Tuesday, 30th June, 2009


“The Dreams of sleeping Men, are, as I take it, all made up of the waking Man’s Ideas, though for the most part oddly put together. ’Tis strange if the Soul has Ideas of its own, that it derived not from Sensation or Reflection, (as it must have, if it thought before it received any Impression from the Body) that it should never, in its private Thinking, (so private that the Man himself perceives it not) retain any of them, the very Moment it wakes out of them, and then make the Man glad with new Discoveries.”

John Locke, An Essay concerning human understanding in 4 books, (Edmund Parker: London, 1731) vol.1 of 2. p.76

Monday, 29th June, 2009


“[…] when all is at rest and silent, and the impressions on the sensory designedly sealed up from the view of the mind; it is easy […] to make new and foreign impressions on the sensory; nothing else acting upon it at the same time. And these impressions must be perceived; for the soul is still active and percipient; and its perceptivity is now no other way solicited by any thing external. And the register of former impressions being sealed up from its view, these new impressions must be perceived without memory of what hath passed before: and therefore they must be perceived as caused by real external objects, such as usually make impressions upon the sensory.


“A set of new objects is immediately presented to it, and that succeeded by another, and that still by another, with greater variety and latitude of nature, than what it perceives by the in-let of the senses; for a new creation of things, of different species and other natures, really beyond the licence of the Painter or the Poet’s imagination, is now offered to it, or forced upon it.

“To say the soul acts without willing the action, hath been shewn […] to be repugnant: and since willing is one species of consciousness, or thinking; not to be conscious of our own willing, is not to be conscious of our own consciousness.”

Andrew Baxter, An Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul: Wherein the Immateriality of the Soul is evinced from the Principles of Reason and Philosophy, 2nd edn, 2 vols (London: A. Miller, 1737) II, pp. 8-14

Sunday, 28th June, 2009


“I grant that the Soul in a waking Man is never without Thought, because it is the Condition of being awake: But whether Sleeping without Dreaming be not an Affection of the whole Man, Mind as well as Body, may be worth a waking Man’s Consideration; it being hard to conceive that any thing should think, and not be conscious of it. If the Soul doth think in a sleeping Man, without being conscious of it, I ask, whether, during such Thinking, it has any Pleasure or Pain, or be capable of Happiness or Misery? I am sure the Man is not, no more than the Bed or Earth he lies on. For to be Happy or Miserable, without being conscious of it, seems to me utterly inconsistent and impossible; or if it be possible that the Soul can, whilst the Body is sleeping, have its Thinking, Enjoyments and Concerns, its Pleasure or Pain apart, which the Man is not conscious of, nor partakes in: It is certain, that Socrates asleep, and Socrates awake, is not the same Person: But his Soul when he sleeps, and Socrates the Man, consisting of Body and Soul when he is waking, are two Persons; since waking Socrates has no Knowledge of, or Concernment for that Happiness or Misery of his Soul, which it enjoys alone by it self whilst he sleeps, without perceiving any thing of it; no more than he has for the Happiness or Misery of a Man in the Indies, whom he knows not. For if we take wholly away all Consciousness of our Actions and Sensations, especially of Pleasure and Pain, and the Concernment that accompanies it, it will be hard to know wherein to place Personal Identity.”

John Locke, An Essay concerning human understanding in 4 books, (Edmund Parker: London, 1731) vol.1 of 2. p.72-3

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