Berkeley by Harry M. Bracken (auth.)

By Harry M. Bracken (auth.)

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Since he believes his ideas of primary qualities are those of the Cartesians, he quite naturally looks for the idea 51 of substance that they also talk about. And because he is so puzzled on finding no idea of substance he is compelled to report this remarkable fact repeatedly. 8 The primary or real qualities discussed by Descartes and Malebranche are not sensed. Nor is there, particularly in Malebranche, any problem as to how such a quality is related to a substance. On this point Malebranche proceeds more systematically than Descartes to offer an explication of the relation between a substance and its modes or attributes; between the idea of body and, say, a square, namely as being a deductive relation.

In N. V. § 51 he writes : No sooner do we hear the words of a familiar language pronounced in our ears, but the ideas corresponding thereto present themselves to our minds : in the very same instant the sound and the meaning enter the understanding : So closely are they united that it is not in our power to keep out the one, except we exclude the other also. We even act in all respects as if we heard the very thoughts themselves. So likewise the secondary objects, or those which are only suggested by sight, do often more strongly affect us, and are more regarded than the proper objects of that sense; along with which they enter into the 32 mind, and with which they have a far more strict connexion, than ideas have with words.

The patterns of quality inherence which we observe are inadequate with reference to a kind of inherence characterised by necessary connection. We fail to discover any 'necessary Connexion between Malleableness, and the Colour or Weight of Gold' (1v, vi, § 10). Locke also tells us what inherence ought to be like : But if the formal Constitution of this shining, heavy, ductil Thing (from whence all these its Properties flow) lay open to our Senses, as the formal Constitution, or Essence of a Triangle does, the signification of the Word Gold, might as easily be ascertained, as that of Triangle.

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