Thomas Reid, Selections from the Scottish Philosophy of by G. A. (edited by) Johnston

By G. A. (edited by) Johnston

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If we would know the works of God, we must consult themselves with attention and humility, without daring to add anything of ours to what they declare. A just interpretation of nature is the only sound and orthodox philosophy: whatever we add of our own is apocryphal, and of no authority. All our curious theories of the formation of the earth, of the generation of animals, of the origin of natural and moral evil, so far as they go beyond a just induction from facts, are vanity and folly, no less than the Vortices of Des Cartes, or the Archseus of Paracelsus.

It is by the proper culture of these that -we are capable of all those improvements in intellectuals, in taste, and in morals, which exalt and dignify human nature; while, on the other hand, the neglect or perversion of them makes its degeneracy and corruption. The two-legged animal that eats of nature's dainties, what his taste or appetite craves, and satisfies his thirst at the crystal fountain, who propagates his kind as occasion and lust prompt, 32 PHILOSOPHY OF COMMON SENSE repels injuries, and takes alternate labour and repose, is, like a tree in the forest, purely of nature's growth.

Imagination is distinct from both, but is no principle of belief. Sensation implies the present existence of its object, memory its past existence, but imagination views its object naked, and without any belief of its existence or non-existence, and is therefore what the schools call Simple Apprehension . • REID 43 § 3. JUDGMENT AND BELIEF IN SOME CASES PRECEDE SIMPLE ApPREHENSION But here, again, the ideal system comes in our way: it teaches us that the first operation of the mind about its ideas, is simple apprehension-that is, the bare conception of a thing without any belief about it: and that, after we have got simple apprehensions, by comparing them together, we perceive agreements or disagreements between them; and that this perception of the agreement or disagreement of ideas is all that we call belief, judgment, or knowledge.

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