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Sceptical Doubts.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2500F/G

SCEPTICAL DOUBTS CONCERNING THE OPERATIONS OF THE UNDERSTANDING  All the object of human reason or enquiry may naturally be divided into two kinds, to wit relations of ideas and matters of fact  Every affirmation which is either intuitively or demonstratively certain  Propositions of this kind are discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on what is anywhere existent in the universe  Matters of fact, which are the second object of human reason are not ascertained in the same manner  That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition and implies no more contradiction than the affirmation  The discovery of defects in the common philosophy if any such there be, will not, I presume be a discouragement, but rather an incitement as is usual to attempt something more full and satisfactory than has yet been proposed to the public  All reasoning’s concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on the relation of cause and effect  Is constantly supposed that there is a connection between the present fact and that which is inferred from it  If we anatomize all other reasoning’s of this nature we shall find that they are founded on the relation of cause and effect, and that this relation is either near or remote, direct of collateral  The knowledge of this relation is not, in any instance, attained by reasoning’s a priori  Entirely from experience when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other – let an object be presented to a man of ever so strong natural reason and abilities he will not be able by the most accurate examination of its sensible qualities to discover any of its causes or effects  When an effects is supposed to depend upon an intricate machinery or secret structure of parts, we make no difficulty in attributing all our knowledge of it to experience  Influence of custom that where it is strongest is not only covers our natural ignorance but even conceals itself and seems not to take place merely because it is found in the highest degree  Invention must be entirely arbitrary – the mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause  Renders it impossible that any other effect could result from the operation of that cause  All our reasoning’s a priori will never be able to show us any foundation for this preference  Every effect is a distinct event from its cause. It could not be discovered in the cause, a priori must be entirely arbitrary  Hence we may discover the reason why no philosopher who is rational and modest has ever pretended to assign the ultimate cause of any natural operation  Every part of mixed mathematics pro
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