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<head><title>Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous
in opposition to Sceptics and Atheists</title>
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<div class="maketitle">
<h2 class="titleHead">Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous<br />
in opposition to Sceptics and Atheists</h2>
<div class="author" ><span
class="cmr-12">George Berkeley</span></div><br />
<div class="date" ></div>
<div class="center"
<!--l. 51--><p class="noindent" >
<div class="minipage"><!--l. 53--><p class="noindent" >Copyright copyright2010&#8211;2015 All rights reserved. Jonathan Bennett
<!--l. 56--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>enclose editorial explanations. Small <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>enclose material that
has been added, but can be read as though it were part of the original text.
Occasional <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull; </span>bullets, and also indenting of passages that are not quotations,
are meant as aids to grasping the structure of a sentence or a thought.
<!--l. 63--><p class="noindent" >First launched: July 2004 Last amended: November
<h3 class="likesectionHead"><a
<div class="tableofcontents">
<span class="sectionToc" ><a
href="#Q1-1-3">The First Dialogue</a></span>
<br /> <span class="sectionToc" ><a
href="#Q1-1-5">The Second Dialogue</a></span>
<br /> <span class="sectionToc" ><a
href="#Q1-1-7">The Third Dialogue</a></span>
<div class="center"
<!--l. 5--><p class="noindent" >
<h3 class="likesectionHead"><a
id="x1-2000"></a>The First Dialogue</h3>
<!--l. 13--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Philonous: </span>Good morning, Hylas: I didn&#8217;t expect to find you out and about so
<!--l. 15--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hylas: </span>It is indeed somewhat unusual: but my thoughts were so taken up with a subject I
was talking about last night that I couldn&#8217;t sleep, so I decided to get up and walk in the
<!--l. 17--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>That&#8217;s good! It gives you a chance to see what innocent and agreeable pleasures you
lose every morning. Can there be a pleasanter time of the day, or a more delightful season
of the year? That purple sky, those wild but sweet notes of birds, the fragrant
bloom on the trees and flowers, the gentle influence of the rising sun, these and
a thousand nameless beauties of nature inspire the soul with secret raptures.
But I&#8217;m afraid I am interrupting your thoughts; for you seemed very intent on
<!--l. 19--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, I was, and I&#8217;d be grateful if you would allow me to carry on with it. But I don&#8217;t
in the least want to deprive myself of your company, for my thoughts always flow more
easily in conversation with a friend than when I am alone. Please, may I share with you
the thoughts I have been having?
<!--l. 21--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>With all my heart! It is what I would have requested myself, if you hadn&#8217;t asked
<!--l. 23--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I was considering the odd fate of those men who have in all ages, through a desire to
mark themselves off from the common people or through heaven knows what trick of their
thought, claimed either to believe nothing at all or to believe the most extravagant things
in the world. This wouldn&#8217;t matter so much if their paradoxes and scepticism didn&#8217;t bring
consequences that are bad for mankind in general. But there&#8217;s a risk that they <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">will </span>do
that, and that when men who are thought to have spent their whole time in the pursuit of
knowledge claim to be entirely ignorant of everything, or advocate views that are in
conflict with plain and commonly accepted principles, this will tempt other
people&#8212;who have less leisure for this sort of thing&#8212;to become suspicious of
the most important truths, ones they had previously thought to be sacred and
<!--l. 25--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I entirely agree with you about the bad effects of the paraded doubts of some
philosophers and the fantastical views of others. I have felt this so strongly in recent
times that I have dropped some of the high-flown theories I had learned in their
universities, replacing them with ordinary common opinions. Since this revolt of mine
against metaphysical notions and in favour of the plain dictates of nature and
common sense, I swear that I find I can think ever so much better, so that I
can now easily understand many things which previously were mysteries and
<!--l. 27--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I am glad to find there was nothing in the accounts I heard of you.
<!--l. 29--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What, if you please, were they?
<!--l. 31--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>In last night&#8217;s conversation you were represented as someone who maintains the
most extravagant opinion that ever entered into the mind of man, namely that there is no
such thing as <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">material substance </span>in the world.
<!--l. 33--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I seriously believe that there is no such thing as what philosophers call &#8216;material
substance&#8217;; but if I were made to see anything absurd or sceptical in this, then I would
have the same reason to renounce this belief as I think I have now to reject the contrary
<!--l. 35--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What! can anything be more fantastical, more in conflict with common sense, or
a more obvious piece of scepticism, than to believe there is no such thing as
<!--l. 37--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Steady on, Hylas! What if it were to turn out that you who hold that
there <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">is </span>matter are&#8212;by virtue of that opinion&#8212;a greater sceptic, and maintain
more paradoxes and conflicts with common sense, than I who believe no such
<!--l. 39--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You have as good a chance of convincing me that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">the part is greater than the whole</span>
as of convincing me that I must give up my belief in matter if I am to avoid absurdity and
<!--l. 41--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well then, are you content to accept as true any opinion that turns out to be the
most agreeable to common sense, and most remote from scepticism?
<!--l. 43--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>With all my heart. Since you want to start arguments about the plainest things in
the world, I am content for once to hear what you have to say.
<!--l. 45--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, please, Hylas: what do you mean by a &#8216;sceptic&#8217;?
<!--l. 47--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I mean what everyone means, &#8216;someone who doubts everything&#8217;.
<!--l. 49--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So if someone has no doubts concerning some particular point, then with regard to
that point he cannot be thought a sceptic.
<!--l. 51--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree with you.
<!--l. 53--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Does doubting consist in accepting the affirmative or the negative side of a
<!--l. 55--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Neither. Anyone who understands English must know that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">doubting </span>signifies a
suspense between the two sides.
<!--l. 57--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So if someone <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">denies </span>any point, he can no more be said to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">doubt </span>concerning it than
he who <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">affirms </span>it with the same degree of assurance.
<!--l. 59--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True.
<!--l. 61--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And so his denial no more makes him a sceptic than the other is.
<!--l. 63--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I acknowledge it.
<!--l. 65--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then how does it happen, Hylas, that you call me a sceptic because I deny what
you affirm, namely the existence of matter? For all you know, I may be as firmly
convinced in my denial as you are in your affirmation.
<!--l. 67--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Hold on a moment, Philonous. My definition of &#8216;sceptic&#8217; was wrong; but you can&#8217;t
hold a man to every false step he makes in conversation. I did say that a sceptic is
someone who doubts everything; but I should have added, &#8216;&#x2026;or who denies the reality and
truth of things&#8217;.
<!--l. 69--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What things? Do you mean the principles and theorems of sciences? But these, you
know, are universal intellectual notions, and have nothing to do with <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">matter</span>, so that the
denial of matter doesn&#8217;t imply the denial of them.
<!--l. 71--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree about that. But what about other things? What do you think about
distrusting the senses, denying the real existence of sensible things, or claiming to know
nothing of them? Isn&#8217;t that enough to qualify a man as a sceptic? <span
class="cmr-9">Throughout the</span>
class="cmr-9">, &#8216;sensible&#8217; means &#8216;capable of being sensed&#8217;&#8212;that is, visible or audible or tangible</span>
<!--l. 73--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, let us see which of us it is that denies the reality of sensible things, or
claims to have the greatest ignorance of them; since, if I understand you rightly, he is to
be counted the greater sceptic.
<!--l. 75--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is what I desire.<a
<!--l. 77--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What do you mean by &#8216;sensible things&#8217;?
<!--l. 79--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Things that are perceived by the senses. Can you imagine that I mean anything
<!--l. 81--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I&#8217;m sorry, but it may greatly shorten our enquiry if I have a clear grasp of your
notions. Bear with me, then, while I ask you this further question. Are things &#8216;perceived
by the senses&#8217; only the ones that are perceived <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">immediately</span>? Or do they include things
that are perceived <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">mediately</span>, that is, through the intervention of something
<!--l. 83--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t properly understand you.
<!--l. 85--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>In reading a book, what I <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">immediately </span>perceive are the letters <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>on the page<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, but
class="cmti-10x-x-109">mediately </span>or <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">by means of these </span>the notions of God, virtue, truth, etc. are suggested to my
mind. Now, there&#8217;s no doubt that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the letters are truly sensible things, or things
perceived by sense; but I want to know whether you take <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the things suggested by them
to be &#8216;perceived by sense&#8217; too.
<!--l. 87--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No, certainly, it would be absurd to think that God or virtue are sensible things,
though they may be signified and suggested to the mind by sensible marks with which
they have an arbitrary connection.
<!--l. 89--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It seems then, that by &#8216;sensible things&#8217; you mean only those that can be perceived
immediately by sense.
<!--l. 91--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 93--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Doesn&#8217;t it follow from this that when I see one part of the sky red and another
blue, and I infer from this that there must be some cause for that difference
of colours, that cause cannot be said to be a &#8216;sensible thing&#8217; or perceived by
<!--l. 95--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It does.
<!--l. 97--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Similarly, when I hear a variety of sounds I cannot be said to hear their
<!--l. 99--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You cannot.
<!--l. 101--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And when by touch I feel a thing to be hot and heavy, I can&#8217;t say with any truth or
correctness that I feel the cause of its heat or weight.
<!--l. 103--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>To head off any more questions of this kind, I tell you once and for all that by
&#8216;sensible things&#8217; I mean only things that are perceived by sense, and that the senses
perceive only what they perceive <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">immediately</span>; because they don&#8217;t make inferences. So the
deducing of causes or occasions from effects and appearances (which are the only things
we perceive by sense) is entirely the business of reason. <span
class="cmr-9">In this context, &#8216;occasion&#8217; can</span>
class="cmr-9">be taken as equivalent to &#8216;cause&#8217;. The two terms are separated in the Second Dialogue at</span>
class="cmr-9">46</span><!--tex4ht:ref: occasion --></a><span
<!--l. 105--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>We agree, then, that sensible things include only things that are <span
perceived by sense. Now tell me whether we immediately perceive<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >by sight anything besides light, colours, and shapes;
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >by hearing anything but sounds;
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >by the palate anything besides tastes;
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >by the sense of smell anything besides odours;
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" >by touch anything more than tangible qualities.</dd></dl>
<!--l. 112--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>We do not.
<!--l. 114--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it seems that if you take away all sensible qualities there is nothing left that is
<!--l. 116--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree.
<!--l. 118--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Sensible things, then, are nothing but so many sensible qualities, or combinations of
sensible qualities.
<!--l. 120--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Nothing else.
<!--l. 122--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So heat is a sensible thing.
<!--l. 124--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Certainly.
<!--l. 126--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Does the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">reality </span>of sensible things consist in being perceived? or is it something
different from their being perceived&#8212;something that doesn&#8217;t involve the mind?
<!--l. 128--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>To exist is one thing, and to be perceived is another.
<!--l. 130--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I am talking only about <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sensible </span>things. My question is: By the &#8216;real existence&#8217; of
one of <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">them </span>do you mean an existence exterior to the mind and distinct from their being
<!--l. 132--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I mean a real absolute existence&#8212;distinct from, and having no relation to, their
being perceived.
<!--l. 134--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So if heat is granted to have a real existence, it must exist outside the
<!--l. 136--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It must.
<!--l. 138--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, is this real existence equally possible for all degrees of heat that we
feel; or is there a reason why we should attribute it to some degrees of heat and not to
others? If there is, please tell me what it is.
<!--l. 140--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Whatever degree of heat we perceive by sense we can be sure exists also in the
object that occasions it.
<!--l. 142--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What, the greatest as well as the least?
<!--l. 144--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, because the same reason holds for both: they are both perceived by sense;
indeed, the greater degree of heat is more <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>sensibly perceived; so if there is any
difference it is that we are <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">more </span>certain of the real existence of a greater heat than we can
be of the reality of a lesser.
<!--l. 146--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But isn&#8217;t the most fierce and intense degree of heat a very great pain?
<!--l. 148--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No-one can deny that.
<!--l. 150--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And can any unperceiving thing have pain or pleasure?
<!--l. 152--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Certainly not.
<!--l. 154--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Is your material substance a senseless thing or does it have sense and
<!--l. 156--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is senseless, without doubt.
<!--l. 158--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it can&#8217;t be the subject of pain.
<!--l. 160--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Indeed it can&#8217;t.
<!--l. 162--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Nor, consequently, can it be the subject of the greatest heat perceived by sense,
since you agree that this is a considerable pain.
<!--l. 164--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I accept that.
<!--l. 166--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then what are we to say about your external object? Is it a material substance, or
is it not?
<!--l. 168--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is a material substance with the sensible qualities inhering in it.
<!--l. 170--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But then how can a great heat exist in it, since you agree it cannot exist in a
material substance? Please clear up this point.
<!--l. 172--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Hold on, Philonous! I&#8217;m afraid I went wrong in granting that intense heat is a pain.
I should have said not that the pain <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">is </span>the heat but that it is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">the consequence or effect of</span>
the heat.
<!--l. 174--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>When you put your hand near the fire, do you feel one simple uniform sensation or
two distinct sensations?
<!--l. 176--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Just one simple sensation.
<!--l. 178--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t the heat immediately perceived?
<!--l. 180--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 182--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And the pain?
<!--l. 184--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True.
<!--l. 186--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, seeing that they are both immediately perceived at the same time, and
that the fire affects you with only one simple or uncompounded idea <span
class="cmr-9">= one idea without</span>
class="cmr-10">]</span>, it follows that this <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">one </span>simple idea is both the immediately perceived intense heat
and the pain; and consequently, that the immediately perceived intense heat is identical
with a particular sort of pain.
<!--l. 188--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It seems so.
<!--l. 190--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Consult your thoughts again, Hylas: can you conceive an intense sensation to occur
without pain or pleasure?
<!--l. 192--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I cannot.
<!--l. 194--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Or can you form an idea of sensible pain or pleasure <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in general, </span>abstracted from
every <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">particular </span>idea of heat, cold, tastes, smells, etc.?
<!--l. 196--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t find that I can.
<!--l. 198--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then doesn&#8217;t it follow that sensible pain is nothing but intense degrees of those
sensations or ideas?
<!--l. 200--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is undeniable. In fact, I&#8217;m starting to suspect that a very great heat can&#8217;t exist
except in a mind perceiving it.
<!--l. 202--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What! are you then in that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sceptical </span>state of suspense, between affirming and
<!--l. 204--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I think I can be definite about it. A very violent and painful heat can&#8217;t exist outside
the mind.
<!--l. 206--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So according to you it has no real existence.
<!--l. 208--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit it.
<!--l. 210--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Is it certain, then, that no body in nature is really hot?
<!--l. 212--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I haven&#8217;t said that there is no real heat in bodies. I only say that there&#8217;s no such
thing as an intense real heat <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>in bodies<span
<!--l. 214--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But didn&#8217;t you say earlier that all degrees of heat are equally real, or
that if there <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">is </span>any difference the greater heat is more certainly real than the
<!--l. 216--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, I did; but that was because I had overlooked the reason there is for
distinguishing between them, which I now plainly see. It is this: because <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>intense heat is
nothing but a particular kind of painful sensation, and <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>pain can&#8217;t exist except in a
perceiving being, it follows that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>no intense heat can really exist in an unperceiving
corporeal <span
class="cmr-9">= &#8216;bodily&#8217;</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>substance. But that&#8217;s no reason for denying that less intense heat can
exist in such a substance.
<!--l. 218--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But how are we to draw the line separating degrees of heat that exist only in the
mind from ones that exist outside it?
<!--l. 220--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That isn&#8217;t hard. The slightest pain can&#8217;t exist unperceived, as you know; so any
degree of heat that is a pain exists only in the mind. We don&#8217;t have to think the same for
degrees of heat that are not pains.
<!--l. 222--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I think you agreed a while back that no unperceiving being is capable of pleasure,
any more than it is of pain.
<!--l. 224--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I did.
<!--l. 226--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, isn&#8217;t warmth&#8212;a milder degree of heat than what causes discomfort or
worse&#8212;a pleasure?
<!--l. 228--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What of it?
<!--l. 230--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It follows that warmth can&#8217;t exist outside the mind in any unperceiving substance,
or body.
<!--l. 232--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>So it seems.
<!--l. 234--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>we have reached the position that<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>degrees of heat that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">aren&#8217;t </span>painful and
also ones that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">are </span>can exist only in a thinking substance! Can&#8217;t we conclude
from this that external bodies are absolutely incapable of any degree of heat
<!--l. 236--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>On second thoughts, I am less sure that warmth is a pleasure than I am that intense
heat is a pain.
<!--l. 238--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I don&#8217;t claim that warmth is as <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>great a pleasure as heat is a pain. But if you admit
it to be even a <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>small pleasure, that is enough to yield my conclusion.
<!--l. 240--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I could rather call it &#8216;absence of pain&#8217;. It seems to be merely the lack of pain and of
pleasure. I hope you won&#8217;t deny that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">this </span>quality or state is one that an unthinking
substance can have!
<!--l. 242--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>If you are determined to maintain that warmth is not a pleasure, I don&#8217;t know how
to convince you otherwise except by appealing to your own experience. But what do you
think about cold?
<!--l. 244--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The same as I do about heat. An intense degree of cold is a pain; for to feel a very
great cold is to experience a great discomfort, so it can&#8217;t exist outside the mind. But a
lesser degree of cold can exist outside the mind, as well as a lesser degree of
<!--l. 246--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So when we feel a moderate degree of heat (or cold) from a body that is applied to
our skin, we must conclude that that body has a moderate degree of heat (or cold) in
<!--l. 248--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>We must.
<!--l. 250--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can any doctrine be true if it necessarily leads to absurdity?
<!--l. 252--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Certainly not.
<!--l. 254--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t it an absurdity to think that a single thing should be at the same time both
cold and warm?
<!--l. 256--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 258--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, now, suppose that one of your hands is hot and the other cold, and that they
are both at once plunged into a bowl of water that has a temperature between the two.
Won&#8217;t the water seem cold to one hand and warm to the other?
<!--l. 260--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It will.
<!--l. 262--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then doesn&#8217;t it follow by your principles that the water really is both cold
and warm at the same time&#8212;thus believing something that you agree to be an
<!--l. 264--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that that seems right.
<!--l. 266--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So the principles themselves are false, since you have admitted that no true
principle leads to an absurdity.
<!--l. 268--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>But, after all, can anything be more absurd than to say that there is no heat in the
<!--l. 270--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>To make the point still clearer, answer me this: in two cases that are exactly alike,
oughtn&#8217;t we to make the same judgment?
<!--l. 272--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>We ought.
<!--l. 274--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>When a pin pricks your finger, doesn&#8217;t it tear and divide the fibres of your
<!--l. 276--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It does.
<!--l. 278--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And when hot coal burns your finger, does it do any more?
<!--l. 280--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It does not.
<!--l. 282--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You hold that the pin itself doesn&#8217;t contain either the sensation that it causes, or
anything like it. So, given what you have just agreed to&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>namely that like cases should
be judged alike<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>&#8212;you ought to hold that the fire doesn&#8217;t contain either <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the sensation
that it causes or <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>anything like it.
<!--l. 284--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Well, since it must be so, I am content to give up this point, and admit that heat
and cold are only sensations existing in our minds. Still, there are plenty of other qualities
through which to secure the reality of external things.
<!--l. 286--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But what will you say, Hylas, if it turns out that the same argument applies with
regard to all other sensible qualities, and that none of them can be supposed to exist
outside the mind, any more than heat and cold can?
<!--l. 288--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Proving that would be quite a feat, but I see no chance of your doing
<!--l. 290--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Let us examine the other sensible qualities in order. What about tastes? Do you
think they exist outside the mind, or not?
<!--l. 292--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Can anyone in his right mind doubt that sugar is sweet, or that wormwood is
<!--l. 294--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas: is a sweet taste a particular kind of pleasure or pleasant sensation,
or is it not?
<!--l. 296--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 298--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And isn&#8217;t bitterness some kind of discomfort or pain?
<!--l. 300--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I grant that.
<!--l. 302--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>If therefore sugar and wormwood are unthinking corporeal substances existing
outside the mind, how can sweetness and bitterness&#8212;that is, pleasure and pain&#8212;be in
<!--l. 304--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Hold on, Philonous! Now I see what has deluded me all this time. You asked
whether heat and cold, sweetness and bitterness, are particular sorts of pleasure and pain;
to which I answered simply that they are. I should have answered by making a
distinction: those qualities <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">as perceived by us </span>are pleasures or pains, but <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">as existing in</span>
class="cmti-10x-x-109">the external objects </span>they are not. So we cannot conclude without qualification
that there is no heat in the fire or sweetness in the sugar, but only that heat or
sweetness <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">as perceived by us </span>are not in the fire or the sugar. What do you say to
<!--l. 306--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I say it is irrelevant. We were talking only about &#8216;sensible things&#8217;, which you defined
as things we immediately perceive by our senses. Whatever <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">other </span>qualities you are
talking about have no place in our conversation, and I don&#8217;t know anything
about them. You may indeed claim to have discovered certain qualities that you
don&#8217;t perceive, and assert that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">they </span>exist in fire and sugar; but I can&#8217;t for the
life of me see how that serves your side in the argument we were having. Tell
me then once more, do you agree that heat and cold, sweetness and bitterness
(meaning the qualities that are perceived by the senses), don&#8217;t exist outside the
<!--l. 308--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I see it is no use holding out, so I give up the cause with respect to those four
qualities. Though I must say it sounds odd to say that sugar isn&#8217;t sweet.
<!--l. 310--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It might sound better to you if you bear this in mind: someone whose palate is
diseased may experience as <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">bitter </span>stuff that at other times seems <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sweet </span>to him. And it&#8217;s
perfectly obvious that different people perceive different tastes in the same food, since
what one man delights in another loathes. How could this be, if the taste were really
inherent in the food?
<!--l. 312--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that I don&#8217;t know how.
<!--l. 314--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Now think about odours. Don&#8217;t they exactly fit what I have just been saying about
tastes? Aren&#8217;t they just so many pleasing or displeasing sensations?
<!--l. 316--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are.
<!--l. 318--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then can you conceive it to be possible that they should exist in an unperceiving
<!--l. 320--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I cannot.
<!--l. 322--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Or can you imagine that filth and excrement affect animals that choose to feed on
them with the same smells that we perceive in them?
<!--l. 324--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>By no means.
<!--l. 326--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then can&#8217;t we conclude that smells, like the other qualities we have been
discussing, cannot exist anywhere but in a perceiving substance or mind?
<!--l. 328--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I think so.
<!--l. 330--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What about sounds? Are they qualities really inherent in external bodies, or
<!--l. 332--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They don&#8217;t inhere in the sounding bodies. We know this, because when a bell is
struck in a vacuum, it sends out no sound. So the subject of sound must be the
<!--l. 334--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Explain that, Hylas.
<!--l. 336--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>When the air is set into motion, we perceive a louder or softer sound in
proportion to the air&#8217;s motion; but when the air is still, we hear no sound at
<!--l. 338--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Granting that we never hear a sound except when some motion is produced in the
air, I still don&#8217;t see how you can infer from this that the sound itself is in the
<!--l. 340--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>This motion in the external air is what produces in the mind the sensation of sound.
By striking on the ear-drum it causes a vibration which is passed along the
auditory nerves to the brain, whereon the mind experiences the sensation called
<!--l. 342--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What! is sound a sensation?
<!--l. 344--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>As I said: <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">as perceived by us </span>it is a particular sensation in the mind.
<!--l. 346--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And can any sensation exist outside the mind?
<!--l. 348--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No, certainly.
<!--l. 350--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But if sound is a sensation, how can it exist in the air, if by &#8216;the air&#8217; you mean a
senseless substance existing outside the mind?
<!--l. 352--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Philonous, you must distinguish sound as it is perceived by us from sound as it is in
itself; or&#8212;in other words&#8212;distinguish the sound we immediately perceive from the sound
that exists outside us. The former is indeed a particular kind of sensation, but the latter
is merely a vibration in the air.
<!--l. 354--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I thought I had already flattened that distinction by the answer I gave when you
were applying it in a similar case before. But I&#8217;ll let that pass. Are you sure, then, that
sound is really nothing but motion?
<!--l. 356--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I am.
<!--l. 358--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Whatever is true of real sound, therefore, can truthfully be said of motion.
<!--l. 360--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It may.
<!--l. 362--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it makes sense to speak of motion as something that is loud, sweet, piercing, or
<!--l. 364--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I see you are determined not to understand me. Isn&#8217;t it obvious that those qualities
belong only to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sensible </span>sound, or &#8216;sound&#8217; in the ordinary everyday meaning of the word,
but not to &#8216;sound&#8217; in the real and scientific sense, which (as I have just explained) is
nothing but a certain motion of the air?
<!--l. 366--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It seems, then, there are two sorts of sound&#8212;the common everyday sort that we
hear, and the scientific and real sort <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>that we don&#8217;t hear<span
<!--l. 368--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Just so.
<!--l. 370--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And the latter kind of sound consists in motion.
<!--l. 372--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>As I told you.
<!--l. 374--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, which of the senses do you think the idea of motion belongs to? The
sense of hearing?
<!--l. 376--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Certainly not. To the senses of sight and touch.
<!--l. 378--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It should follow then, according to you, that real sounds may possibly be seen or
felt, but can never be heard.
<!--l. 380--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Look, Philonous, make fun of my views if you want to, but that won&#8217;t alter the
truth of things. I admit that the inferences you draw from them sound a little odd; but
ordinary language is formed by ordinary people for their own use, so it&#8217;s not
surprising if statements that express exact scientific notions seem clumsy and
<!--l. 382--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Is it come to that? I assure you, I think I have scored a pretty big win when you so
casually depart from ordinary phrases and opinions; because what we were mainly
arguing about was whose notions are furthest from the common road and most in conflict
with what people in general think. Your claim that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">real sounds are never heard</span>, and that
we get our idea of sound through some other sense&#8212;can you think that this is merely an
odd-sounding scientific truth? Isn&#8217;t something in it contrary to nature and the truth of
<!--l. 384--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Frankly, I don&#8217;t like it either. Given the concessions I have already made, I had
better admit that sounds also have no real existence outside the mind.
<!--l. 386--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And I hope you won&#8217;t stick at admitting the same of colours.
<!--l. 388--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Pardon me; the case of colours is very different. Can anything be more obvious than
the fact that we see colours <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">on </span>the objects?
<!--l. 390--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>The objects you speak of are, I suppose, corporeal substances existing outside the
<!--l. 392--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are.
<!--l. 394--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And they have true and real colours inhering in them?
<!--l. 396--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Each visible object has the colour that we see in it.
<!--l. 398--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Hah! is there anything visible other than what we perceive by sight?
<!--l. 400--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>There is not.
<!--l. 402--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And do we perceive anything by our senses that we don&#8217;t perceive immediately?
<!--l. 404--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>How often do I have to say it? I tell you, we do not.
<!--l. 406--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Bear with me, Hylas, and tell me yet again whether anything is immediately
perceived by the senses other than sensible qualities. I know you asserted that nothing is;
but I want to know now whether you still think so.
<!--l. 408--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I do.
<!--l. 410--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Now, is your <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">corporeal substance </span>either a sensible quality or made up of sensible
<!--l. 412--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What a question to ask! Who ever thought it was?
<!--l. 414--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Here is why I ask. When you say that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">each visible object has the colour that we</span>
class="cmti-10x-x-109">see in it</span>, you imply that either <span
class="cmbx-10">(1) </span>visible objects are sensible qualities, or else
class="cmbx-10">(2) </span>something other than sensible qualities can be perceived by sight. But we
earlier agreed that <span
class="cmbx-10">(2) </span>is false, and you still think it is; <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>so we are left with the
thesis <span
class="cmbx-10">(1) </span>that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">visible objects are sensible qualities</span><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. Now, in this conversation
you have been taking it that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">visible objects are corporeal substances</span>; and so we
reach the conclusion that your <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">corporeal substances are nothing but sensible</span>
<!--l. 416--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You may draw as many absurd consequences as you please, and try to entangle the
plainest things; but you will never persuade me out of my senses. I clearly understand my
own meaning.
<!--l. 418--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I wish you would make me understand it too! But since you don&#8217;t want me to look
into your notion of corporeal substance, I shall drop that point. But please tell me
whether the colours that we see are <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the very ones that exist in external bodies or <span
other colours.
<!--l. 420--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are the very same ones.
<!--l. 422--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Oh! Then are the beautiful red and purple that we see on those clouds over there
really in them? Or do you <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>think that the clouds in themselves are nothing but a
dark mist or vapour?
<!--l. 424--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I must admit, Philonous, that those colours aren&#8217;t really in the clouds as they seem
to be at this distance. They are only apparent colours.
<!--l. 426--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span><span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">Apparent </span>call you them? How are we to distinguish these apparent colours from
real ones?
<!--l. 428--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Very easily. When a colour appears only at a distance, and vanishes when one comes
closer, it is merely apparent.
<!--l. 430--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And I suppose that real colours are ones that are revealed by looking carefully from
close up?
<!--l. 432--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 434--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Does the closest and most careful way of looking use a microscope, or only the
naked eye?
<!--l. 436--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>A microscope, of course.
<!--l. 438--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But a microscope often reveals colours in an object different from those perceived
by unassisted sight. And if we had microscopes that could magnify to as much as we
liked, it is certain that no object whatsoever when seen through them would appear with
the same colour that it presents to the naked eye.
<!--l. 440--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Well, what do you conclude from that? You can&#8217;t argue that there are really and
naturally no colours on objects, just because we can contrive artificial ways to alter them
or make them vanish.
<!--l. 442--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It can obviously be inferred from your own concessions, I think, that all the colours
we see with our naked eyes are only <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">apparent</span>&#8212;like those on the clouds&#8212;since they vanish
when one looks more closely and accurately, as one can with a microscope. And to
anticipate your next objection I ask you whether the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">real and natural </span>state of an
object is revealed better by a very sharp and piercing sight, or by one that is less
<!--l. 444--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>By the former, without doubt.
<!--l. 446--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t it plain from <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>the science of<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>optics that microscopes make the sight more
penetrating, and represent objects as they would appear to the eye if it were naturally
endowed with extreme sharpness?
<!--l. 448--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 450--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So the microscopic representation of a thing should be regarded as the one that
best displays the thing&#8217;s real nature, or what the thing is in itself. so the colours perceived
through a microscope are more genuine and real than those perceived in any other
<!--l. 452--><p class="noindent" >&#x00A0;<span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that there&#8217;s something in what you say.
<!--l. 454--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Besides, it&#8217;s not only <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">possible </span>but clearly <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">true </span>that there actually are animals whose
eyes are naturally formed to perceive things that are too small for us to see. What do you
think about those inconceivably small animals that we perceive through microscopes?
Must we suppose they are all totally blind? If they can see, don&#8217;t we have to suppose that
their sight has the same use in preserving their bodies from injuries as eyesight does in all
other animals? If it does have that use, isn&#8217;t it obvious that they must see particles that
are smaller than their own bodies, which will present them with a vastly different
view of each object from the view that strikes our senses? Even our own eyes
don&#8217;t always represent objects to us in the same way. Everyone knows that
to someone suffering from jaundice all things seem yellow. So isn&#8217;t it highly
probable that animals whose eyes we see to be differently structured from ours,
and whose bodily fluids are unlike ours, don&#8217;t see the same colours as we do in
every object From all of this, shouldn&#8217;t it seem to follow that all colours are
equally <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>apparent, and that none of the ones that we see are <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>really in any outer
<!--l. 456--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It should.
<!--l. 458--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>To put it past all doubt, consider the following. If colours were real properties or
qualities inhering in external bodies, they couldn&#8217;t be altered except by some alteration in
the very bodies themselves: but isn&#8217;t it evident that the colours of an object can be
changed or made to disappear entirely through the use of a microscope, or some change
in the fluids in the eye, or a change in the viewing distance, without any sort
of real alteration in the thing itself? Indeed, even when all the other factors
remain unaltered some objects present different colours to the eye depending
on the angle from which they are looked at. The same thing happens when
we view an object in different brightnesses of light. And everyone knows that
the same bodies appear differently coloured by candle-light from what they do
in daylight. Add to these facts our experience of a prism, which separates the
different rays of light and thereby alters the colour of an object, causing the
whitest object to appear deep blue or red to the naked eye. <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">Now </span>tell me whether
you still think that each body has its true, real colour inhering in it. If you
think it has, I want to know what <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>particular distance and orientation of the
object, what <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>special condition of the eye, what <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>intensity or kind of light is
needed for discovering that true colour and distinguishing it from the apparent
<!--l. 460--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit to being quite convinced that they are all equally apparent, that
no such thing as colour really inheres in external bodies, and that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">colour is</span>
class="cmti-10x-x-109">wholly in the light</span>. What confirms me in this opinion is the fact that colours are
more or less vivid depending on the brightness of the light, and that when there
is no light no colours are seen. Furthermore, if there were colours in external
objects, how could we possibly perceive them? No external body affects the
mind unless it acts first on our sense-organs; and the only action of bodies is
motion, and this can&#8217;t be communicated except in <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">collisions</span>. So a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">distant </span>object
can&#8217;t act on the eye, and so can&#8217;t enable itself or its properties to be perceived
by the mind. From this it plainly follows that what immediately causes the
perception of colours is some substance that is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in contact with </span>the eye&#8212;such as
<!--l. 462--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What? Is light a substance?
<!--l. 464--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I tell you, Philonous, external light is simply a thin fluid substance whose tiny
particles, when agitated with a brisk motion and in various ways reflected to the eyes
from the different surfaces of outer objects, cause different motions in the optic nerves;
these motions are passed along to the brain, where they cause various states
and events; and these are accompanied by the sensations of red, blue, yellow,
<!--l. 466--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It seems, then, that all the light does is to shake the optic nerves.
<!--l. 468--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is all.
<!--l. 470--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And as a result of each particular motion of the nerves the mind is affected with a
sensation, which is some particular colour.
<!--l. 472--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 474--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And these sensations have no existence outside the mind.
<!--l. 476--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They have not.
<!--l. 478--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then how can you say that colours are <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in the light</span>, since you take light to be a
corporeal substance external to the mind?
<!--l. 480--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Light and colours <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">as immediately perceived by us </span>cannot exist outside the mind. I
admit that. But <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in themselves </span>they are only the motions and arrangements of certain
insensible particles of matter.
<!--l. 482--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Colours then, in the ordinary sense&#8212;that is, understood to be the immediate
objects of sight&#8212;cannot be had by any substance that doesn&#8217;t perceive.
<!--l. 484--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is what I say.
<!--l. 486--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, you give up your position as regards those <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sensible </span>qualities which are
what all mankind takes to be colours. Think what you like about the scientists&#8217; <span
colours; it is not my business to argue about <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">them</span>. But I suggest that you consider
whether it is wise for you, in a discussion like this one, to affirm that the red and blue we
see <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">are not </span>real colours, and that certain unknown motions and shapes which no man ever
did or could see <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">are </span>real colours. Aren&#8217;t these shocking notions, and aren&#8217;t they
open to as many ridiculous inferences as those you had to give up in the case of
<!--l. 488--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I have to admit, Philonous, that I can&#8217;t keep this up any longer. Colours,
sounds, tastes&#8212;in a word, all that are termed &#8216;secondary qualities&#8217;&#8212;have no
existence outside the mind. But in granting this I don&#8217;t take anything away
from the reality of matter or external objects, because various philosophers
maintain what I just did about secondary qualities and yet are the far from
denying matter. <span
class="cmr-9">In this context, &#8216;philosophers&#8217; means &#8216;philosophers and scientists&#8217;.</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>To make
this clearer: philosophers divide sensible qualities into <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">primary </span>and <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>Primary qualities are extendedness, shape, solidity, gravity, motion, and rest. They
hold that these really exist in bodies. <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>Secondary qualities are all the sensible
qualities that aren&#8217;t primary; and the philosophers assert that these are merely
sensations or ideas existing nowhere but in the mind. No doubt you are already
aware of all this. For my part, I have long known that such an opinion was
current among philosophers, but I was never thoroughly convinced of its truth till
<!--l. 490--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So you still believe that extension and shapes are inherent in external
unthinking substances? <span
class="cmr-9">Here &#8216;extension&#8217; could mean &#8216;extendedness&#8217; or it could mean</span>
<!--l. 492--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I do.
<!--l. 494--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But what if the arguments that are brought against secondary qualities hold
against these also?
<!--l. 496--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Why, then I shall have to think that shape and extension also exist only in the
<!--l. 498--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Is it your opinion that the very shape and extension that you perceive by sense
exist in the outer object or material substance?
<!--l. 500--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 502--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Have all other animals as good reason as you do to think that the shape and
extension that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">they </span>see and feel is in the outer object?
<!--l. 504--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Surely they do, if they can think at all.
<!--l. 506--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, do you think that the senses were given to all animals for their
preservation and well-being in life? or were they given only to men for that
<!--l. 508--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t doubt that they have the same use in all other animals.
<!--l. 510--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>If so, mustn&#8217;t their senses enable them to perceive their own limbs, and to perceive
bodies that are capable of harming them?
<!--l. 512--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Certainly.
<!--l. 514--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>A tiny insect, therefore, must be supposed to see its own foot, and other things of
that size or even smaller, seeing them all as bodies of considerable size, even though <span
can see them&#8212;if at all&#8212;only as so many visible points.
<!--l. 516--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I can&#8217;t deny that.
<!--l. 518--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And to creatures even smaller than that insect they will seem even bigger.
<!--l. 520--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They will.
<!--l. 522--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So that something you can hardly pick out <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>because it is so small<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>will appear like a
huge mountain to an extremely tiny animal.
<!--l. 524--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree about all this.
<!--l. 526--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can a single thing have different sizes at the same time?
<!--l. 528--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It would be absurd to think so.
<!--l. 530--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But from what you have said it follows that the true size of the insect&#8217;s foot is <span
size you see it having <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">and</span> <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the size the insect sees it as having, <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">and</span> <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>all the sizes it is seen
as having by animals that are even smaller. That is to say, your own principles have led
you into an absurdity.
<!--l. 532--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I seem to be in some difficulty about this.
<!--l. 534--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Another point: didn&#8217;t you agree that no real inherent property of any object can be
changed unless the thing itself alters?
<!--l. 536--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I did.
<!--l. 538--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But as we move towards or away from an object, its visible size varies, being at one
distance ten or a hundred times greater than at another. Doesn&#8217;t it follow from this too
that size isn&#8217;t really inherent in the object?
<!--l. 540--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that I don&#8217;t know what to think.
<!--l. 542--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You will soon be able to make up your mind, if you will venture to think as freely
about this quality as you have about the others. Didn&#8217;t you admit that it was legitimate
to infer that neither heat nor cold was in the water from the premise that the water
seemed warm to one hand and cold to the other?
<!--l. 544--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I did.
<!--l. 546--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t it the very same reasoning to infer that there is no size or shape in an object
from the premise that to one eye it seems little, smooth, and round, while to the other eye
it appears big, uneven, and angular?
<!--l. 548--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The very same. But does the latter ever happen?
<!--l. 550--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You can at any time find out that it does, by looking with one eye bare and with
the other through a microscope.
<!--l. 552--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t know how to maintain it, yet I am reluctant to give up extension <span
class="cmr-9">= &#8216;size&#8217;</span><span
because I see so many odd consequences following from the concession that extension isn&#8217;t
in the outer object.
<!--l. 554--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Odd, you say? After the things you have already agreed to, I hope you won&#8217;t be put
off from anything just because it is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">odd</span>! But in any case wouldn&#8217;t it seem very odd if the
general reasoning that covers all the other sensible qualities <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">didn&#8217;t </span>apply also to
extension? If you agree that no idea or anything like an idea can exist in an
unperceiving substance, then surely it follows that no shape or mode of extension <span
class="cmr-9">&#8216;or specific way of being extended&#8217;</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>that we can have any idea of&#8212;in perceiving or
imagining&#8212;can be really inherent in matter. Whether the sensible quality is
shape or sound or colour or what you will, it seems impossible that any of these
should subsist in something that doesn&#8217;t perceive it. (Not to mention the peculiar
difficulty there must be in conceiving a material substance, prior to and distinct
from extension, to be the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">substratum </span>of extension. <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>I&#8217;ll say more about that
<!--l. 556--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I give up on this point, for just now. But I reserve the right to retract my opinion if
I later discover that I was led to it by a false step.
<!--l. 558--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>That is a right you can&#8217;t be denied. Shapes and extendedness being disposed of, we
proceed next to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">motion</span>. Can a real motion in any external body be at the same time both
very swift and very slow?
<!--l. 560--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It cannot.
<!--l. 562--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t the speed at which a body moves inversely proportional to the time it takes to
go any given distance? Thus a body that travels a mile in an hour moves three times as
fast as it would if it travelled only a mile in three hours.
<!--l. 564--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree with you.
<!--l. 566--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And isn&#8217;t time measured by the succession of ideas in our minds?
<!--l. 568--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 570--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And isn&#8217;t it possible that ideas should succeed one another twice as fast
in your mind as they do in mine, or in the mind of some kind of non-human
<!--l. 572--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree about that.
<!--l. 574--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Consequently the same body may seem to another spirit to make its journey in half
the time that it seems to you to take. (<span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">Half </span>is just an example; any other fraction would
make the point just as well.) That is to say, according to your view that both of the
perceived motions are in the object, a single body can really move both very swiftly and
very slowly at the same time. How is this consistent either with common sense or with
what you recently agreed to?
<!--l. 576--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I have nothing to say to it.
<!--l. 578--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Now for <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">solidity</span>: If you don&#8217;t use &#8216;solidity&#8217; to name any sensible quality, then
it is irrelevant to our enquiry. If you <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">do </span>use it to name a sensible quality, the
quality must be either <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">hardness </span>or <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">resistance</span>. But each of these is plainly relative
to our senses: it is obvious that what seems hard to one animal may appear
soft to another that has greater force and firmness of limbs; and it is equally
obvious that the resistance I feel <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>when I press against a body<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>is not in the
<!--l. 580--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree that the sensation of resistance, which is all you immediately perceive, is not
in the body; but the cause of that sensation is.
<!--l. 582--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But the causes of our sensations aren&#8217;t immediately perceived, and therefore aren&#8217;t
sensible. I thought we had settled this point.
<!--l. 584--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that we did. Excuse me if I seem a little embarrassed; I am having trouble
quitting my earlier views.
<!--l. 586--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It may be a help for you to consider this point: once extendedness is admitted to
have no existence outside the mind, the same <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">must </span>be granted for motion, solidity, and
gravity, since obviously they all presuppose extendedness. So it is superfluous to enquire
into each of them separately; in denying extendedness, you have denied them all to have
any real existence.
<!--l. 588--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>If this is right, Philonous, I wonder why the philosophers who deny the secondary
qualities any real existence should yet attribute it to the primary qualities. If there&#8217;s no
difference between them, how can this be accounted for?
<!--l. 590--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It isn&#8217;t my business to account for every opinion of the philosophers! But there are
many possible explanations, one of them being that <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>those philosophers were
influenced by the fact that<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>pleasure and pain are associated with the secondary
qualities rather than with the primary ones. Heat and cold, tastes and smells, have
something more vividly pleasing or disagreeable than what we get from the
ideas of extendedness, shape, and motion. And since it is too visibly absurd to
hold that pain or pleasure can be in an unperceiving substance, men have more
easily been weaned from believing in the external existence of the secondary
qualities than of the primary ones. You will see that there is something in this if
you recall the distinction <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">you </span>made between moderate heat and intense heat,
allowing one a real existence <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>outside the mind<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>while denying it to the other. But
after all, there is no rational basis for that distinction; for surely a sensation
that is neither pleasing nor painful is just as much <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">a sensation </span>as one that is
pleasing or painful; so neither kind should be supposed to exist in an unthinking
<!--l. 592--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It has just come into my head, Philonous, that I have somewhere heard of a
distinction between absolute and sensible extendedness. Granted that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">large </span>and <span
consist merely in the relation other extended things have to the parts of our own bodies,
and so aren&#8217;t really in the substances themselves; still, we don&#8217;t have to say the
same about <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">absolute extendedness, </span>which is something abstracted from large and
small, from this or that particular size and shape. Similarly with motion: <span
and <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">slow </span>are altogether relative to the succession of ideas in our own minds.
But just because those special cases of motion do not exist outside the mind, it
doesn&#8217;t follow that the same is true of the absolute motion that is abstracted from
<!--l. 594--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What distinguishes one instance of motion, or of extendedness, from another? Isn&#8217;t
it something <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sensible&#8212;for instance some <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">speed</span>, or some <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">size and shape</span>?
<!--l. 596--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I think so.
<!--l. 598--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So these qualities&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>namely, absolute motion and absolute extendedness<span
are stripped of all <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sensible properties, have no features making them more specific in any
<!--l. 600--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is right.
<!--l. 602--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>That is to say, they are <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">extendedness in general</span>, and <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">motion in general</span>.
<!--l. 604--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>If you say so.
<!--l. 606--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But everyone accepts the maxim that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">every thing that exists is particular</span>. How
then can motion in general, or extendedness in general, exist in any corporeal
<!--l. 608--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I will need time to think about that.
<!--l. 610--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I think the point can be speedily decided. Without doubt you can tell whether
you are able to form this or that idea in your mind. Now I&#8217;m willing to let our
present dispute be settled in the following way. If you can form in your thoughts a
distinct abstract idea of motion or extendedness, having none of those sensible
qualities&#8212;swift and slow, large and small, round and square, and the like&#8212;which we
agree exist only in the mind, then I&#8217;ll capitulate. But if you can&#8217;t, it will be
unreasonable for you to insist any longer on something of which you have no
<!--l. 612--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>To be frank, I cannot.
<!--l. 614--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can you even separate the ideas of extendedness and motion from the ideas of all
the so-called secondary qualities?
<!--l. 616--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What! isn&#8217;t it easy to consider extendedness and motion by themselves,
abstracted from all other sensible qualities? Isn&#8217;t that how the mathematicians handle
<!--l. 618--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I acknowledge, Hylas, that it is not difficult to form general propositions and
reasonings about extendedness and motion, without mentioning any other qualities, and
in that sense to treat them abstractedly. I can pronounce the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">word </span>&#8216;motion&#8217; by itself, but
how does it follow from this that I can form in my mind the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">idea </span>of motion without an
idea of body? Theorems about extension and shapes can be proved without any <span
of large or small or any other sensible quality, but how does it follow from this
that the mind can form and grasp an abstract <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">idea </span>of extension, without any
particular size or shape or <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>sensible quality? Mathematicians study <span
disregarding any other sensible qualities that go with it on the grounds that they are
irrelevant to the proofs. But when they lay aside the words and contemplate
the bare ideas, I think you&#8217;ll find that they aren&#8217;t the pure abstracted ideas of
<!--l. 620--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>But what do you say about <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">pure intellect</span>? Can&#8217;t abstracted ideas be formed by that
<!--l. 622--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Since I can&#8217;t form abstract ideas at all, it is clearly impossible for me to form them
with help from &#8216;pure intellect&#8217;, whatever faculty you mean that phrase to refer to. Setting
aside questions about the nature of pure intellect and its spiritual objects such as virtue,
reason, God, etc., I can say this much that seems clearly true: sensible things can only be
perceived by the senses or represented by the imagination; so shape and size don&#8217;t
belong to pure intellect because they are initially perceived through the senses.
If you want to be surer about this, try and see if you can frame the idea of
any shape, abstracted from all particularities of size and from other sensible
<!--l. 624--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Let me think a little&#8212;I don&#8217;t find that I can.
<!--l. 626--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, can you think it possible that something might really exist in nature when it
implies a contradiction in its conception?
<!--l. 628--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>By no means.
<!--l. 630--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Therefore, since even the mind can&#8217;t possibly separate the ideas of <span
and motion from <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>all other sensible qualities, doesn&#8217;t it follow that where <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the former
exist <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the latter must also exist?
<!--l. 632--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It would seem so.
<!--l. 634--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Consequently the very same arguments that you agreed to be decisive against the
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>secondary qualities need no extra help to count just as strongly against the <span
qualities also. Besides, if you trust your senses don&#8217;t they convince you that all sensible
qualities co-exist, that is, that they all appear to the senses as being in the same place?
Do your senses ever represent a motion or shape as being divested of all other visible and
tangible qualities?
<!--l. 636--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You needn&#8217;t say any more about this. I freely admit&#8212;unless there has been some
hidden error or oversight in our discussion up to here&#8212;that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">all </span>sensible qualities should
alike be denied existence outside the mind. But I fear that I may have been too free in my
former concessions, or overlooked some fallacy in your line of argument. In short, I didn&#8217;t
take time to think.
<!--l. 638--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>As to that, Hylas, take all the time you want to go back over our discussion. You
are at liberty to repair any slips you have made, or to support your initial opinion by
presenting arguments that you have so far overlooked.
<!--l. 640--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I think it was a big oversight on my part that I failed to distinguish sufficiently the
class="cmti-10x-x-109">object </span>from the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">sensation</span>. The sensation cannot exist outside the mind, but it doesn&#8217;t
follow that the object cannot either.
<!--l. 642--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What object do you mean? The object of the senses?
<!--l. 644--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Exactly.
<!--l. 646--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it is immediately perceived?
<!--l. 648--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 650--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Explain to me the difference between <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">what is immediately perceived </span>and <span
<!--l. 652--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I take the sensation to be an <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">act </span>of the perceiving mind; beside which, there is
something perceived, which I call the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">object </span><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>of the act<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. For example, there is red and
yellow on that tulip, but the act of perceiving those colours is in me only, and not in the
<!--l. 654--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What tulip are you talking about? Is it the one that you see?
<!--l. 656--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The same.
<!--l. 658--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And what do you see beside colour, shape, and extendedness?
<!--l. 660--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Nothing.
<!--l. 662--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So you would say that the red and yellow are co-existent with the extension,
wouldn&#8217;t you?
<!--l. 664--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>Yes, and<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>I go further: I say that they have a real existence outside the mind in
some unthinking substance.
<!--l. 666--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>That the colours are really in the tulip which I see, is obvious. Nor can it be denied
that this tulip may exist independently of your mind or mine; but that any immediate
object of the senses&#8212;that is, any idea or combination of ideas&#8212;should exist in an
unthinking substance, or exterior to all minds, is in itself an obvious contradiction. Nor
can I imagine how it follows from what you said just now, namely that the red and
yellow are in <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">the tulip you saw</span>, since you don&#8217;t claim to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">see that unthinking</span>
<!--l. 668--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You are skillful at changing the subject, Philonous.
<!--l. 670--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I see that you don&#8217;t want me to push on in that direction. So let&#8217;s return to your
distinction between sensation and object. If I understand you correctly, you hold that in
every perception there are two things of which one is an action of the mind and the other
is not.
<!--l. 672--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True.
<!--l. 674--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And this action can&#8217;t exist in or belong to any unthinking thing; but whatever else
is involved in a perception may do so.
<!--l. 676--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is my position.
<!--l. 678--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So that if there <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">were </span>a perception without any act of the mind, that perception
could exist in an unthinking substance.
<!--l. 680--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I grant that. But it is impossible that there should be such a perception.
<!--l. 682--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>When is the mind said to be active?
<!--l. 684--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>When it produces, puts an end to, or changes anything.
<!--l. 686--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can the mind produce, discontinue, or change anything in any way except by an
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>act of the will?
<!--l. 688--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It cannot.
<!--l. 690--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So the mind is to count as being active in its perceptions to the extent that
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>volition is included in them.
<!--l. 692--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 694--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>When I <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>pluck this flower I am active, because I do it by a hand-movement which
arose from my volition; so likewise in <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>holding it up to my nose. But is either of these
<!--l. 696--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No.
<!--l. 698--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I also act when I draw air through my nose, because my breathing in that manner
rather than otherwise is an effect of my volition. But this isn&#8217;t smelling either; for if it
were, I would smell every time I breathed in that manner.
<!--l. 700--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True.
<!--l. 702--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Smelling, then, is a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">result </span>of all this <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>plucking, holding up, and breathing
<!--l. 704--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 706--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But I don&#8217;t find that my will is involved any further&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>that is, in anything other
than the plucking, holding up, and breathing in<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. Whatever else happens&#8212;including my
perceiving a smell&#8212;is independent of my will, and I am wholly passive with respect to it.
Is it different in your case, Hylas?
<!--l. 708--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No, it&#8217;s just the same.
<!--l. 710--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Now consider seeing: isn&#8217;t it in your power to open your eyes or keep them shut, to
turn them this way or that?
<!--l. 712--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Without doubt.
<!--l. 714--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But does it similarly depend on your will that when you look at this flower you
perceive white rather than some other colour? When you direct your open eyes towards
that part of the sky, can you avoid seeing the sun? Or is light or darkness the effect of
your volition?
<!--l. 716--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No, certainly.
<!--l. 718--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>In these respects, then, you are altogether passive.
<!--l. 720--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I am.
<!--l. 722--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me now, does seeing consist <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>in perceiving light and colours or rather in
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>opening and turning the eyes?
<!--l. 724--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The former, certainly.
<!--l. 726--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, since in the actual perception of light and colours you are altogether
class="cmti-10x-x-109">passive</span>, what has become of that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">action </span>that you said was an ingredient in every
sensation? And doesn&#8217;t it follow from your own concessions that the perception of light
and colours&#8212;which doesn&#8217;t involve any action&#8212;can exist in an unperceiving substance?
And isn&#8217;t this a plain contradiction?
<!--l. 728--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t know what to think.
<!--l. 730--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Furthermore, since you distinguish active and passive elements in every perception,
you must do it in the perception of pain. But how could pain&#8212;however inactive it
is&#8212;possibly exist in an unperceiving substance? Think about it, and then tell me frankly:
aren&#8217;t light and colours, tastes, sounds, etc. all equally passions or sensations in the mind?
You may <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">call </span>them &#8216;external objects&#8217;, and give them in <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">words </span>whatever kind of existence
you like; but examine your own <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">thoughts </span>and then tell me whether I am not
<!--l. 732--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit, Philonous, that when I look carefully at <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>what goes on in my mind, all I
can find is that I am a thinking being that has a variety of sensations; and I can&#8217;t
conceive how a sensation could exist in an unperceiving substance. But when on the other
hand I look in a different way at <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sensible things, considering them as so many properties
and qualities, I find that I have to suppose a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">material substratum, </span>without which they
can&#8217;t be conceived to exist.
<!--l. 734--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span><span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">Material substratum </span>you call it? Tell me, please, which of your senses acquainted
you with it?
<!--l. 736--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is not itself sensible; only its properties and qualities are perceived by the
<!--l. 738--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I presume, then, that you obtained the idea of it through reflection and
<!--l. 740--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t claim to have any proper <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>positive idea of it. <span
class="cmr-9">Here &#8216;positive&#8217; means</span>
class="cmr-9">&#8216;non-relational&#8217;: Hylas means that he doesn&#8217;t have an idea that represents what material substance is like</span>
class="cmr-9">in itself.</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>But I conclude that it exists, because qualities can&#8217;t be conceived to exist without
a support.
<!--l. 742--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it seems that you have only a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">relative </span>notion of material substance: you
conceive it only by conceiving how it relates to sensible qualities.
<!--l. 744--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 746--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, please, what that relation is.
<!--l. 748--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Isn&#8217;t it sufficiently expressed in the term &#8216;substratum&#8217; or &#8216;substance&#8217;?
class="cmr-9">One is Latin, and means &#8216;underneath layer&#8217;; the other comes from Latin meaning &#8216;standing</span>
<!--l. 750--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>If so, the word &#8216;substratum&#8217; should mean that it is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">spread under </span>the sensible
<!--l. 752--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True.
<!--l. 754--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And consequently <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>under extendedness.
<!--l. 756--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree.
<!--l. 758--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So in its own nature it is entirely distinct from extendedness.
<!--l. 760--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I tell you, extendedness is only a quality, and matter is something that supports
qualities. And isn&#8217;t it obvious that the supported thing is different from the supporting
<!--l. 762--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So something distinct from extendedness, and not including it, is supposed to be
the substratum of extendedness.
<!--l. 764--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Just so.
<!--l. 766--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, can a thing be <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">spread </span>without being extended? Isn&#8217;t the idea of
extendedness necessarily included in <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>that of<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>spreading?
<!--l. 768--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 770--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So anything that you suppose to be spread under something else must have <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in itself</span>
an extendedness distinct from the extendedness of the thing under which it is
<!--l. 772--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It must.
<!--l. 774--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Consequently every bodily substance, being the substratum of extendedness, must
have in itself another extendedness which qualifies it to be a substratum, <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>and <span
extendedness must also have something spread under it, a sub-substratum, so to speak<span
and so on to infinity. Isn&#8217;t this absurd in itself, as well as conflicting with what you have
just said, namely that the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">substratum </span>was something distinct from extendedness and not
including it?
<!--l. 776--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, but Philonous you misunderstand me. I don&#8217;t mean that matter is &#8216;spread&#8217; in a
crude literal sense under extension. The word &#8216;substratum&#8217; is used only to express in
general the same thing as &#8216;substance&#8217;.
<!--l. 778--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, let us examine the relation implied in the term &#8216;substance&#8217;. Is it not the
relation of <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">standing under </span>qualities?
<!--l. 780--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The very same.
<!--l. 782--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But doesn&#8217;t a thing have to be extended if it is to stand under or support
<!--l. 784--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes.
<!--l. 786--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So isn&#8217;t this supposition infected with the same absurdity as the previous
<!--l. 788--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You still take things in a strict literal sense; that isn&#8217;t fair, Philonous.
<!--l. 790--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I don&#8217;t want to force any meaning onto your words; you are free to explain them as
you please. But please make me understand <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">something </span>by them! You tell me that
matter supports or stands under accidents. How? As your legs support your
<!--l. 792--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No; that is the literal sense.
<!--l. 794--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Please let me know <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">any </span>sense, literal or not literal, that you understand it in.&#8212;How
long must I wait for an answer, Hylas?
<!--l. 796--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t know what to say. I once thought I understood well enough what
was meant by matter&#8217;s &#8216;supporting&#8217; qualities. But now the more I think about
it the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">less </span>I understand it. In short, I find that I don&#8217;t know anything about
<!--l. 798--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So it seems that you have no idea at all, either positive or relative, of matter. You
don&#8217;t know what it is in itself, or what relation it has to qualities.
<!--l. 800--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit it.
<!--l. 802--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And yet you said that you couldn&#8217;t conceive the real existence of qualities without
conceiving at the same time a material support for them.
<!--l. 804--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I did.
<!--l. 806--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>That amounted to saying that when you conceive the real existence of qualities you
also conceive something that you can&#8217;t conceive!
<!--l. 808--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It was wrong, I admit. But still I fear there is some fallacy or other. Let me
try this: It has just occurred to me that we were both led into error by your
treating each quality by itself. I grant that no quality can exist on its own outside
the mind; colour can&#8217;t exist without extension, nor can shape exist without
some other sensible quality. But as a number of qualities united or blended
together <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">constitute </span>an entire sensible thing, there is no obstacle to supposing
that such things&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>that is, such collections of qualities<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>&#8212;can exist outside the
<!--l. 810--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Are you joking, Hylas, or do you have a very bad memory? We did indeed go
through all the qualities by name, one after another; but my arguments&#8212;or rather your
concessions&#8212;nowhere tended to prove that the<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 811--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 811--><p class="noindent" >secondary qualities don&#8217;t exist <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>outside the mind<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span><span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">in isolation</span>;</dd></dl>
<!--l. 812--><p class="noindent" >the point was rather that<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 813--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 813--><p class="noindent" >secondary qualities don&#8217;t exist <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>outside the mind<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span><span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">at all</span>.</dd></dl>
<!--l. 814--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>It&#8217;s true that existing-in-isolation did come up in our discussion<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>: in discussing shape and
motion, we concluded they couldn&#8217;t exist outside the mind because it was impossible even
in thought to separate them from all secondary qualities, so as to conceive them existing
by themselves. But this wasn&#8217;t the only argument I used on that occasion. However, if
you like we can set aside our whole conversation up to here, counting it as nothing. I
am willing to let our whole debate be settled as follows: If you can conceive
it to be possible for any mixture or combination of qualities, or any sensible
object whatever, to exist outside the mind, then I will grant it actually to be
<!--l. 816--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>By that test, the point will soon be decided. What is easier than to conceive a tree
or house existing by itself, independently of and unperceived by any mind whatsoever? I
conceive them existing in that way right now.
<!--l. 818--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, can you see a thing which is at the same time unseen?
<!--l. 820--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No, that would be a contradiction.
<!--l. 822--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Is it not as great a contradiction to talk of conceiving a thing which is
<!--l. 824--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 826--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>The tree or house therefore which you think of is conceived by you.
<!--l. 828--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>How could it be otherwise?
<!--l. 830--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And what is conceived is surely in the mind.
<!--l. 832--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Without question, what is conceived is in the mind.
<!--l. 834--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then what led you to say that you conceived a house or tree existing independently
and out of all minds whatsoever?
<!--l. 836--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That was an oversight, I admit; but give me a moment to think about what
led me into it. It was&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>I now realize, after reflection<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>&#8212;an amusing mistake.
As I was thinking of a tree in a solitary place with nobody there to see it, I
thought that was conceiving a tree as existing unperceived or unthought of,
overlooking the fact I myself conceived it all the while. But now I plainly see
that all I can do is to form ideas in my own mind. I can conceive in my own
thoughts the idea of a tree, or a house, or a mountain, but that is all. And this
is far from proving that I can conceive them existing out of the minds of all
<!--l. 838--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You agree, then, that you can&#8217;t conceive how any corporeal sensible thing should
exist otherwise than in a mind.
<!--l. 840--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I do.
<!--l. 842--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And yet you will earnestly contend for the truth of something that you can&#8217;t even
<!--l. 844--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that I don&#8217;t know what to think, but I still have doubts. Isn&#8217;t it certain that
I see things at a distance? Don&#8217;t we perceive the stars and moon, for example, to be a
long way away? Isn&#8217;t this, I say, obvious to the senses?
<!--l. 846--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Don&#8217;t you in dreams also perceive objects like those?
<!--l. 848--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I do.
<!--l. 850--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And don&#8217;t they then appear in the same way to be distant?
<!--l. 852--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They do.
<!--l. 854--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But do you conclude that the apparitions in a dream are outside the mind?
<!--l. 856--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>By no means.
<!--l. 858--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then you ought not to conclude that sensible objects <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>seen when you are awake<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>are
outside the mind, from their appearance or the manner in which you perceive
<!--l. 860--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that. But doesn&#8217;t my <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>sense deceive me in those cases, <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>by telling me
that sensible objects are at a distance when really they are not<span
<!--l. 862--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>By no means. Neither eyesight nor reason inform you that the idea or thing that
you immediately perceive actually exists outside the mind. By eyesight you know only
that you are affected with certain sensations of light and colours, etc. And you won&#8217;t say
that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">these </span>are outside the mind.
<!--l. 864--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>True; but all the same, don&#8217;t you think that eyesight makes some suggestion of
outerness or distance?
<!--l. 866--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>When you approach a distant object, do the visible size and shape keep changing,
or do they appear the same at all distances?
<!--l. 868--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are in a continual change.
<!--l. 870--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So sight doesn&#8217;t &#8216;suggest&#8217; or in any way inform you that the visible object you
immediately perceive exists at a distance, or that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">it </span>will be perceived when you move
further forward; because there is a continued <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">series </span>of visible objects succeeding each
other during the whole time of your approach.
<!--l. 872--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree about that: but still I know, on seeing an object, what object I shall see <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">I have gone a certain distance</span>&#8212;never mind whether it is exactly the same object or not.
So something about <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">distance </span>is still being suggested.
<!--l. 874--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>My dear Hylas, just think about that a little, and then tell me whether there is
anything more to it that this: From the ideas that you actually perceive by sight you have
by experience learned to infer (in accordance with the general rules of nature) what
other ideas you will experience after such and such a succession of time and
<!--l. 876--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Upon the whole, I think that&#8217;s what it comes down to.
<!--l. 878--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Isn&#8217;t it obvious that if a man born blind were suddenly enabled to see, he would
start with no experience of what may be suggested by sight?
<!--l. 880--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 882--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So he would not, according to you, have any notion of <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">distance </span>linked to the things
he saw. He would take the latter to be a new set of sensations existing only in his
<!--l. 884--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is undeniable.
<!--l. 886--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But to make it still more plain: isn&#8217;t distance a line running out from the
<!--l. 888--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 890--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can a line so situated be perceived by sight?
<!--l. 892--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It cannot.
<!--l. 894--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So doesn&#8217;t it follow that distance isn&#8217;t strictly and immediately perceived by
<!--l. 896--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It seems so.
<!--l. 898--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Again, do you think that colours are at a distance?
<!--l. 900--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I have to acknowledge that they are only in the mind.
<!--l. 902--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But don&#8217;t colours appear to the eye as coexisting at the same place as extension
and shape
<!--l. 904--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They do.
<!--l. 906--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then how can you conclude from <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>the deliverances of<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>sight that shapes <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>do exist
outside the mind, when you agree that colours <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>don&#8217;t? The sensible appearances of both
are the very same.
<!--l. 908--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t know what to answer.
<!--l. 910--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Even if distance <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">were </span>truly and immediately perceived by the mind, it still wouldn&#8217;t
follow that it existed out of the mind. For whatever is immediately perceived is an idea;
and can any idea exist out of the mind?
<!--l. 912--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It would be absurd to suppose so. But tell me, Philonous, can we perceive or know
nothing except our ideas?
<!--l. 914--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Set aside <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>what we may know through<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>the rational deducing of causes from effects;
that is irrelevant to our enquiry. As for the senses: you are the best judge of whether you
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>perceive anything that you don&#8217;t <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>immediately perceive. And I ask you, are the things
you immediately perceive anything but your own sensations or ideas? In the course
of this conversation you have more than once declared yourself on those two
points; this latest question of yours seems to indicate that you have changed your
<!--l. 916--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>To tell you the truth, Philonous, I think there are two kinds of objects: one kind
perceived immediately, and called &#8216;ideas&#8217;; the other kind are real things or external
objects perceived by the mediation of ideas, which resemble and represent them. Now I
grant that ideas don&#8217;t exist outside the mind; but the second sort of objects do. I am
sorry I didn&#8217;t think of this distinction sooner; it would probably have cut short your
<!--l. 918--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Are those external objects perceived by <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sense, or by <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>some other faculty?
<!--l. 920--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are perceived by sense.
<!--l. 922--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What? Is there anything perceived by sense that isn&#8217;t immediately perceived?
<!--l. 924--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, Philonous, there is&#8212;in a way. For example, when I look at a picture or statue
of Julius Caesar, I may be said to perceive him in a fashion (though not immediately) by
my senses.
<!--l. 926--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You seem to hold, then, that our ideas, which are all that we immediately perceive,
are pictures of external things; and that the latter are also perceived by sense because
they have a conformity or resemblance to our ideas.
<!--l. 928--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>That is my meaning.
<!--l. 930--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And in the same way that Julius Caesar, in himself invisible, is nevertheless
perceived by sight, so also real things, in themselves imperceptible, are perceived by
<!--l. 932--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>In the very same way.
<!--l. 934--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, when you look at the picture of Julius Caesar, do you see with your
eyes anything more than some colours and shapes, with a certain symmetry and
composition of the whole?
<!--l. 936--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Nothing else.
<!--l. 938--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And wouldn&#8217;t a man who had never known anything about Julius Caesar see as
<!--l. 940--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>He would.
<!--l. 942--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So he has his sight, and the use of it, as perfectly as you have yours.
<!--l. 944--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree with you.
<!--l. 946--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Then why are your thoughts directed to the Roman emperor while his are not?
This can&#8217;t come from the sensations or ideas of sense that you perceive at that moment,
for you have agreed that you have in that respect no advantage over the man who has
never heard of Julius Caesar. So it seems that the direction of your thoughts comes from
reason and memory&#8212;doesn&#8217;t it?
<!--l. 948--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It does.
<!--l. 950--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So that example of yours doesn&#8217;t show that anything is perceived by sense
that isn&#8217;t immediately perceived. I don&#8217;t deny that we can be said in a certain
sense to perceive sensible things <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">mediately </span>by sense: that is when the immediate
perception of ideas by one sense suggests to the mind others, perhaps belonging
to another sense, of a kind that have often been perceived to go with ideas of
the former kind. For instance, when I hear a coach drive along the streets, all
that I immediately perceive is the sound; but from my past experience that
such a sound is connected with a coach, I am said to &#8216;hear the coach&#8217;. Still,
it is obvious that in truth and strictness <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">nothing can be heard but sound</span>; and
the coach in that example is not strictly perceived by sense but only suggested
from experience. Similarly, when we are said to see a red-hot bar of iron; the
solidity and heat of the iron are not the objects of sight, but are suggested to the
imagination by the colour and shape that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">are </span>strictly perceived by that sense. In
short, <dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 951--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 951--><p class="noindent" >the only things that are <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">actually and strictly perceived </span>by any sense are the
ones that would have been perceived even if we had only just acquired that
sense <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>and were using it for the first time<span
<!--l. 952--><p class="noindent" >As for other things, clearly they are only <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">suggested to the mind </span>by past experience. But to
return to your comparison of <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>imperceptible &#8216;real things&#8217; with<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>Caesar&#8217;s picture:
obviously, if you keep to this you&#8217;ll have to hold that the real things that our
ideas copy are perceived not by sense but by some internal faculty of the soul
such as <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>reason or <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>memory. I would be interested to know what arguments
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>reason gives you for the existence of your &#8216;real things&#8217; or material objects;
or whether you <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>remember seeing them formerly <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>not as copied by your ideas
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>as they are in themselves; or if you have heard or read of anyone else who
<!--l. 954--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I can see that you want to make fun of me, Philonous; but that will never convince
<!--l. 956--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>All I want is to learn from you how to come by knowledge of material things.
Whatever we perceive is perceived either immediately by sense, or mediately by reason
and reflection. But you have excluded sense; so please show me what reason you have to
believe in their existence, or what means you can possibly adopt to prove, to my
understanding or your own, that they exist.
<!--l. 958--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>To be perfectly frank, Philonous, now that I think about it I can&#8217;t find
any good reason for my position. But it seems pretty clear that it&#8217;s at least
class="cmti-10x-x-109">possible </span>that such things really exist; and as long as there is no absurdity in
supposing them, I shall continue in my belief until you bring good reasons to the
<!--l. 960--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What? Has it come to this, that you believe in the existence of material objects,
and that this belief is based on the mere <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">possibility </span>of its being true? Then you challenge
me to bring reasons against it; though some people would think that the burden of proof
lies with him who holds the affirmative position. Anyway, this very thesis that you are
now determined to maintain without any reason is in effect one that you have&#8212;more than
once during this conversation&#8212;seen good reason to give up. But let us set all that
aside. If I understand you rightly, you say our ideas <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">don&#8217;t </span>exist outside the mind,
but that they are copies, likenesses, or representations of certain originals that
<!--l. 962--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You have me right.
<!--l. 964--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Our ideas, then, are <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">like </span>external things.
<!--l. 966--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are.
<!--l. 968--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Do those external things have a stable and permanent nature independently of our
senses; or do they keep changing as we move our bodies and do things with our faculties
or organs of sense?
<!--l. 970--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Real things, obviously, have a fixed and real nature which remains the
same through any changes in our senses or in how our bodies are placed or
how they move. Such changes may indeed affect the ideas in our minds, but it
would be absurd to think they had the same effect on things existing outside the
<!--l. 972--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>How, then, can things that are perpetually fleeting and variable as our ideas are be
copies or likenesses of any thing that is fixed and constant? Since all <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">qualities</span>&#8212;size, shape, colour, etc.&#8212;that is, our <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">ideas</span>, are continually changing with every
alteration in the distance, medium, or instruments of sensation, how can any fixed
material object be properly represented or depicted by several distinct things <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>or ideas<span
each of which is so unlike the others? Or if you say that the object resembles
just one of our ideas, how can we distinguish that true copy from all the false
<!--l. 974--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I have to admit, Philonous, that I am at a loss. I don&#8217;t know what to say to
<!--l. 976--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>There is more. Are material objects in themselves perceptible or imperceptible?
<!--l. 978--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Properly and immediately nothing can be perceived but ideas. All material things,
therefore, are in themselves insensible, and can be perceived only through ideas of
<!--l. 980--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Ideas are sensible, then, and their originals&#8212;the things they are copies of&#8212;are
<!--l. 982--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Right.
<!--l. 984--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But how can something that is sensible be <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">like </span>something that is insensible? Can a
real thing, in itself invisible, be like a colour? Can a real thing that isn&#8217;t audible be like a
sound? In a word, can anything be like a sensation or idea but another sensation or
<!--l. 986--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I must admit that I think not.
<!--l. 988--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Can there possibly be any doubt about this? Don&#8217;t you perfectly know your own
<!--l. 990--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Yes, I know them perfectly; for something that I don&#8217;t perceive or know can&#8217;t be
any part of my idea.
<!--l. 992--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, examine your ideas, and then tell me if there&#8217;s anything in them that
could exist outside the mind, or if you can conceive anything <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">like </span>them existing outside
the mind.
<!--l. 994--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Upon looking into it I find that I can&#8217;t conceive or understand how anything but an
idea can be like an idea. And it is most evident that no idea can exist outside the
<!--l. 996--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So you&#8217;re forced by your own principles to deny the reality of sensible things,
because you made it consist in an absolute existence outside the mind. That is to say, you
are a downright sceptic. So I have met my target, which was to show that your principles
lead to scepticism.
<!--l. 998--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>For the present I am, if not entirely convinced, at least silenced.
<!--l. 1000--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I wonder what more you would require in order to be perfectly convinced. Haven&#8217;t
you been free to explain yourself in any way you liked? Were any little conversational slips
held against you? Weren&#8217;t you allowed to retract or reinforce anything you had previously
said, as best served your purpose? Hasn&#8217;t everything you could say been heard and
examined with all the fairness imaginable? In a word, haven&#8217;t you on every
point been convinced out of your own mouth? And if you can now discover
any flaw in any of your former concessions, or think of any remaining tactic,
any new distinction, shading, or comment whatsoever, why don&#8217;t you produce
<!--l. 1002--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>A little patience, Philonous. I am at present so bewildered to see myself entangled,
and as it were imprisoned in the labyrinths you have led me into, that I can&#8217;t be expected
to find my way out on the spur of the moment. You must give me time to look around
me, and recollect myself.
<!--l. 1004--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Listen&#8212;isn&#8217;t that the college-bell? Let us go in, and meet here again tomorrow
morning. In the mean time you can think about this morning&#8217;s conversation,
and see if you can find any fallacy in it, or invent any new means to extricate
<!--l. 1006--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Agreed.
<div class="center"
<!--l. 1--><p class="noindent" >
<h3 class="likesectionHead"><a
id="x1-3000"></a>The Second Dialogue</h3>
<!--l. 8--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hylas: </span>I beg your pardon, Philonous, for not meeting you sooner. All this morning my
head was so filled with our recent conversation that I didn&#8217;t notice the time of the day, or
indeed anything else!
<!--l. 10--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Philonous: </span>I am glad you were so focussed on it. I hope that if there were any mistakes
in your concessions, or fallacies in my reasonings from them, you will now show them to
<!--l. 12--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I assure you, ever since I saw you I have done nothing but search for mistakes and
fallacies, and with that in mind I have examined in detail the whole course of yesterday&#8217;s
conversation. But it has all been useless; for the views I was led into in the
conversation seemed even clearer and more obvious when I reviewed them today;
and the more I think about them the more irresistibly they force my assent to
<!--l. 14--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Don&#8217;t you think that this is a sign that they are genuine, and that they proceed
from nature and are in accordance with right reason? Truth and beauty have this in
common: they both show to advantage when looked at closely and carefully. The false
glitter of error and heavy make-up can&#8217;t endure being looked at for too long or from too
close up!
<!--l. 16--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit there is a great deal in what you say. And I am as convinced as anyone
could be of the truth of those strange consequences <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>that you argued for yesterday<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, so
long as I keep in mind the reasonings that lead to them. But when those arguments are
out of my thoughts, <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>my mind goes the other way<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>; there seems to be something so
satisfactory, natural and intelligible in the modern way of explaining things that I confess
that I don&#8217;t know how to reject it.
<!--l. 18--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I don&#8217;t know what way you mean.
<!--l. 20--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I mean the <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>way of accounting for our sensations or ideas.
<!--l. 22--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>How does it do that?
<!--l. 24--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is supposed that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the mind resides in some part of the brain, from which
the nerves originate, spreading out from there to all parts of the body; that
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>outer objects act in different ways on the sense-organs, starting up certain
vibrations in the nerves; that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the nerves pass these vibrations along to the
brain (where the mind is located); and that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the mind is variously affected with
ideas according to the various impressions or traces the vibrations make in the
<!--l. 26--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And call you this an explanation of how we are affected with ideas?
<!--l. 28--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Why not, Philonous? Have you any objection to it?
<!--l. 30--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I need to know first whether I have rightly understood your <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>hypothesis.
According to it, certain traces in the brain are the causes or occasions of our ideas. <span
class="cmr-9">special meaning of &#8216;occasion&#8217; that is at work here will be explained on page</span><span
class="cmr-9">46</span><!--tex4ht:ref: occasion --></a><span
class="cmr-9">; it doesn&#8217;t</span>
class="cmr-9">matter in the mean time.</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>Tell me, please, do you mean by &#8216;the brain&#8217; a sensible
<!--l. 32--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What else do you think I could possibly mean?
<!--l. 34--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Sensible things are all immediately perceivable; and things that are immediately
perceivable are ideas; and these exist only in the mind. This much, if I am not mistaken,
you have long since agreed to.
<!--l. 36--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t deny it.
<!--l. 38--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So the brain that you speak of, being a sensible thing, exists only in the
mind! I would like to know whether you think it reasonable to suppose that one
idea or thing existing in the mind occasions all the other ideas. And if you do
think this, how do you account for the origin of that primary idea or &#8216;brain&#8217;
<!--l. 40--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t explain the origin of our ideas by the brain which is perceivable to <span
because it is <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>as you say<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>only a combination of sensible ideas. I am talking about another
brain, which I <span
<!--l. 42--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But aren&#8217;t imagined things just as much in the mind as perceived things
<!--l. 44--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I must admit that they are.
<!--l. 46--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>So the difference <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>between perceiving and imagining<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>isn&#8217;t important. You have
been accounting for ideas by certain motions or impressions in the brain, that is, by
some alterations in an <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">idea</span>&#8212;and it doesn&#8217;t matter whether it is <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sensible or
<!--l. 48--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I begin to suspect my hypothesis.
<!--l. 50--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Apart from spirits, our own ideas are the only things we know or conceive. So when
you say that all ideas are occasioned by impressions in the brain, do you conceive this
brain or not? If you do, then you talk of ideas imprinted on an idea, causing that same
idea, which is absurd. If you don&#8217;t conceive it, you talk unintelligibly instead of forming a
reasonable hypothesis.
<!--l. 52--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I can now see clearly that it was a mere dream. There is nothing in it.
<!--l. 54--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>It&#8217;s no great loss; for, after all, this way of &#8216;explaining&#8217; things (as you called it)
could never have satisfied any reasonable man. What connection is there between a
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>vibration in the nerves and <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sensations of sound or colour in the mind? How could one
possibly cause the other?
<!--l. 56--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>But I could never have seen it as being so empty as it now seems to be!
<!--l. 58--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, are you finally satisfied that no sensible things have a real existence,
and that you are in truth a complete sceptic?
<!--l. 60--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is too plain to be denied.
<!--l. 62--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Look! aren&#8217;t the fields covered with a delightful green? Isn&#8217;t there something in the
woods and groves, in the rivers and clear springs, that soothes, delights, <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">transports </span>the
soul? At the view of the wide and deep ocean, or some huge mountain whose top is lost in
the clouds, or of an old gloomy forest, aren&#8217;t our minds filled with a pleasing horror?
Even in rocks and deserts, isn&#8217;t there an agreeable wildness? It is such a sincere pleasure
to see earth&#8217;s natural beauties! Doesn&#8217;t she preserve and renew our enjoyment of them by
intermittently drawing the veil of over her face, and doesn&#8217;t she change her
dress with the seasons? How aptly the elements are disposed! What variety and
usefulness even in the lowest things that nature produces! What delicacy, what
beauty, what complexity of organization in the bodies of animals and plants! How
finely all things are suited to their particular ends and also to their roles as
appropriate parts of the whole! And while they mutually aid and support, don&#8217;t they
also display each other in a better light? Raise now your thoughts from this
globe of earth to all those glorious glittering objects that adorn the high arch of
heaven. The motion and situation of the planets&#8212;aren&#8217;t they admirably orderly?
Have those globes ever been known to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">stray </span>in their repeated journeys through
pathless space? Doesn&#8217;t each of them sweep out the same area between itself
and the sun in any two equal periods of time? So fixed and unchanging are the
laws by which the unseen Author of nature runs the universe. How vivid and
radiant is the shine of the fixed stars! How magnificent and rich the careless
profusion with which they seem to be scattered throughout the whole vault of
the sky! Yet the telescope brings into view a new host of stars that escape the
naked eye. Here they seem to be nearby and small, but a closer view <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>through a
telescope shows them to be<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>immense orbs of light at various distances, sunk
deep in the abyss of space. Now you must call imagination to your aid <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>so as
to get some imaginative picture of things you can&#8217;t actually see<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. Our feeble
limited senses can&#8217;t pick out innumerable worlds (<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>) revolving round
the central fires (<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>), in each of which the energy of an all-perfect mind is
displayed in endless forms; <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>so those are things you must simply imagine<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. But
neither <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>sense nor <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>imagination is big enough to take in the boundless extent <span
the universe<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>with all its glittering furniture. With all the hard work that we
give to <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>those two faculties, exerting and straining each of them to its utmost
reach, there&#8217;s always a vast surplus left ungrasped. Yet all the vast bodies that
make up this mighty universe, however distant they may be, are by some secret
mechanism&#8212;some divine power and artifice&#8212;linked in a mutual dependence and
interconnection with each other, and with <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">this earth </span>(which almost slipped out of my
thoughts, getting lost in the crowd of worlds!). Isn&#8217;t the whole system immense,
beautiful, more glorious than we can say or think? Then how should we treat
those philosophers who want to deprive these noble and delightful scenes of all
reality? How should we think of principles implying that all the visible beauty of
the creation is a false imaginary glare? To put it bluntly, can you expect this
scepticism of yours not to be thought extravagantly absurd by all reasonable
<!--l. 64--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Other men may think as they please, but <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">you </span>have nothing to reproach me with. My
comfort is that you are as much a sceptic as I am.
<!--l. 66--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>There, Hylas, I beg leave to differ from you.
<!--l. 68--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What? Having along agreed to the premises, are you now denying the conclusion
and leaving me to maintain by myself these paradoxes that you led me into? This surely
isn&#8217;t fair.
<!--l. 70--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I deny that I agreed with you in those views that led to scepticism. You indeed said
that the <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>reality of sensible things consisted in an absolute existence out of the minds of
spirits, or distinct from their being perceived. And under the guidance of this notion of
reality you are obliged to deny that sensible things have any real existence; that is,
according to your own definition <span
class="cmr-9">on page</span><span
class="cmr-9">4</span><!--tex4ht:ref: sceptichyl --></a><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>you declare yourself to be a sceptic.
But I didn&#8217;t say and didn&#8217;t think that the <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>reality of sensible things should be
defined in that manner. To me it is evident, for the reasons you agree to, that
sensible things can&#8217;t exist except in a mind or spirit. From this I conclude not
that they have no real existence but that&#8212;seeing they don&#8217;t depend on my
thought, and have an existence distinct from being perceived by me&#8212;there must be
some other mind in which they exist. As sure as the sensible world really exists,
therefore, so sure is there an infinite, omnipresent Spirit who contains and supports
<!--l. 72--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>What? This is no more than I and all Christians hold&#8212;and indeed all
non-Christians who believe there is a God and that he knows and understands
<!--l. 74--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Yes, but here&#8217;s the difference. Men commonly believe that <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>all things are
known or perceived by God because they believe in <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the existence of a God,
whereas <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>for me the order of reasons is reversed<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>; I immediately and necessarily
conclude <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the existence of a God because <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>all sensible things must be perceived by
<!--l. 76--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>As long as we all believe the same thing, what does it matter how we come by that
<!--l. 78--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But we <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">don&#8217;t </span>believe the same thing. Philosophers hold that God perceives all
corporeal things, but they attribute to such things an absolute existence independently of
their being perceived by any mind whatever; and I don&#8217;t. Besides, isn&#8217;t there a difference
between saying<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 79--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 79--><p class="noindent" >There is a God, therefore he perceives all things</dd></dl>
<!--l. 80--><p class="noindent" >and saying<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 81--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 81--><p class="noindent" >Sensible things do really exist; if they really exist they must be perceived by
an infinite mind; therefore there is an infinite mind, or God?</dd></dl>
<!--l. 82--><p class="noindent" >This provides you with a direct and immediate proof, from a most evident premise, of the
existence of a God. Theologians and philosophers had proved beyond all controversy, from
the beauty and usefulness of the various parts of the creation, that it was the
workmanship of God. But some of us have the advantage that we can prove the existence
of an infinite mind from <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>the bare existence of the sensible world, without getting help
from astronomy and natural philosophy and without bringing in facts about
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>how wonderfully the parts of the world relate to one another. What gives us
this advantage is just the simple thought that the sensible world is what we
perceive by our various senses, that nothing is perceived by the senses except ideas,
and that no idea and no thing of which an idea is a copy can exist otherwise
than in a mind. <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>With that at your disposal<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>you can now oppose and baffle
the most strenuous advocate for atheism, without any laborious search into
the sciences, without any sophisticated reasoning, and without tediously long
arguments. This single reflection on impossibility that the visible world or any part of
it&#8212;even the most low-grade and shapeless part of it&#8212;should exist outside a
mind is enough to overthrow the whole system of atheism. It destroys those
miserable refuges <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>of the atheist<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, the eternal succession of unthinking causes and
effects, or the chance coming together of atoms&#8212;those wild fantasies of Vanini,
Hobbes, and Spinoza. Let any one of those supporters of impiety look into his
own thoughts, and see if he can conceive how so much as a rock, a desert, a
chaos, or a confused jumble of atoms&#8212;how <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">anything at all</span>, either sensible or
imaginable&#8212;can exist independently of a mind; and he need go no further to be
convinced of his folly. Can anything be fairer than to let the disagreement be
settled by the outcome of such a test, leaving it to the atheist himself to see if he
can conceive, even <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>in thought, the state of affairs that he holds to be true <span
<!--l. 84--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is undeniable that there is something highly serviceable to religion in the
position you are taking. But don&#8217;t you think it looks very like the view of some
eminent recent philosophers&#8212;<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>notably Malebranche<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>&#8212;that we &#8216;see all things in
<!--l. 86--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I would gladly know about that; please explain it to me.
<!--l. 88--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They think that because the soul (<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>or mind<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>) is immaterial, it can&#8217;t be united with
material things so as to perceive them in themselves, but that it perceives them through
its union with the substance of God. Because that is a spiritual substance, it is purely
intelligible, that is, capable of being the immediate object of a <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>mind&#8217;s thought.
Furthermore, God&#8217;s essence contains perfections corresponding to each created thing, and
this correspondence enables those perfections to represent created things to the <span
<!--l. 90--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>I don&#8217;t understand how our ideas, which are entirely passive and inert, can be (or
be like) any part of the essence of God, who is indivisible, never passive, always active.
This hypothesis is open to many other obvious objections, but I shall only add
that in making a created world exist otherwise than in the mind of a spirit, the
hypothesis <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>of Malebranche<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>is liable to all the absurdities of the more usual
views. Added to which it has a special absurdity all its own, namely that it
makes the material world serve no purpose. If it is valid to argue against other
hypotheses in the sciences that they suppose nature or the Divine Wisdom to make
something for no purpose, or to employ tedious round-about methods to get a result
which could have been achieved much more easily and swiftly, what are we to
think of this hypothesis which supposes that the whole world was made for no
<!--l. 92--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>But don&#8217;t you also hold that we see all things in God? If I&#8217;m not mistaken, your
thesis comes near to that.
<!--l. 94--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Few men think, but all insist on having opinions, which is why men&#8217;s opinions are
superficial and confused. It isn&#8217;t surprising that doctrines which in themselves are ever so
different should nevertheless be confused with one another by people who don&#8217;t think
hard about them. So I shan&#8217;t be surprised if some men imagine that I run into the wild
fantasies of Malebranche, though in truth I am very remote from them. He builds
on the most abstract general ideas, which I entirely disclaim. He asserts an
absolute external world, which I deny. He maintains that we are deceived by
our senses, and don&#8217;t know the real natures or the true forms and shapes of
extended things; of all which I hold the direct contrary! So that over-all there
are no principles more fundamentally opposite than his and mine. I have to
say that I entirely agree with what the Holy Scripture says, that &#8216;in God we
live and move and have our being&#8217;. But I am far from believing that we &#8216;see
things in his essence&#8217; in the manner you have presented. Here is my view, in a
nutshell:<dl class="list1"><dt class="list">
<!--l. 95--><p class="noindent" >
</dd><dt class="list">
<!--l. 95--><p class="noindent" >It is evident that the things I perceive are my own ideas, and that no idea
can exist except in a mind. It is equally obvious that these ideas, or things
perceived by me&#8212;or things of which they are copies&#8212;exist independently
of my mind, because I know that I am not their author, it being out of my
power to choose what particular ideas I shall experience when I open my
eyes or ears. So they must exist in some other mind, who wills that they be
exhibited to me.</dd></dl>
<!--l. 96--><p class="noindent" >The things I immediately perceive, I repeat, are ideas or sensations, call them what you will.
But how can any idea or sensation exist in or be produced by anything other than a mind
or spirit? That really is inconceivable; and to assert something that is inconceivable is to
talk nonsense, isn&#8217;t it?
<!--l. 98--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Without doubt.
<!--l. 100--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>On the other side, it is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">very </span>conceivable that ideas or sensations should exist in,
and be produced by, a spirit; because this is just what I experience daily in myself, when I
perceive countless ideas, and by an act of my will can form a great variety of them,
raising them up in my imagination. (Though I have to say that these creatures of my
imagination are not as distinct, strong, vivid, and permanent as are the ones
I perceive through my senses, which latter are called &#8216;real things&#8217;.) From all
this I conclude that there is a mind that affects me every moment with all the
sensible impressions I perceive. And from the variety, order, and manner of these
impressions I conclude that the author of them is wise, powerful, and good,
beyond anything I can comprehend. Please get this straight: I do <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">not </span>say&#8212;<span
Malebranche does<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>&#8212;that I see things by perceiving something that represents them
in the intelligible essence of God. I don&#8217;t <span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>understand that. What I say
is this: the things I perceive are known by the understanding, and produced
by the will, of an infinite Spirit. Isn&#8217;t all this very plain and evident? Is there
anything more in it than what a little observation of our own minds and what
happens in them not only enables us to conceive but also obliges us to assent
<!--l. 102--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I think I understand you very clearly; and I admit that the proof you give of a Deity
is as convincing as it is surprising. But granting that God is the supreme and universal
cause of all things, mightn&#8217;t there be a third kind of thing besides spirits and ideas? May
we not admit a subordinate and limited cause of our ideas? In a word, may there not for
all that be <span
<!--l. 104--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>How often must I teach you the same thing? You agree that the things immediately
perceived by sense exist nowhere outside the mind; but everything that is perceived by
sense is perceived immediately; therefore there is nothing sensible <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>or perceivable<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>that
exists outside the mind. So the <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">matter </span>that you still insist on is presumably <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>meant to be<span
something intelligible&#8212;something that can be discovered by reason and not by the
<!--l. 106--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You are in the right.
<!--l. 108--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Pray let me know what reasoning your belief in matter is based on; and what this
&#8216;matter&#8217; is, in your present sense of the word.
<!--l. 110--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I find myself affected with various ideas which I know I haven&#8217;t caused. And they
couldn&#8217;t cause themselves or cause one another, nor could they exist on their own,
because they are wholly inactive, transient, dependent beings. So they have
some cause other than me and other than themselves; all I claim to know about
this is <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">that it is the cause of my ideas</span>. And this thing, whatever it is, I call
<!--l. 112--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Tell me, Hylas, is everyone free to change the current proper meaning of a common
word in any language? For example, suppose a traveller told you that in a certain country
men can &#8216;pass unhurt through the fire&#8217;; and when he explained himself you found that he
meant by &#8216;fire&#8217; what others call &#8216;water&#8217;; or suppose he said that there are trees
that walk on two legs, meaning <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">men </span>by the term &#8216;trees&#8217;. Would you think this
<!--l. 114--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No; I should think it very absurd. Common custom is the standard of correctness in
language. And deliberately to speak improperly is to pervert the use of speech, and can&#8217;t
achieve anything except to prolong and multiply disputes when there is no real difference
of opinion.
<!--l. 116--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And doesn&#8217;t &#8216;matter&#8217;, in the common current meaning of the word, signify an
extended, solid, movable, unthinking, inactive substance?
<!--l. 118--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It does.
<!--l. 120--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And hasn&#8217;t it been made evident that no such substance can possibly exist? And
even if it did exist, how can something <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">inactive </span>be a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">cause</span>? and how can something
class="cmti-10x-x-109">unthinking </span>be a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">cause of thought</span>? You are free to give the word &#8216;matter&#8217; a meaning that
is contrary to its ordinary one, and to tell me that you understand by &#8216;matter&#8217; an
unextended, thinking, active being, which is the cause of our ideas. But this is just
playing with words, committing the very fault that you have just now rightly condemned.
I don&#8217;t find fault with your reasoning, in that you infer a cause from the phenomena; but
I deny that the cause that reason allows you to infer can properly be called
<!--l. 122--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>There is indeed something in what you say. But I am afraid you don&#8217;t properly
grasp what I mean. I wouldn&#8217;t want you to take me to be denying that God, or an infinite
spirit, is the supreme cause of all things. All I am arguing is that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">subordinate </span>to the
supreme agent <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>or cause<span
class="tcrm-1200">· </span>there is a cause of a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">limited and lower </span>kind, which
concurs in <span
class="cmr-9">= &#8216;goes along with&#8217;</span><span
class="cmr-10">] </span>the production of our ideas, not by the action
proper to spirits (namely acts of will) but by the action proper to matter (namely
<!--l. 124--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>You keep relapsing into your old exploded notion of a movable (and consequently
extended) substance existing outside the mind. What! have you already forgotten what
you were convinced of? Do you want me to repeat everything I have said about this?
Really, this isn&#8217;t arguing fairly, still to assume the existence of something that you have so
often admitted not to exist. But letting that go, I ask Aren&#8217;t all your ideas perfectly
passive and inert, including no kind of action in them?
<!--l. 126--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>They are.
<!--l. 128--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And are sensible qualities anything else but ideas?
<!--l. 130--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>How often have I agreed that they are not?
<!--l. 132--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But isn&#8217;t motion a sensible quality?
<!--l. 134--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>It is.
<!--l. 136--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Consequently it is no action.
<!--l. 138--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I agree with you. And indeed it is obvious that when I move my finger it remains
passive; but my will that produced the motion is active.
<!--l. 140--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Now I want to know in the first place <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>whether, given that motion is not
action, you can conceive any action other than volition; in the second place
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>whether to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">say something and conceive nothing </span>is not to talk nonsense; and lastly,
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>whether having considered the premises, you don&#8217;t see that it is highly absurd and
unreasonable to suppose that our ideas have any efficient or active cause other than
<!--l. 142--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I give up the point entirely. But although matter may not be a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">cause</span>, what blocks it
from being an <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">instrument </span>subservient to the supreme agent in the production of our
<!--l. 144--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>An instrument, you say. Please tell me about the shape, springs, wheels, and
motions of that instrument?
<!--l. 146--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t claim to be able to do that, because both this substance and its qualities are
entirely unknown to me.
<!--l. 148--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>What? So you think it is made up of unknown parts, and has unknown motions and
an unknown shape.
<!--l. 150--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t think it has any shape or motion at all, because you have convinced me that
no sensible qualities can exist in an unperceiving substance.
<!--l. 152--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But what notion can we possibly have of an instrument that has no sensible
qualities, not even extension?
<!--l. 154--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I don&#8217;t claim to have any notion of it.
<!--l. 156--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And what reason do you have to think that this unknown and inconceivable
something does exist? Is it that you think God cannot act as well without it, or that you
find by experience that some such thing is at work when you form ideas in your own
<!--l. 158--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>You are always nagging me for reasons for what I believe. What reasons do <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">you </span>have
for <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">not </span>believing it?
<!--l. 160--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>For me, seeing no reason for believing something is a sufficient reason for not
believing it. But, setting aside reasons for believing, you will not so much as let me know
class="cmti-10x-x-109">what </span>it is you want me to believe, since you say you have no sort of notion of
it. I beg you to consider whether it is like a philosopher, or even like a man
of common sense, to claim to believe you know not what and you know not
<!--l. 162--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Hold on, Philonous! When I tell you that matter is an &#8216;instrument&#8217;, I don&#8217;t mean
absolutely nothing. Admittedly I don&#8217;t know what the particular kind of instrument
it is; but still I have some notion of <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">instrument in general</span>, which I apply to
<!--l. 164--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>But what if it should turn out that even the most general notion of <span
understood as meaning something distinct from <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">cause</span>, contains something that makes the
use of an instrument inconsistent with the divine attributes?
<!--l. 166--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>Show me that and I shall give up the point.
<!--l. 168--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>I shall now do so<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. What do you mean by the general nature or notion of
<!--l. 170--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>The general notion is made up of what is common to all particular instruments.
<!--l. 172--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Don&#8217;t all instruments have this in common: they are used only in doing things that
can&#8217;t be performed by the mere act of our wills? Thus, for instance, I never use an
instrument to move my finger, because it is done by a volition. But I would use an
instrument if I wanted to remove part of a rock or tear up a tree by the roots.
Do you agree with this? Or can you show any example where an instrument
is used in producing an effect which immediately depends on the will of the
<!--l. 174--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I admit that I can&#8217;t.
<!--l. 176--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>Well, then, how can you suppose that an all-perfect Spirit, on whose will all things
absolutely and immediately depend, would need an instrument in his operations, or that
he would use one if he didn&#8217;t need it? Thus, it seems to me, you have to admit that it
would be incompatible with the infinite perfection of God for him to use a lifeless inactive
instrument <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>such as <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">matter </span>is supposed to be<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. That is, your own statements oblige you to
give up the point.
<!--l. 178--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>No answer to that comes readily to mind.
<!--l. 180--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span><span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>There is an answer that <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">should </span>come to your mind<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. You should be ready to admit
to the truth when it has been fairly proved to you. <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>I shall state the proof again<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>. We
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>beings whose powers are finite are forced to make use of instruments. And
the use of an instrument shows that the agent is limited by rules that were
prescribed by someone else <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>and not by him<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, and that he cannot get what he wants
except in such-and-such a way and in such-and-such conditions. This seems
clearly to imply that the <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>supreme unlimited agent uses no tool or instrument
at all. An omnipotent Spirit has only to <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">will </span>that something happen and it
happens, straight off, without the use of any <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">means</span>. When <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>means are employed
by inferior agents <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>like you and me<span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, it isn&#8217;t because of any real causal power
that is in <span
class="tcrm-1000">&bull;</span>them, any necessary fitness to produce the desired effect. Rather,
it is to comply with the laws of nature, or those conditions prescribed to us
by <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, the first cause, who is himself above all limitation or prescription
<!--l. 182--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>I will no longer maintain that matter is an instrument. But don&#8217;t take me to be
giving up on its existence, because, despite everything you have said, it may still be an
<!--l. 184--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>How many shapes is your matter to take? How often must it be proved
not to exist before you are content to let it go? By all the laws of debate I am
entitled to blame you for so frequently changing the meaning of the principal
term <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, but I shan&#8217;t press that point. <span
class="tcrm-1200">·</span>, I ask you this: having
already denied matter to be a <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">cause</span>, what do you mean when you affirm that it is
an <span
class="cmti-10x-x-109">occasion? </span>And when you have shown what you mean by &#8216;occasion&#8217;, then
please show me what reason leads you to believe there is such an occasion of our
<!--l. 186--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Hyl: </span>As to the first point: by &#8216;occasion&#8217; I mean an inactive, unthinking being, at the
presence of which God causes ideas in our minds.
<!--l. 188--><p class="noindent" ><span
class="cmbx-10x-x-109">Phil: </span>And what may be the nature of that inactive, unthinking being?
<!--l. 190--><p class="noindent" ><