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CURSORY REFLECTIONS

Upon a Book call'd,

An ESSAY concerning Human

Understanding

SIR,

OU obliged me so highly by ac

quainting me with the PublicaY

tion of so rare a Curiosity as Mr. Lock’s Book, that should I dispute your Commands when you

defire my Opinion of it, I should hazard the Credit of my Gratitude, as much as

ill discharging them I am like to do that of my Judgment. This, Sir, already reduces me to an even Poise. But to this the just Authority you have over me, and the Right your other Obligations give you to all the Service I can do, being added, and thrown into the Scale, do quite weigh it down, and leave no room for any Deliberation, whether I should obey you or no. Without therefore any further

Demur

by my

Demur or Delay I shall apply my self to the Task you set me, in giving you my Free Cenfure of Mr. Lock's Effay, which I shall do by refccting upon

what I think most liable to Exception in the same Order as the things lie before me.

INTRODUCTION, Pag. 1. Sect. 1. The Onderstanding like the Eye, whilft it makes us fee and perceive all other things takes no notice of it self. What the Ingenious Author intends in this period, or how to make out any consistent Sense of it, I do not understand. For if his meaning be, That the Understanding while it is intent upon other things, cannot at that time take notice of it self; this comes to no more, than that when 'tis intent upon one thing it cannot attend to another, which is too easily and obviously true of all Finite Powers to be any great Discovery. But if his meaning be (as it rather seems, because of the Particle (All) and the Comparison here used) that the Understanding like the Eye, tho' it makes us see all other things, yet it takes no notice of it felf, then 'tis a Contradiction to his whole following Work, which upon this Supposition must needs be very unaccountably undertaken.

INT. Pag. 2. Sect. 3. First I shall enquire into the Original of those Ideas whicha Man observes, &c. But sure by all the Laws of Method in the World, he ought first to have Defined what he meant by Ideas, and to have acquainted us with their Nature, before he proceeded to account for their Origination. For how can any Proposition be form’d with any Certainty concerning an Idea, that it is or is not Innate, that it does or does not come in at the Senses, before the meaning of the word Idea be stated, and the nature of the thing, at least in general, be understood? If the Nature of Ideas were but once made known, our Disputes would quickly be at an end concerning their Original, whether from the Senses or not: But till that be done, all further Discourse about them is but to talk in the Dark. This therefore ought to have been his first, and indeed main Business to have given us an account of the Nature of Ideas. And yet this is not only neglected in its proper Place, but wholly omitted and passed over in deep Silence; which I cannot but remark, as a Fundamental Defect in this work.

form’d

In the Three following Chapters our Author sets himself to prove that there are no Innate Principles. But before I consider whether there be or no, I premise this double Remark. First, That a thing may be false in it self, and yet not so because, or in virtue of such an Argument. Secondly, That tho' a thing be really false, yet it may not become such a Man to deny the Existence of it, who by some other Principles of his may

be obliged to hold the contrary. The first of these argues the Writer guilty of Inconsequence. The Second of Inconsistency. Upon both which accounts this otherwise very ingenious Writer seems in this part to be chargeable. Which from the Sequel I leave to be collected.

· His First Argument against Innate Principles is taken from the want of Universal Consent. There are (says he, Pag. 5. Sect. 4.) no Principles to which all Mankind give an universal Asent. But in the first place how can this Author say so, fince in several Places afterwards he resolves that ready and prone Afsent which is given to certain Propofitions upon the firft Proposal, into the Self-evidence of them? There are then even according to him Self-evident Propositions. And will he say that Self-evident Propositions are not universally assented to? How then are they Selfevident? "There must be therefore, according to himn, fome Principles to which all Mankind do give an universal Consent. I do not say that this proves them Innate, but only that there are such Propositions.

Well, but how does he prove there are no such ? Why, he instances in some of the most Celebrated, and says, Pag. 5. Sect. 5. That All Children and Ideots have not the least apprehenfion or thought of them; and the want of that is enough to destroy universal Confent. Now I always thought that Universality of Consent had been sufficiently secured by the Consent of all, and the Dissent of none that were capable of either. And what then have we to do with Ideots and Children? Do any or all of these dissent or think otherwise? No, that he will not say, because they think not at all, having (as he says) not the least Apprehension or Thought of them.. And how then does the want of their Suffrage destroy universal Consent,

when

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