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Chapter

Certain Truths.docx


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 2203E
Professor
Charles Middleton

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BOOK ONE
NO INNATE SPECULATIVE PRINCIPLES
There is nothing more commonly taken for granted than that there are certain principles both
speculative and practical universally agreed upon by all mankind
Must bends to be the constant impressions, as they do any of their inherent faculties
That if it were true in matter of fact that there were certain truths wherein all mankind agreed, t
would not prove them innate
Argument of universal consent which is made use of to prove innate principles, so settled a
reputation of maxims universally received
Be though strange if anyone should seem to question it, propositions are so far from having any
universal assent a great part of mankind
All children and idiots have no the least apprehension or thought of them universal assent
needs to be necessary concomitant of all innate truths
Therefore children and idiots have souls, have minds with those impressions upon them they
must unavoidably perceive them, and necessarily know and asset to these truths
To say a notion is imprinted on the mind, and yet at the same time to say that the mind is
ignorant of it and never yet took notice of it is to make this impression nothing
If anyone can be said to be in the mind it must be only because it is capable of knowing it
For nobody, I think ever denied that the mind was capable of knowing several truths
If truths can be imprinted on the understanding without being perceived I can see no difference
there can be between any truths the mind is capable of knowing in respect of their original they
must all be innate or all adventitious
Infants and all that have souls must necessarily have them in their understandings knowing the
truth of them and assent to it
The senses at first let in particular ideas
The mind comes to be furnished with ideas and language
The materials about which to exercise its discursive faculty
And the use of reason becomes daily more visible as these materials that give it employment
increase
The knowledge of some truths is very early in the mind but in a way that shows them not to be
innate
Not innate but acquired
As soon as it is able to retain and perceive distinct ideas
NO INNATE PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES
Where is that practical truth that is universally received,
Justice and keeping of contracts is that which most men seem to agree in
Rules of convenience within their own communities but it is impossible to conceive that he
embraces justice as a practical principle who acts fairly with his fellow highway man
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