A Treatise of Human Nature
A Treatise of Human Nature

A Treatise of Human Nature

SUBJECT. (LocationĀ 7)

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It is evident, that all the sciences have a relation, greater or less, to human nature: and that however wide any of them may seem to run from it, they still return back by one passage or another. (LocationĀ 100)

It is impossible to tell what changes and improvements we might make in these sciences were we thoroughly acquainted with the extent and force of human understanding, and could explain the nature of the ideas we employ, and of the operations we perform in our reasonings. (LocationĀ 103)

The sole end of logic is to explain the principles and operations of our reasoning faculty, and the nature of our ideas: morals and criticism regard our tastes and sentiments: and politics consider men as united in society, and dependent on each other. In these four sciences of Logic, Morals, Criticism, and Politics, is comprehended almost everything, which it can any way import us to be acquainted with, or which can tend either to the improvement or ornament of the human mind. (LocationĀ 109)

And as the science of man is the-only solid foundation for the other sciences, so the only solid foundation we can give to this science itself must be laid on experience and observation. (LocationĀ 119)

I do not think a philosopher, who would apply himself so earnestly to the explaining the ultimate principles of the soul, would show himself a great master in that very science of human nature, which he pretends to explain, or very knowing in what is naturally satisfactory to the mind of man. (LocationĀ 134)

All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call IMPRESSIONS and IDEAS. (LocationĀ 157)

Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence, we may name impressions: and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions and emotions, as they make their first (LocationĀ 159)

appearance in the soul. By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning; (LocationĀ 160)

Simple perceptions or impressions and ideas are such as admit of no distinction nor separation. The complex are the contrary to these, and may be distinguished into parts. (LocationĀ 174)

The first circumstance, that strikes my eye, is the great resemblance betwixt our impressions and ideas in every other particular, except their degree of force and vivacity. (LocationĀ 178)

capable, I venture to affirm, that the rule here holds without any exception, and that every simple idea has a simple impression, which resembles it, and every simple impression a correspondent idea. (LocationĀ 190)

Having discovered this relation, which requires no farther examination, I am curious to find some other of their qualities. Let us consider how they stand with regard to their existence, and which of the impressions and ideas are causes, and which effects. (LocationĀ 198)


but in each kind the phenomena are obvious, numerous, and conclusive. I first make myself certain, by a new, review, of what I have already asserted, that every simple impression is attended with a correspondent idea, and every simple idea with a correspondent impression. (LocationĀ 202)

Our ideas upon their appearance produce not their correspondent impressions, nor do we perceive any colour, or feel any sensation merely upon thinking of them. (LocationĀ 210)

This then is the first principle I establish in the science of human nature; nor ought we to despise it because of the simplicity of its appearance. For it is remarkable, that the present question concerning the precedency of our impressions or ideas, is the same with what has made so much noise in other terms, when it has been disputed whether there be any INNATE IDEAS, (LocationĀ 237)

philosophers do nothing but shew that they are conveyed by our senses. (LocationĀ 240)

they observe that we have a preceding experience of these emotions in ourselves. (LocationĀ 241)

but that ideas are preceded by other more lively perceptions, from which the are derived, and which they represent. (LocationĀ 242)

Impressions way be divided into two kinds, those Of SENSATION and those of REFLEXION. (LocationĀ 246)

An impression first strikes upon the senses, and makes us perceive heat or cold, thirst or hunger, pleasure or pain of some kind or other. (LocationĀ 248)

Of this impression there is a copy taken by the mind, which remains after the impression ceases; and this we call an idea. (LocationĀ 249)

soul, produces the new impressions of desire and aversion, hope and fear, which may properly be called impressions of reflexion, because derived from it. (LocationĀ 250)

which perhaps in their turn give rise to other impressions and ideas. (LocationĀ 252)

that when any impression has been present with the mind, it again makes its appearance there as an idea; and this it may do after two different ways: (LocationĀ 258)

The faculty, by which we repeat our impressions in the first manner, is called the MEMORY, (LocationĀ 260)

the other the IMAGINATION. (LocationĀ 261)

It is evident, that the memory preserves the original form, in which its objects were presented, and that where-ever we depart from it in recollecting any thing, it proceeds from some defect or imperfection in that faculty. (LocationĀ 269)

The chief exercise of the memory is not to preserve the simple ideas, but their order and position. (LocationĀ 273)


Nature there is totally confounded, and nothing mentioned but winged horses, fiery dragons, and monstrous giants. (LocationĀ 276)

Not to mention, that this is an evident consequence of the division of ideas into simple and complex. (LocationĀ 278)

some measure, uniform with itself in all times and places. Were ideas entirely loose and unconnected, chance alone would join them; and it is impossible the same simple ideas should fall regularly into complex ones (as they Commonly do) without some bond of union among them, some associating quality, by which one idea naturally introduces another. (LocationĀ 282)

The qualities, from which this association arises, and by which the mind is after this manner conveyed from one idea to another, are three, viz. RESEMBLANCE, CONTIGUITY in time or place, and CAUSE and EFFECT. (LocationĀ 288)

Father Malbranche, Book vi. Part 2, chap. 3. And the illustrations upon it.] There are some, who maintain, that bodies operate by their substantial form; (LocationĀ 2423)

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philosophy. The small success, which has been met with (LocationĀ 2435)

almost unanimous; and it is only in the inference they draw from it, that they discover any (LocationĀ 2437)