1. [Ambition is] so powerful in the hearts of men that it never leaves them, no matter to what height they may rise.  The reason of this is that nature has created men so that they desire everything, but are unable to attain it; desire being thus always greater than the faculty of acquiring, discontent with what they have and dissatisfaction with themselves result from it.(p.27)
  2. These [Christian] principles seem to me to have made men feeble, and caused them to become an easy prey to evil-minded men. (p.28)
  3. The only way to establish any kind of order ... is to establish some superior power which, with a royal hand, and with full and absolute powers, may put a curb upon the excessive ambition and corruption of the powerful. (p.28)
  4. For injuries should be done all together, so that being less tasted they will give less offfence.  Benefits should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed.(p.29
  5. Still, the experience of our times shows these princes to have done great things who have had little regard for good faith, and have been able by astuteness to confuse men's brains ...  (p.30)
  6. In truth, there never was any remarkable lawgiver amongst any people who did not resort to divine authority, as otherwise his laws would not have been accepted by the people .... (p.31)
  7. And therefore everything that tends to favour religion (even though it were believed to be false) should be received and availed of to strengthen it ... (p.31)


  1. But if a man should succed, not in striking out some particular invention, however useful, but in kindling a light in nature ... that man (I thought) would be the benefactor indeed of the human race -- the propagator of man's empire over the universe, the champion of liberty, the conquerer and subduer of necessities. (pp.74-75).
  2. [T]he human intellect makes its own difficulties [but can be] restored to its perfect and original condition [which is] like a fair sheet of paper with no writing on it [or] like a mirror with a true and even surface fit to reflect the genuine way of things. (pp.75-76)
  3. Therefore if the notions themselves (which is the root of the matter) are confused and over-hastily abstracted from the facts, there can be no firmness in the superstructure.  (p. 77)
  4. The human understanding is of its own nature prone to suppose the existence of more order and regularity in the world than it finds.  ...  Hence the fiction that all celestial bodies move in perfect circles.  (p.79)
  5. The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion ... draws all things else to support and agree with it. (p.79)
  6. What a man had rather were true he more readily believes. (p.79)
  7. For men believe that their reason governs words; but it is also true that words react on the understanding; and thus it is that has rendered philosophy and the sciences sophistical and inactive.  Now words, being commonly framed and applied according to the capacity of the vulgar, follow those lines of division which are most obvious to the vulgar understanding.  And whenever an understanding of greater acuteness or a more diligent observation would alter those lines to suit the true divisions of nature, words stand in the way and resist the change.  (pp.79-80)
  8. We must lead men to the particulars themselves, and their series and order; while men on their side must force themselves for awhile to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with the facts. (p.81)
  9. I contrive that the office of sense shall only be to judge of the experiment, and that the experiment itself shall judge of the thing. {p.81}
  10. [I have]] established forever a true and lawful marriage between the empirical and rational faculty, the unkind and ill-starred divorce and separation of which has thrown into confusion all the affairs of the human family." (p. 91)


  1. The principle parts of philosophy are two.  For two chief kinds of bodies, and very different from one another, offer themselves to such a search after their generation and properties; one whereof being the work of nature is called a natural body, and the other is called a commonwealth and is made by the wills and agreement of men. (121)
  2. But the knowledge of what is infinite can never be acquired by a finite inquirer.  Whatsoever we know that are men, we learn it from our phantasms; and of infinite, whether magnitude or time, there is no phantasm at all; so that it is impossible either for a man or any other creature to have any conception of infinite. (123)
  3. An entire cause is always sufficient for the production of its effect, if that effect be at all possible.  (124).
  4. And seeing a necessary cause is defined to be that, which being supposed, the effect cannot by follow; this also may be collected, that whatsoever effect is produced at any time, the same is produced by a necessary cause. (124)
  5. Wherefore, all propositions concerning future things, contingent or not contingent, as this, it will rain tomorrow, or this, tomorrow the sun will rise, are either necessarily true, or necessarily false; be we call them contingent because we do not know yet whether they be true or false; whereas there verity depends not upon our knowledge, but upon the foregoing of their causes. (125)
  6. The same body may at different times be compared with itself.  And from hence springs the great controversy among philosophers about the beginning of individuation, namely, in what sense it may be conceived that a body is at one time the same, at another time not the same as it was formerly. (125)
  7. But we must consider by what name anything is called, when we inquire concerning the identity of it. (126)
  8. Whensoever the name, by which it is asked whether a thing be the same it was, is given for the matter only, then if the matter be the same, the thing also is individually the same; as the water, which was in the sea, is the same which is afterwards in the cloud ... (126)
  9. Also if a name be given for such form as is the beginning of motion, then as long as that motion remains it is the same individual thing; as that man will always be the same, whose actions and thoughts proceed all from the same beginning of motion, namely, that which was in his generation ...  (126)
  10. Whatsoever accidents or qualities our senses make us think there are in the world, they are not there, but are seeming and apparitions only: the thing that really are in the world without us are those motions by which these seemings are caused.  This is the great deception of sense. (129)
  11. For after the object is removed, or the eye shut, we still retain an image of the thing seen, though more obscure than when we see it.  (130)
  12. This decaying sense, when we would express the thing itself, I mean fancy itself, we call imagination, as I said before: but when we would express the decay, and signify that the sense is fading, old, and past, it is called memory.  So that imagination and memory are but one thing, which for divers considerations hath divers names. (131)
  13. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently.  But as we have no imagination, whereof we have not formerly has sense, in whole, or in parts; so we have no transition from one imagination to another whereof we never had the like before in our senses.  (131)
  14. [Reasoning is] nothing but reckoning, that is adding and subtracting, of the consequences of general names. (133-134)
  15. No man can know by discourse, that this, or that, is, has been, or will be; which is to know absolutely: but only, that if this be, that is; if this has been, that has been; if this shall be, that shall be: which is to know conditionally; and that not the consequence of one thing to another; but of one name of a thing, to another name of a thing. (134)
  16. The alternate succession of appetites, aversions, hopes and fears, is no less in other living creatures than in man; and therefore beasts also deliberate. (138)
  17. Will therefore is the last appetite in deliberating. (138)
  18. For these words of good, evil, and contemptible, are ever used with relation to the person that useth them: there being nothing absolutely so; nor any common rule of good and evil to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves; but from the person of the man, where there is no commonwealth; or, in a commonwealth, from the person that representeth it; or from an arbiter or judge, who men, disagreeing, shall by consent set up, and make his sentence the rule thereof. (137-138)
  19. Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of the body, and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend as well as he. (140-141)
  20. Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in tat condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man, against every man. (141)
  21. In such a condition . . . [is] the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (142)
  22. Fear of power invisible, feigned by the mind, or imagined from tales publicly allowed, [is called] RELIGION; not allowed [is called] SUPERSTITION. (144)
  23. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within; why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves but so many strings; and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by its artificer.
  24. For by art is created the great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE ... which is but an artificial man. (145)
  25. Of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some good for himself. (146)
  26. [T]here must be some coercive power, to compel men equally to the performance of their covenants, by the terror of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their covenant; ... and such power there is none before the erection of a commonwealth. (147)
  27. The only way to erect such a common power ... is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men.... (149)


  1. I must once, for all, seriously undertake to rid myself of all the opinions which I had previously accepted and commence to build anew from the foundation, if I wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences. (Med. 1)
  2. [Since] reason already persuades me that I ought no less carefully withhold my assent from matters which are not entirely certain and indubitable than from those which appear to me manifestly to be false, if I am able to find in each one some reason to doubt, this will suffice to justify my rejecting the whole. (Med. 1)
  3. I see so manifestly that there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep. (163)
  4. I shall then suppose . . . some evil genius not less powerful than deceitful, has employed his whole energies in deceiving me; I shall consider that ... all ... external things are but illusions and dreams of which this genius has availed himself to lay traps for my credulity. (163)
  5. "I am, I exist" is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it. (164)
  6. [Thought] alone cannot be separated from me. (Med. 2)
  7. To speak accurately I am not more than a thing which thinks, that is to say a mind or a soul, or an understanding, or a reason. (Med. 2)
  8. What is a thing which thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands, [conceives], affirms, denies, wills, refuses, which also imagines and feels. (Med. 2)
  9. It is so evident that it is I who doubt, who understand, and who desire, that there is no reason here to add anything to explain it. (Med. 2)
  10. [I]t is at least quite certain that it seems to me that I see light, that I hear noise and that I feel heat. That cannot be false; properly speaking it is what is in me called feeling; and use in this precise sense that is no other than thinking. (Med. 2)
  11. We must then grant that I could not even understand through the imagination what this piece of wax is, and that it is my mind alone that perceives it. (Med. 2)
  12. I see clearly that there is nothing that is easier for me to know than my own mind. (Med. 2)
  13. I can establish as a general rule that all things which I perceive very clearly and distinctly are true. (Med. 3)
  14. Let who will deceive me, He can never cause ... any ... thing in which I see a manifest contradiction. (Med. 3)
  15. Now it is manifest by the natural light that there must be as much reality in the efficient and total cause as in the effect. (Med. 3)
  16. God, in creating me, placed this idea within me to be like the mark of the workman imprinted on his work. (Med. 3)
  17. [T]he light of nature teaches us that fraud and deception necessarily proceed from some defect. (Med. 3)
  18. When I imagine a triangle, although there may nowhere in the world be such a figure outside my thought, or ever have been, there is nevertheless in this figure, a certain determinate nature, form, or essence, which is immutable and eternal, which I have not invented, and which in no wise depends on my mind. (Med. 5)
  19. I clearly see that existence can no more be separated from the essence of God than can its having its three angles equal to two right angles can be separated from the essence of a triangle, or the idea of a mountain from the idea of a valley. (Med. 5)
  20. [N]ot that my thought can bring this to pass, or impose any necessity on things, but, on the contrary ... the necessity which lies in the thing itself ... determines me to think this way. (Med. 5)
  21. [I]t may happen that in imagining a chiliagon, I confusedly represent to myself some figure, yet it is very evident that this figure is not a chiliagon since it in no way differs from that which I represent to myself when I think of a myriagon or any other many-sided figure. (Med. 6)
  22. This power of imagination ... inasmuch as it differs from the power of understanding, is in no wise a necessary element in my nature ... from which we might conclude that it depends on something which differs from me. (Med. 6)
  23. [Imagination] differs from pure intellection ... inasmuch as the mind in its intellectual activity in some manner turns on itself and considers ... ideas which it possesses in itself; while in imagining it turns toward the body .... (Med. 6)
  24. But, since God is no deceiver, it is very manifest that He does not communicate to me these ideas immediately and by Himself.  ...  For since He has given me no faculty to recognize that this is the case, but on the other hand a very great inclination to believe that they are conveyed to me by corporeal objects, I do not see how he could be defended against the accusation of deceit if these ideas were produced by causes other than corporeal objects.  Hence we must allow that corporeal things exist. (173)
  25. [I]n approaching fire I feel heat, and in approaching it a little too near I even feel pain [and] there is ... no reason in this which could persuade me that there is in the fire something resembling this heat any more than there is something resembling the pain; all that I have any reason to believe from this is that there is something in it, whatever it may be, which excites in me these sensations of heat or pain. (Med. 6)
  26. [Although] I possess a body with which I am very intimately conjoined.... it is certain that this [that is to say, my soul by which I am what I am[ is entirely and absolutely distinct from my body, and can exist without it. (Med. 6)
  27. [E]ach substance has a principal attribute, and ... the attribute of the mind is thought, while that of body is extension. (175)
  28. [Body] is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible. (Med. 6)
  29. Nature also teaches me by the sensations of pain, hunger, thirst, etc. that I am not only lodged in my body as a pilot in a vessel, but that I am very closely united to it, and so to speak so intermingled with it that I seem to compose with it one whole. (Med. 6)
  30. I consider the body of a man as being a sort of machine so built up and composed of nerves, muscles, veins, blood and skin, that though there were no mind at all, it would not cease to have the same motions as at present, exception being made of those movements which are due to the direction of the will and in consequence depend on the mind [as opposed to those which operate by the disposition of the organs. (Med. 6)
  31. [T]he mind does not receive the impressions from all parts of the body immediately, but only from one of its smallest parts, to wit, from that in which the common sense is said to reside. (Med. 6)
  32. [I]f there were machines bearing the image of our bodies, and capable of imitating our actions as far as it is [practically] possible, there would still remain two most certain tests whereby to know that they were not therefore, really men. Of these the first is that they could never use words or other signs arranged in such a manner as is competent in us in order to declare our thoughts to others ... so as appositely to reply to what is said in its presence. The second test is ... to act in all the contingencies of life in the way in which our reason makes us act. (Discourse on Method, Part 5)
  33. [Animals] are destitute of reason ... and ... it is nature that acts in them [mechanically]. (Discourse on Method, Part 5)
  34. [T]he principal error and the commonest which we may meet with in them, consists in my judging that the ideas which are in me are similar or conformable to the things which are outside me .... (181)


  1. Extension is an attribute of God, or God is an extended thing.
  2. God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
  3. For intellect and will, which should constitute the essence of God [conceived personally], would perforce be as far apart as the poles from the human intellect and will, in fact, would have nothing in common with them but the name; there would be about as much correspondence between the two as between the Dog, the heavenly constellation, and a dog, an animal that barks.
  4. Nature has no end set before it. ... If God acts for the sake of an end, he [must] want something that he lacks.
  5. [T]hey have attribute[d] another freedom to God, far different from that we taught, viz. an absolute will.
  6. Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavors to persist in its own being.
  7. In the Mind there is no absolute, or free, will, but the Mind is determined to will this or that by a cause, which is also determined by another, and this again by another, and so to infinity.
  8. As for the terms good and bad, they indicate no positive quality in things regarded in themselves, but are merely modes of thinking, or notions which we form from the comparison of things with one another.  Thus one and the same thing can be at the same time good, bad, and indifferent.  For instance music is good for him that is melancholy, bad for him that mourns; for him that is deaf it it neither good nor bad.
  9. Things could be produced by God in no other way and in no other order than they have been produced.
  10. We should await and endure fortune's smiles or frowns with an equal mind, seeing that all things follow from the eternal decree of God by the same necessity, as it follows from the essence of a triangle that the three angles are equal to two right angles.


  1. I do not believe that extension alone constitutes substance, since its conception is incomplete.... We we can analyze it into plurality, continuity, and coexistence (that is simultaneous existence of parts). Hence I believe that our thought of substance is perfectly satisfied in the conception of force and not in that of extension.
  2. Each Monad ... must be different from every other. For there are never in nature two beings which are exactly alike.
  3. The passing condition which involves or represents a multiplicity in the unity, or in the simple substance, is nothing else but perception, which must be distinguished from apperception or consciousness ....  Here it is that the the Cartesians especially failed, having taken no account of the perceptions of which we are not conscious.  It is this also which made them believe that ... there are no souls of brutes or of other entelechies.
  4. There is nothing besides perceptions and their changes to be found in the simple substance.
  5. [K]nowledge of eternal and necessary truths is that which distinguishes us from mere animals and gives us reason and the sciences, thus raising us to a knowledge of ourselves and God.
  6. God alone is without body.
  7. [T]he soul follows its own [final causal] laws, and the body also its own [efficient causal] laws. They are fitted to each other in virtue of the pre-established harmony between all substances.
  8. Whence we see that there is a world of creatures, of living being, of animals, of entelechies in the smallest particle of matter. (226)
  9. Each portion of matter may be conceived of as a garden full of plants, and as a pond full of fishes.  But each branch of the plant, each member of the animal, very drop of its humors is also such a garden or such a pond.
  10. It is thus that the ultimate reason for [contingent] things must be a necessary substance ... and this substance we call God.
  11. Therefore, God alone (or the Necessary Being) has this prerogative that if he be possible he must necessarily exist, and as nothing is able to prevent the possibility of that which involves no bounds, no negation, and consequently no contradiction, this alone is sufficient to establish a priori his existence.
  12. [I]f we were able to understand sufficiently well the order of the universe, we should find that it surpasses all the desires of the wisest of us, and that it is impossible to render it better than it is, not only for all in general, but also for each one of us in particular, provided that we have the proper attachment for the author ... as our Lord and Final Cause, who ought to be the whole goal of our will, and who alone can make us happy.


  1. If we disbelieve everything because we cannot certainly know all things we shall do ... as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly (I: i:5 )
  2. No proposition [or idea] can be said to be in the mind which it never yet knew, which it was never yet conscious of. (I:ii:5)
  3. [M]en, barely by the use of their natural faculties, may attain to all the knowledge they have without the help of any innate impressions; and may arrive at certainty without any such original notions and or principles. (I:ii:1)
  4. And if they ... carry the notion of excellency, greatness, or something extraordinary ... the idea is likely to sink the deeper, and spread the farther; especially if it be an idea ... naturally deducible from every part of our knowledge, as that of a God is. (I:ii:9)
  5. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? .... To this I answer in one word, from experience. (II:i:2)
  6. [W]e have no such clear idea at all, and therefore signify nothing by the word substance, but only an uncertain supposition of we know not what, i.e., of something whereof we have no particular and distinct positive idea, which we take to be the substratum, or support, or those ideas we do know.
  7. [I]t is plain that the ideas that [perceived things] produce in the mind enter by the senses simple and unmixed. (II:ii:1)
  8. I would have anyone try to fancy any taste which had never affected his palate; or frame the idea of a scent he had never smelt: And when he can do this, I will also conclude that a blind man hath ideas of colours, and a deaf man true distinct notions of sounds. (II,ii,2)
  9. It is the ordinary qualities observable in iron, or a diamond, put together, that make the true complex idea of those substances. (II:xxiii:3)
  10. [W]e have as clear a notion of the substance of spirit, as we have of body; the one being supposed to be (without knowing what it is) the substratum of those simple ideas we have from without; and the other supposed (with like ignorance of what it is) to be the substratum to those operations we experiment in ourselves within. (II:xxiii:5)
  11. The idea of a beginning of motion we have only from reflection on what passes in ourselves, where we find by experience that barely by willing it ... we can move the parts of our bodies. (II:xxi: 4)
  12. In the next place, man knows, by an intuitive certainty, that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to two right angles. (IV:ix:3)
  13. [Regarding external existence] I have not that certainty of it that we strictly call knowledge; though the great likelihood of it puts me past doubt, and it be reasonable for me to do several things upon the confidence (IV:ix:9)
  14. These I call original or primary qualities of bodies ... solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest, and number. (II:viii:9)
  15. Secondly, such qualities [as color, taste, and odor] which in truth are nothing in the objects themselves but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities, i.e., by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts. (II:viii:10).
  16. Things are good or evil only in reference to pleasure or pain.  That we call good, which is apt to cause or increase pleasure, or diminish pain in us; or else to procure or preserve us in the possession of any other good or absence of any evil. And, on the contrary, we name that evil which is apt ot produce or increase any pain, or diminish any pleasure in us. (259)
  17. To understand political power aright, and derive it from its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom. (267)
  18. Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent .... (269-270)
  19. Whosoever, therefore, . . . unite into a community, must be understood to give up all the power necessary to the ends for which they unite into society to the majority of the community, unless they expressly agreed in any number greater than the majority. (270)
  20. [G]old and silver may be hoarded up without injury to anyone. (272)
  21. The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of Nature there are many things wanting. (273)
  22. The business of laws is not to provide for the truth of opinions, but for the safety and security of th Commonwealth, and of every particular man's goods and person. (276)
  23. [I]t is absurd that things should be enjoined by laws, which are not in men's powers to perform. And to believe this or that to be true, does not depend on our will. (276)
  24. So far as anyone can, by the direction or choice of his mind, preferring the existence of any action to the non-existence of that action and vice versa, make it to exist or not to exist; so far is he free. (II:xxi:21)
  25. [I]t passes for a good plea, that a man is not free at all, if he be not as free to will as he is to act what he wills . (II:xxi: 22).
  26. [A] question that needs no answer": it's "to ask whether a man can will what he wills and they who can make a question of it must suppose one will to determine the acts of another; and so on in infinitum. (II:xxi:25)
  27. [It is] one thing to be the same substance another to be the same man, and a third to be the same person, if person, man and substance are three names standing for different ideas; for such as is the idea belonging to that name, such must be the identity (II:xxvii:7).
  28. For should the soul of a prince, carrying with it the consciousness of the prince's past life, enter and inform the body of a cobbler ... everyone sees he would be the same person with the prince, accountable only for the prince's actions: but who would say it's the same man. (II:xxvii: 15)
  29. [A person] is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different places or times, which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking . ... (II: xvii:9)
  30. I say ... our consciousness being interrupted and we losing the sight of our past selves, doubts are raised whether we are the same thinking thing, i.e., the same substance or no. (II:xxvii: 10)


  1. Whether others have this wonderful faculty of abstracting their ideas they best can tell: for myself I find indeed I have a faculty of imagining or representing to myself the ideas of those particular things I have perceived, and variously compounding and dividing them.... But then, whatever hand or eye I imagine, it must have some particular shape and colour.... I cannot by any effort of thought conceive the abstract idea [of an man] above described. (Intro. §10)
  2. What more easy than for anyone to look a little into his own thoughts, and there try whether he has, or can attain to have, an idea that shall correspond with ... the general idea of a triangle which is neither oblique, nor rectangle, nor equilateral, epicrural, nor scalene, but all and none of these at once? (Intro.§13)
  3. The table I write on, I say, exists, that is, I see and feel it; and if I were out of my study I should say it existed meaning that if I was in my study I might perceive it, or that some other spirit actually does perceive it. (I §3)
  4. For as to what is said of the absolute existence of unthinking things without any relation to their being perceived, that seems perfectly unintelligible. Their esseis percipi, nor is it possible they should have any existence out of the minds of thinking things which perceive them. (I §3)
  5. But my conceiving or imagining power does not extend beyond the possibility of real existence or perception. Hence as it is impossible for me to see or feel anything without an actual sensation of that thing, so is it impossible for me to conceive in my thoughts any sensible thing or object distinct from the sensation or perception of it. (I §5)
  6. Hence it is plain that the very notion of what is called matter, or corporeal substance, involves a contradiction in it. (I§9)
  7. But do you not yourself perceive or think of them all the while? This therefore ... does not show that you can conceive it possible the objects of your thought may exist without the mind: to make this out, it is necessary that you conceive them existing unconceived or unthought of, which is a manifest repugnancy. (I §23)
  8. ll our ideas ... are visibly inactive; there is nothing of power or agency included in them. (I §24)
  9. [T]he cause of ideas is an incorporeal active substance or spirit. (I §26)
  10. The ideas of sense are more strong, lively, and distinct than those of the imagination; they have likewise a steadiness order and coherence and are not excited at random, as those which are the effects of human wills often are, but in a regular series, the admirable connexion whereof sufficiently testifies the wisdom and benevolence of its Author. (I §30)
  11. [I]t will be objected, that from the foregoing principles ... things are every moment annihilated and created anew. (I §45)
  12. We may not conclude that they have no existence, except only while they are perceived by us, since there may be some other spirit that perceives them, though we do not. (I §48)


  1. For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep, so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist. And were all my perceptions removed by death, and could I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love, nor hate, after the dissolution of my body, I should be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect nonentity. If any one, upon serious and unprejudiced reflection, thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason no longer with him. All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular. He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continued, which he calls himself; though I am certain there is no such principle in me. (Treatise I:4:vi)
  2. [Selves are] nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions which succeed each other with an incomparable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and motion. Our eyes cannot turn in their sockets without varying our perceptions. (Treatise I:4:vi)
  3. The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, repass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations.  (Treatise I:4:vi)
  4. It is remarkable concerning the operations of the mind, that, though most intimately present to us, yet, whenever they become the object of reflexion, they seem involved in obscurity; nor can the eye readily find those lines and boundaries, which discriminate and distinguish them. (Enquiry I)
  5. [A]ll our ideas or more feeble perceptions are copies of our impressions or more lively ones. (Enquiry II)
  6. When we entertain ... suspicion that a philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea ... we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived? And if it be impossible to assign any, this will ... confirm our suspicion. (Enquiry II)
  7. To me, there appear to be only three principles of connexion among ideas, namely, Resemblance,Contiguity in time or place, and Cause or Effect. (Enquiry III)
  8. The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible; because it can never imply a contradiction, and is conceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable to reality. That the sun will not rise to-morrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction than the affirmation, that it will rise. (Enquiry IV)
  9. It is impossible, therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of the past to the future; since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance. (Enquiry IV)
  10. In vain do you pretend to have learned the nature of bodies from your past experience. Their secret nature, and consequently all their effects and influence, may change, without any change in their sensible qualities. This happens sometimes, and with regard to some objects: Why may it not happen always, and with regard to all objects? (Enquiry IV)
  11. Adam, though his rational faculties be supposed, at the very first, entirely perfect, could not have inferred from the fluidity and transparency of water that it would suffocate him, or from the light and warmth of fire that it would consume him. (Enquiry IV)
  12. [I]n all reasonings from experience, there is a step taken by the mind which is not supported by any argument or process of the understanding. (Enquiry IV)
  13. It is true, when any cause fails of producing its usual effect, philosophers ascribe not this to any irregularity in nature; but suppose, that some secret causes, in the particular structure of parts, have prevented the operation. Our reasonings, however, and conclusions concerning the event are the same as if this principle had no place. (Enquiry VI)
  14. When we look about us towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we are never able, in a single instance, to discover any power or necessary connexion; any quality, which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one an infallible consequence of the other. We only find, that the one does actually, in fact, follow the other. (Enquiry VII)
  15. How indeed can we be conscious of a power to move our limbs, when we have no such power; but only that to move certain animal spirits, which, though they produce at last the motion of our limbs, yet operate in such a manner as is wholly beyond our comprehension? (Enquiry VII)
  16. Our idea, therefore, of necessity and causation arises entirely from the uniformity observable in the operations of nature, where similar objects are constantly conjoined together, and the mind is determined by custom to infer the one from the appearance of the other. These two circumstances form the whole of that necessity, which we ascribe to matter. Beyond the constant conjunction of similar objects, and the consequent inference from one to the other, we have no notion of any necessity or connexion. (Enquiry VIII)
  17. The same prisoner, when conducted to the scaffold, foresees his death as certainly from the constancy and fidelity of his guards, as from the operation of the axe or wheel. (Enquiry VIII)
  18. A man who at noon leaves his purse full of gold on the pavement at Charing-Cross, may as well expect that it will fly away like a feather, as that he will find it untouched an hour after. (Enquiry VIII)
  19. We feel, that our actions are subject to our will, on most occasions; and imagine we feel, that the will itself is subject to nothing, because, when by a denial of it we are provoked to try, we feel, that it moves easily every way, and produces an image of itself ... even on that side, on which it did not settle. (Enquiry VIII)
  20. By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will; this is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may. Now this hypothetical liberty is universally allowed to belong to every one who is not a prisoner and in chains. Here, then, is no subject of dispute. (Enquiry VIII)
  21. And if the definition [of necessity] above mentioned be admitted; liberty, when opposed to necessity, not to constraint, is the same thing with chance; which is universally allowed to have no existence. (Enquiry VIII)
  22. There is no method of reasoning more common, and yet none more blameable, than, in philosophical disputes, to endeavour the refutation of any hypothesis, by a pretence of its dangerous consequences to religion and morality. (Enquiry VIII)
  23. Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil.
  24. A man who is robbed of a considerable sum; does he find his vexation for the loss anywise diminished by these sublime reflections? (Enquiry VIII)
  25. [N]o testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish. (Enquiry X)
  26. A miracle may be accurately defined as a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the imposition of some invisible agent. (Enquiry X)
  27. There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. (Enquiry X)
  28. We account for it by the known and natural principles of credulity and delusion. (Enquiry X)
  29. "[N]o human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle and make it a just foundation for any system of religion" (Enquiry X)
  30. The knowledge of the cause being derived solely from the effect, they must be exactly adjusted to each other; and the one can never refer to anything farther, or be the foundation of any new inference and conclusion show only the need to assign a designer intelligent enough to create so much order as actually exist. (Enquiry XI)
  31. It is a question of fact, whether the perceptions of the senses be produced by external objects, resembling them: how shall this question be determined? By experience surely; as all other questions of a like nature. But here experience is, and must be entirely silent. The mind has never anything present to it but the perceptions, and cannot possibly reach any experience of their connexion with objects The supposition of such a connexion is, therefore, without any foundation in reasoning. (Enquiry XII)
  32. Morals and criticism are not so properly objects of the understanding as of taste and sentiment. (Enquiry XII)