered myself, and upon a presumption whereof it was, that I took the liberty so confidently to ask your advice, concerning - the second edition of my book. But what followed
satisfied me, that it was your civility, and not reserved. ness, made you tell me, that the same hand, which first formed it, is best able to reform it. Could I flatter myself so, as to think I deserved all that you say of me, in your obliging letter, I should yet think you a better judge of what is to be reformed in my book, thap I myself. You have given the world proofs of your great penetration, and I have received great marks of your candour, But were the inequality between us as much to my advantage, as it is on the other side, I should nevertheless beg your opinion, Whatsoever is our own, let us do-what we can, stands a little too near us to be viewed as it should: and, though we ever so sincerely aim at truth, yet our own thoughts, judging still of our own thoughts, may be suspected to overlook errours and mistakes. And I should think he valued himself more than truth, and presumed too much on his own abilities, who would not be willing to have all the exceptions could be made, by any ingenious friend, before he ventured any thing into the public. I therefore heartily thank you, for those you have sent me, and for consulting some of your friends, to the same purpose : and beg the favour, if any thing more occurs from your own thoughts, or from them, you will be pleased to communicate it to me, if it be but those errata typographica you meet with, not taken notice of in the table, I confess, I thought some of the explications
in my book too long, though turned several ways to make those abstract notions the easier sink into minds prejudiced in the ordinary way of education; and there. fore I was of a mind to contract it. But finding you, and some other friends of mine, whom I consulted in the case of a contrary opinion, and that you judge the redundancy in it a pardonable fault, I shall take very Jittle pains to reform it.
I confess what I say, page 270, compared with 314, 315, may, to an unwary reader, seem to contain a contradiction: but you, considering right, perceive that there is none. But it not being reasonable for me to expect, that every body should read me with that judge ment you do, and observe the design and foundation of what I say, rather than stiek barely in the words, it is fit, as far as may be, that I accommodate myself to ordinary readers, and avoid the appearances of contradiction, even in their thoughts. P. 314, I suppose matter in its own natural state, void of thought; a supposition I concluded would not be denied me, or not hard to be proved, if it should: and thence I in. ferred, matter could not be the first eternal being. But, page 270, I thought it no absurdity, or contradiction, to suppose, « that, a thinking, omnipotent being once “ granted, such a being might annex to some systems « of matter ordered in a way, that he thought fit, a “ capacity, of some degrees of sense and thinking." To avoid this appearance of a contradiction, in my two suppositions, and clear it up to less attentive readers, I intend in the second edition to alter it thus, if you think it will do: * P. 270, 1. 20, read, “ For I see no contradiction in * it, that the first, eternal, thinking being, or omni66 potent spirit, should, if he pleased, give to certain $ systems of created, senseless matter, put together as - he thinks fit, some degrees of sense, perception, and
& thought, though I judge it no less than a contradice ution, to suppose matter (which is evidently, in its 6 own nature, without sense and thought) should be
the eternal, first, thinking being. What certainty of knowledge can any one have, that some percep“ tions, such as, v. g. pleasure and pain, should not be 6 in some bodies themselves after"
P. 315, I. 5, read, “ Thought can never begin to “ be; for it is impossible to conceive that matter, either « with or without motion, could have originally, in « and from itself, sense, perception, and knowledge ; " as is evident from hence, that sense, perception, and “ knowledge must then be a property eternally inse« parable from matter and every particle of it. Not “ to add, that though our general or specific conceps6 tion of matter makes us speak of it as one thing; “ yet really all matter is not one individual thing, “ neither is there any such thing existing as one mate“ rial being, or one body, that we know or can con. « ceive. And therefore, if matter were the eternal, “ first, cogitative being, there would not be one eternal, “ infinite, cogitative being: but an infinite number of “ finite, cogitative beings independent one of another, “ of limited force and distinct thoughts, which could “ never produce that order, harmony, and beauty, is to “ be found in nature. Since, therefore, whatsoever is “ the first, eternal being must necessarily be cogitative: " and whatsoever is first of all things higher degree 6 it necessarily follows, that the eternal, first being “ cannot be matter." Pray, give me your opinion, whether, if I print it thus, it will not remove the appearance of any contradiction.
I do not wonder to find you think my discourse about liberty a little too fine spun; I had so much that thought of it myself, that I said the same thing of it to some of my friends, before it was printed, and told them, that upon that account I judged it best to leave it out; but they persuaded me to the contrary. When the connexion of the parts of my subject brought me to the consideration of power, I had no design to meddle with the question of liberty; but barely pursued my thoughts in the contemplation of that power in man of choosing, or preferring, which we call the will, as far as they would lead me, without any the least bias to
one side, or other; or, if there was any leaning in · my mind, it was rather to the contrary side of that, where I found myself at the end of my pursuit. But doubting that it bore a little too hard uron man's liberty, I showed it to a very ingenious but professed Arminian, and desired him, after he had considered it, to tell me his objections, if he had any, who frankly confessed he could carry it no farther. I confess, I think there might be something said, which with a great many men would pass for a satisfactory answer to your objection; but it not satisfying me, I neither put it into my book, nor shall now into my letter. If I have put any fallacy on myself, in all that deduction, as it may be, and I have been ready to suspect it myself, you will do me a very acceptable kindness to show it me, that I may reform it. But if you will argue for, or against, liberty from consequences, I will not undertake to answer you. For I own freely to you the weakness of my understanding, that though it be unquestionable, that there is omnipotence and omniscience in God, our maker, and I cannot have a clearer perception of any thing, than that I am free; yet I cannot make freedom in man consistent with omnipotence and omniscience in God, though I am às fully as persuaded of both, as of any truths I most firmly assent to. And, therefore, I have long since given off the consideration of that question, resolving all into this short conclusion, that if it be possible for God to make a free agent, then man is free, though I see not the way of it.
In the objection you raise about species, I fear you are fallen into the same difficulty I often found myself under, when I was writing on that subject, where I was very apt to suppose distinct species I could talk of, without names. For pray, sir, consider what it is you mean, when you say, that " we can no more doubt of
a sparrow's being a bird, and a horse's being a beast, « than we can of this colour being black, and the & other white,” &c. but this, that the combination of simple ideas, which the word, bird, stands for, is to be found in that particular thing we call a spárrów. And therefore I hope I have no-where said, “ there is no « such sort of creatures in nature, as birds;" if I have, it is both contrary to truth and to my opinion. This I
do say, that there are real constitutions in things, from whence these simple ideas flow, which we observe combined in them. And this I farther say, that there are real distinctions and differences in those real constitutions, one from another; whereby they are distinguished one from another, whether we think of them, or name them, or no: but that that whereby we distinguish and rank particular substances into sorts, or genera and species, is not those real essenses, or internal constitutions, but such combinations of simple ideas, as we observe in them. This I designed to show, in lib. iij. c. 6. If, upon your perusal of that chapter again, you find any thiing contrary to this, I beg the favour of you to mark it to me, that I may correct it; for it is not what I think true. Some parts of that third book, concerning words, though the thoughts were easy and clear enough, yet cost me more pains to express, than all the rest of my essay. And therefore I shall not much wonder, if there be in some places of it obscurity and doubtful. ness. It would be a great kindness from my readers to oblige me, as you have done, by telling me any thing they find amiss ; for the printed book being more for others use than my own, it is fit I should accommodate it to that, as much as I can; which truly is my intention...
That which you propose, of turning my essay into a body of logic and metaphysics, accommodated to the usual forms, though I thank you very kindly for it, and plainly see in it the care you have of the education of young scholars, which is a thing of no small moment; yet I fear I shall scarce find time to do it: you have cut out other work for me, more to my liking, and I think of more use. Besides that, if they have, in this book of mine, what you think the matter of these two sciences, or what you will call them; I like the method it is in, better than that of the schools, where I think it is no small prejudice to knowledge, that predicaments, predicables, &c. being universally, in all their systems, come to be looked on as necessary principles, or unquestionable parts of knowledge, just as they are set down there. If logic be the first thing to