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Bradford Books Publishers A L BRAINS TORMS Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology u quot 2 39v DANIEL CXDENNETT 9 17 Where Am I Now that I ve won my suit under the Freedom of Information Act I am at liberty to reveal for the first time a curious episode in my life that may be of interest not only to those engaged in research in the philosophy of mind artificial intelligence and neuroscience but also to the general public Several years ago I was approached by Pentagon officials who asked me to volunteer for a highly dangerous and secret mission In collab oration with NASA and Howard Hughes the Department of Defense was spending billions to develop a Supersonic Tunneling Underground Device or STUD It was supposed to tunnel through the earth s core at great speed and deliver a specially designed atomic warhead right up the Red s missile silos as one of the Pentagon brass put it The problem was that in an early test they had succeeded in lodging a warhead about a mile deep under Tulsa Oklahoma and they wanted me to retrieve it for them Why me I asked Well the mission involved some pioneering applications of current brain research and they had heard of my interest in brains and of course my Faustian curiosity and great courage and so forth Well how could I refuse The difficulty that brought the Pentagon to my door was that the dev1ce I d been asked to recover was fiercely radioactive in a new way According to monitoring instruments something about the nature of the device and its complex interactions with pockets of material deep in the earth had produced radiation that could cause severe abnormalities in certain tissues of the brain No way had been found to shield the brain from these deadly rays which were appar El 39 Where Am I 311 ently harmless to other tissues and organs of the body So it had been decided that the person sent to recover the device should leave his brain behind It would be kept in a safe place where it could execute its normal control functions by elaborate radio links Would I submit to a surgical procedure that would completely remove my brain which would then be placed in a lifesupport system at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston Each input and output pathway as it was severed would be restored by a pair of microminiaturized radio transceivers one attached precisely to the brain the other to the nerve stumps in the empty cranium No information would be lost all the connectivity would be preserved At first I was a bit reluctant Would it really work The Houston brain surgeons encouraged me Think of it they said as a mere stretching of the nerves If your brain were just moved over an inch in your skull that would not alter or impair your mind We re simply going to make the nerves indefi nitely elastic by splicing radio links into them I was shown around the lifesupport lab in Houston and saw the sparkling new vat in which my brain would be placed were I to agree I met the large and brilliant support team of neurologists hematolo gists biophysicists and electrical engineers and after several days of discussions and demonstrations I agreed to give it a try I was sub jected to an enormous array of blood tests brain scans experiments interviews and the like They took down my autobiography at great length recorded tedious lists of my beliefs hopes fears and tastes They even listed my favorite stereo recordings and gave me a crash session of psychoanalysis The day for surgery arrived at last and of course I was anesthetized and remember nothing of the operation itself When I came out of anesthesia I opened my eyes looked around and asked the inevitable the traditional the lamentably hackneyed postoperative question Where am I The nurse smiled down at me You re in Houston she said and I re ected that this still had a good chance of being the truth one way or another She handed me a mirror Sure enough there were the tiny antennae poling up through their titanium ports cemented into my skull I gather the operation was a success Isaid I want to go see my brain They led me I was a bit dizzy and unsteady down a long corridor and into the lifesupport lab A cheer went up from the assembled support team and I responded with what I hoped was a jaunty salute Still feeling lightheaded I was helped over to the life 312 BRAINSTORMS support vat I peered through the glass There oating in what looked like gingerale was undeniably a human brain though it was almost covered with printed circuit chips plastic tubules electrodes and other paraphernalia Is that mine I asked Hit the output trans mitter switch there on the side of the vat and see for yourself the project director replied I moved the switch to OFF and immediately slumped groggy and nauseated into the arms 39of the technicians one of whom kindly restored the switch to its ON position While I recov ered my equilibrium and composure I thought to myself Well here I am sitting on a folding chair staring through a piece of plate glass at my own brain But wait I said to myself shouldn t I have thought Here I am suspended in a bubbling fluid being stared at by my own eyes I tried to think this latter thought I tried to project it into the tank offering it h0pefully to my brain but I failed to carry off the exercise with any conviction I tried again Here am I Daniel Dennett suspended in a bubbling fluid being stared at by my own eyes No it just didn t work Most puzzling and confusing Being a philosopher of firm physicalist conviction I believed unswervingly that the tokening of my thoughts was occurring somewhere in my brain yet when I thought Here I am where the thought occurred to me was here outside the vat where I Dennett was standing staring at my brain I tried and tried to think myself into the vat but to no avail I tried to build up to the task by doing mental exercises I thought to myself The sun is shining over there five times in rapid succession each time mentally ostending a different place in order the sunlit corner of the lab the visible front lawn of the hOSpital Houston Mars and Jupiter I found I had little difficulty in getting my there s to hop all over the celestial map with their proper references I could loft a there in an instant through the farthest reaches of space and then aim the next there with pinpoint accuracy at the upper left quadrant of a freckle on my arm Why was I having such trouble with here Here in Houston worked well enough and so did here in the lab and even here in this part of the lab but here in the vat always seemed merely an unmeant mental mouthing I tried closing my eyes while thinking it This seemed to help but still I couldn t manage to pull it off except perhaps for a eeting instant I couldn t be sure The discovery that I couldn t be sure was also unsettling How did I know where I meant by here when I thought here Could I think I meant one place when in fact I meant another I didn t see Where Am I 313 how that could be admitted without untying the few bonds of inti macy between a person and his own mental life that had survived the onslaught of the brain scientists and philosophers the physicalists and behaviorists Perhaps I was incorrigible about where I meant when I said here But in my present circumstances it seemed that either I was doomed by sheer force of mental habit to thinking systematically false indexical thoughts or where a person is and hence where his thoughts are tokened for purposes of semantic analysis is not neces sarily where his brain the physical seat of his soul resides Nagged by confusion I attempted to orient myself by falling back on a favorite philosopher s ploy I began naming things Yorick I said aloud to my brain you are my brain The rest of my body seated in this chair I dub Hamlet So here we all are Yorick s my brain Hamlet s my body and I am Dennett Now where am I And when I think where am I where s that thought tokened Is it tokened in my brain lounging about in the vat or right here between my ears where it seems to be tokened Or nowhere Its tem poral coordinates give me no trouble must it not have spatial coordi nates as well I began making a list of the alternatives 1 Where Hamlet goes there goes Dennett This principle was easily refuted by appeal to the familiar brain transplant thought experiments so enjoyed by philosophers If Tom and Dick switch brains Tom is the fellow with Dick s former body just ask him he ll claim to be Tom and tell you the most intimate details of Tom s autobiography It was clear enough then that my current body and I could part company but not likely that I could be separated from my brain The rule of thumb that emerged so plainly from the thought experiments was that in a braintransplant operation one wanted to be the donor not the recipient Better to call such an operation a bodytransplant in fact So perhaps the truth was 2 Where Yorz39ck goes there goes Bennett This was not at all appealing however How could I be in the vat and not about to go anywhere when I was so obviously outside the vat looking in and beginning to make guilty plans to return to my room for a substan tial lunch This begged the question I realized but it still seemed to be getting at something important Casting about for some support for my intuition I hit upon a legalistic sort of argument that might have appealed to Locke Suppose I argued to myself I were now to fly to California rob a bank and be apprehended In which state would I be tried In 314 BRAINSTORMS California where the robbery quot took place or in Texas where the brains of the outfit were located Would I be a California felon with an outof state brain or a Texas felon remotely controlling an accomplice of sorts in California It seemed possible that I might beat such a rap just on the undecidability of that jurisdictional ques tion though perhaps it would be deemed an interstate and hence Federal offense In any event suppose I were convicted Was it likely that California would be satisfied to throw Hamlet into the brig knowing that Yorick was living the good life and luxuriously taking the waters in Texas Would Texas incarcerate Yorick leaving Hamlet free to take the next boat to Rio This alternative appealed to me Barring capital punishment or other cruel and unusual punishment the state would be obliged to maintain the lifesupport system for Yorick though they might move him from Houston to Leavenworth and aside from the unpleasantness of the Opprobrium I for one would not mind at all and would consider myself a free man under those circumstances If the state has an interest in forcibly relocating persons in institutions it would fail to relocate me in any institu tion by locating Yorick there If this were true it suggested a third alternative 3 Dennett is wherever he thinks he is Generalized the claim was as39follows At any given time a person has a point of view and the location of the point of View which is determined internally by the content of the point of View is also the location of the person Such a proposition is not without its perplexities but to me it seemed a step in the right direction The only trouble was that it seemed to place one in a headsIwintailsyoulose situation of unlikely infallibility as regards location Hadn t I myself oftenbeen wrong about where I was and at least as often uncertain Couldn t one get lost Of course but getting lost geographically is not the only way one might get lost If one were lost in the woods one could attempt to reassure oneself with the consolation that at least one knew where one was one was right here in the familiar surroundings of one s own body Perhaps in this case one would not have drawn one s attention to much to be thankful for Still there were worse plights imaginable and I wasn t sure I wasn t in such a plight right now Point of View clearly had something to do with personal location but it was itself an unclear notion It was obvious that the content of one s point of View was not the same as or determined by the content of one s beliefs or thoughts For example what should we say about the Point of view of the Cinerama viewer who shrieks and twists in Where Am I 315 his seat as the rollercoaster footage overcomes his psychic distancing Has he forgotten that he is safely seated in the theater Here I was inclined to say that the person is experiencing an illusory shift in point of view In other cases my inclination to call such shifts illusory was less strong The workers in laboratories and plants who handle danger ous materials by operating feedbackcontrolled mechanical arms and hands undergo a shift in point of view that is crisper and more pro nounced than anything Cinerama can provoke They can feel the heft and slipperiness of the containers they manipulate with their metal fingers They know perfectly well where they are and are not fooled into false beliefs by the experience yet it is as if they were inside the isolation chamber they are peering into With mental effort they can manage to shift their point of view back and forth rather like making a transparent Neckar cube or an Escher drawing change orientation before one s eyes It does seem extravagant to suppose that in per forming this bit of mental gymnastics they are transporting them selves back and forth Still their example gave me hope If I was in fact in the vat in spite of my intuitions I might be able to train myself to adopt that point of view even as a matter of habit I should dwell on images of myself comfortably floating in my vat beaming volitions to that familiar body out there I re ected that the ease or difficulty of this task was presumably independent of the truth about the location of one s brain Had I been practicing before the operation I might now be finding it second nature You might now yourself try such a tramp d oeil Imagine you have written an inflammatory letter which has been published in the Times the result of which is that the Govern ment has chosen to impound your brain for a probationary period of three years in its Dangerous Brain Clinic in Bethesda Maryland Your body of course is allowed freedom to earn a salary and thus to con tinue its function of laying up income to be taxed At this moment however your body is seated in an auditorium listening to a peculiar account by Daniel Dennett of his own similar experience Try it Think yourself to Bethesda and then hark back longineg to your body far away and yet seeming so near It is only with longdistance restraint yours the Government s that you can control your im pulse to get those hands clapping in polite applause before navigating the old body to the rest room and a welldeserved glass of evening sherry in the lounge The task of imagination is certainly difficult but if you achieve your goal the results might be consoling Anyway there I was in Houston lost in thought as one might say but not for long My speculations were soon interrupted by the 316 BRAINSTORMS Houston doctors who wished to test out my new prosthetic nervous system before sending me off on my hazardous mission As I men tioned before I was a bit dizzy at first and not surprisingly although I soon habituated myself to my new circumstances which were after all well nigh indistinguishable from my old circumstances My accommodation was not perfect however and to this day I continue to be plagued by minor coordination difficulties The speed of light is fast but finite and as my brain and body move farther and farther apart the delicate interaction of my feedback systems is thrown into disarray by the time lags Just as one is rendered close to speechless by a delayed or echoic hearing of one s speaking voice so for instance I am virtually unable to track a moving object with my eyes whenever my brain and my body are more than a few miles apart In most mat ters my impairment is scarcely detectable though I can no longer hit a slow curve ball with the authority of yore There are some compen sations of course Though liquor tastes as good as ever and warms my gullet while corroding my liver I can drink it in any quantity I please without becoming the slightest bit inebriated a curiosity some of my close friends may have noticed though I occasionally have feigned inebriation so as not to draw attention to my unusual circumstances For similar reasons I take aSpirin orally for a sprained wrist but if the pain persists I ask Houston to administer codeine to me in vitro In times of illness the phone bill can be staggering But to return to my adventure At length both the doctors and I were satisfied that I was ready to undertake my subterranean mission And so I left my brain in Houston and headed by helicopter for Tulsa Well in any case that s the way it seemed to me That s how I would put it just off the top of my head as it were 0n the trip I re ected further about my earlier anxieties and decided that my first post operative speculations had been tinged with panic The matter was not nearly as strange or metaphysical as I had been supposing Where was I In two places clearly both inside the vat and outside it Just as one can stand with one foot in Connecticut and the other in Rhode Island I was in two places at once I had become one of those scattered individuals we used to hear so much about The more I considered this answer the more obviously true it appeared But strange to say the more true it appeared the less important the question to which it could be the true answer seemed A sad but not unprecedented fate for a philosophical question to suffer This answer did not completely satisfy me of course There lingered some question to which I should have liked an answer which was neither Where are all my various and sundry parts nor What is my current point of view Or at least Where Am I 317 there seemed to be such a question For it did seem undeniable that in some sense I and not merely most of me was descending into the earth under Tulsa in search of an atomic warhead When I found the warhead I was certainly glad I had left my brain behind for the pointer on the specially built Geiger counter I had brought with me was off the dial I called Houston on my ordinary radio and told the operation control center of my position and my progress In return they gave me instructions for dismantling the vehicle based upon my onsite observations I had set to work with my cutting torch when all of a sudden a terrible thing happened I went stone deaf At first I thought it was only my radio earphones that had broken but when I tapped on my helmet I heard nothing Apparently the auditory transceivers had gone on the fritz I could no longer hear Houston or my own voice but I could speak so I started telling them what had happened In midsentence I knew something else had gone wrong My vocal apparatus had become paralyzed Then my right hand went limp another transceiver had gone I was truly in deep trouble But worse was to follow After a few more minutes I went blind I cursed my luck and then I cursed the scientists who had led me into this grave peril There I was deaf dumb and blind in a radioactive hole more than a mile under Tulsa Then the last of my cerebral radio links broke and suddenly I was faced with a new and even more shocking problem whereas an instant before I had been buried alive in Oklahoma now I was disembodied in Houston My recognition of my new status was not immediate It took me several very anxious minutes before it dawned on me that my poor body lay several hundred miles away with heart pulsing and lungs respirating but otherwise as dead as the body of any heart transplant donor its skull packed with useless broken electronic gear The shift in perspec tive I had earlier found well nigh impossible now seemed quite natural Though I could think myself back into my body in the tunnel under Tulsa it took some effort to sustain the illusion For surely it was an illusion to suppose I was still in Oklahoma Ihad lost all contact with that body 39 It occurred to me then with one of those rushes of revelation of which we should be suspicious that I had stumbled upon an impres sive demonstration of the immateriality of the soul based upon physi calist principles and premises For as the last radio signal between Tulsa and Houston died away had I not changed location from Tulsa to Houston at the speed of light And had I not accomplished this Without any increase in mass What moved from A to B at such speed was surely myself or at any rate my soul or mindthe massless center 318 BRAINSTORMS of my being and home of my consciousness My point of view had lagged somewhat behind but I had already noted the indirect bearing of point of View on personal location I could not see now a physical ist philosopher could quarrel with this except by taking the dire and counterintuitive route of banishing all talk of persons Yet the notion of personhood was so well entrenched in everyone s world view or so it seemed to me that any denial would be as curiously unconvincing as systematically disingenuous as the Cartesian negation non sum 1 The joy of philosophic discovery thus tided me over some very bad minutes or perhaps hours as the helplessness and hopelessness of my situation became more apparent to me Waves of panic and even nau sea swept over me made all the more horrible by the absence of their normal bodydependent phenomenology No adrenalin rush of tingles in the arms no pounding heart no premonitory salivation I did feel a dread sinking feeling in my bowels at one point and this tricked me momentarily into the false hope that I was undergoing a reversal of the process that landed me in this fix a gradual undisembodiment But the isolation and uniqueness of that twinge soon convinced me that it was simply the first of a plague of phantom body hallucinations that I like any other amputee would be all too likely to suffer My mood then was chaotic On the one hand I was fired up with elation of my philosophic discovery and was wracking my brain one of the few familiar things I could still do trying to figure out how to communicate my discovery to the journals while on the other I was bitter lonely and filled with dread and uncertainty Fortunately this did not last long for my technical support team sedated me into a dreamless sleep from which I awoke hearing with magnificent fidelity the familiar opening strains of my favorite Brahms piano trio So that was why they had wanted a list of my favorite recordings It did not take me long to realize that I was hearing the music without ears The output from the stereo stylus was being fed through some fancy rec tification circuitry directly into my auditory nerve I was mainlining Brahms an unforgettable experience for any stereo buff At the end of the record it did not surprise me to hear the reassuring voice of the project director speaking into a microphone that was now my pros thetic ear He confirmed my analysis of what had gone wrong and assured me that steps were being taken to reembody me He did not elaborate and after a few more recordings I found myself drifting off to sleep My sleep lasted I later learned for the better part of a year and when I awoke it was to find myself fully restored to my senses When I looked into the mirror though I was a bit startled to see an unfamiliar face Bearded and a bit heavier bearing no doubt a family Where Am I 319 resemblance to my former face and with the same look of spritely intelligence and resolute character but definitely a new face Further selfexplorations of an intimate nature left me no doubt that this was a new body and the project director confirmed my conclusions He did not volunteer any information on the past history of my new body and I decided wisely I think in retrospect not to pry As many philosophers unfamiliar with my ordeal have more recently speculated the acquisition of a new body leaves one s person intact And after a period of adjustment to a new voice new muscular strengths and weaknesses and so forth one s personality is by and large also preserved More dramatic changes in personality have been routinely observed in people who have undergone extensive plastic surgery to say nothing of sex change operations and I think no one contests the survival of the person in such cases In any event I soon accommodated to my new body to the point of being unable to recover any of its novelties to my consciousness or even memory The view in the mirror soon became utterly familiar That view by the way still revealed antennae and so I was not surprised to learn that my brain had not been moved from its haven in the lifesupport lab I decided that good old Yorick deserved a visit I and my new body whom we might as well call Fortinbras strode into the familiar lab to another round of applause from the technicians who were of course congratulating themselves not me Once more I stood before the vat and contemplated poor Yorick and on a whim I once again cavalierly icked off the output transmitter switch Imagine my surprise when nothing unusual happened N o fainting spell no nausea no noticeable change A technician hurried to restore the switch to ON but still I felt nothing I demanded an explanation which the project director hastened to provide It seems that before they had even operated on the first occasion they had constructed a computer duplicate of my brain reproducing both the complete information processing structure and the computational speed of my brain in a giant computer program After the operation but before they had dared to send me off on my mission to Oklahoma they had run this computer system and Yorick side by side The incoming signals from Hamlet were sent simultaneously to Yorick s transceivers and to the computer s array of inputs And the out puts from Yorick were not only beamed back to Hamlet my body they were recorded and checked against the simultaneous output of the computer program which was called Hubert for reasons obscure to me Over days and even weeks the outputs were iden tical and synchronous which of course did not prove that they 320 BRAINSTORMS had succeeded in c0pying the brain s functional structure but the empirical support was greatly encouraging Hubert s input and hence activity had been kept parallel with Yorick s during my disembodied days And now to demonstrate this they had actually thrown the master switch that put Hubert for the first time in online control of my bodymot Hamlet of course but Fortinbras Hamlet I learned had never been recovered from its underground tomb and could be assumed by this time to have largely returned to the dust At the head of my grave still lay the magnificent bulk of the abandoned device with the word STUD emblazoned on its side in large letters a circumstance which may provide archeologists of the next century with a curious insight into the burial rites of their ancestors The laboratory technicians now showed me the master switch which had two positions labeled B for Brain they didn t know my brain s name was Yorick and H for Hubert The switch did indeed point to H and they explained to me that if I wished I could switch it back to B With my heart in my mouth and my brain in its vat I did this Nothing happened A click that was all To test their claim and with the master switch now set at B I hit Yorick s output trans mitter switch on the vat and sure enough I began to faint Once the output switch was turned back on and I had recovered my wits so to speak I continued to play with the master switch ipping it back and forth I found that with the exception of the transitional click I could detect no trace of a difference I could switch in midutterance and the sentence I had begun speaking under the control of Yorick was finished without a pause or hitch of any kind under the control of Hubert I had a spare brain a prosthetic device which might some day stand me in very good stead were some mishap to befall Yorick Or alternatively I could keep Yorick as a spare and use Hubert It didn t seem to make any difference which I chose for the wear and tear and fatigue on my body did not have any debilitating effect on either brain whether or not it was actually causing the motions of my body or merely spilling its output into thin air The one truly unsettling aspect of this new development was the prospect which was not long in dawning on me of someone detaching the spare Hubert or Yorick as the case might be from Fortinbras and hitching it to yet another body some Johnnycomelately Rosen crantz or Guildenstern Then if not before there would be two people that much was clear One would be me and the other would be a sort of supertwin brother If there were two bodies one under the control of Hubert and the other being controlled by Yorick then Where Am I 321 which would the world recognize as the true Dennett And whatever the rest of the world decided which one would be me Would I be the Yorickbrained one in virtue of Yorick s causal priority and for mer intimate relationship with the original Dennett body Hamlet That seemed a bit legalistic a bit too redolent of the arbitrariness of consanguinity and legal possession to be convincing at the metaphysi cal level For suppose that before the arrival of the second body on the scene I had been keeping Yorick as the spare for years and letting Hubert s output drive my body that is Fortinbras all that time The HubertFortinbras couple would seem then by squatter s rights to combat one legal intuition with another to be the true Dennett and the lawful inheritor of everything that was Dennett s This was an interesting question certainly but not nearly so pressing as another question that bothered me My strongest intuition was that in such an eventuality I would survive so long as either brainbody couple re mained intact but I had mixed emotions about whether I should want both to survive I discussed my worries with the technicians and the project direc tor The prospect of two Dennetts was abhorrent to me Iexplained largely for social reasons I didn t want to be my own rival for the affections of my wife nor did I like the prospect of the two Dennetts sharing my modest professor s salary Still more vertiginous and dis tasteful though was the idea of knowing that much about another person while he had the very same goods on me How could we ever face each other My colleagues in the lab argued that I was ignoring the bright side of the matter Weren t there many things I wanted to do but being only one person had been unable to do Now one Dennett could stay at home and be the professor and family man while the other could strike out on a life of travel and adventure missing the family of course but happy in the knowledge that the other Dennett was keeping the home fires burning I could be faithful and adulterous at the same time I could even cuckold myself to say nothing of other more lurid possibilities my colleagues were all too ready to force upon my overtaxed imagination But my ordeal in Oklahoma or was it Houston had made me less adventurous and I shrank from this opportunity that was being offered though of course I was never quite sure it was being offered to me in the first place There was another prospect even more disagreeable that the spare Hubert or Yorick as the case might he would be detached from any input from Fortinbras and just left detached Then as in the other case there would be two Dennetts or at least two claimants to my name and possessions one embodied in Fortinbras and the other 322 BRAINSTORMS sadly miserably disembodied Both selfishness and altruism bade me take steps to prevent this from happening So I asked that measures be taken to ensure that no one could ever tamper with the transceiver connections or the master switch without my our no my knowl edge and consent Since I had no desire to spend my life guarding the equipment in Houston it was mutually decided that all the electronic connections in the lab would be carefully locked both those that con trolled the lifesupport system for Yorick and those that controlled the power supply for Hubert would be guarded with failsafe devices and I would take the only master switch outfitted for radio remote control with me wherever I went I carry it strapped around my waist and wait a moment here it is Every few months I reconnoiter the situation by switching channels I do this only in the presence of friends of course for if the other channel were heaven forbid either dead or otherwise occupied there would have to be somebody who had my interests at heart to switch it back to bring me back from the void For while I could feel see hear and otherwise sense whatever befell my body subsequent to such a switch I d be unable to con trol it By the way the two positions on the switch are intentionally unmarked so I never have the faintest idea whether I am switching from Hubert to Yorick or vice versa Some of you may think that in this case I really don t know who I am let alone where I am But such re ections no longer make much of a dent on my essential Dennett ness on my own sense of who I am If it is true that in one sense I don t know who I am then that s another one of your philosophical truths of underwhelming significance In any case every time I ve ipped the switch so far nothing has happened So let s give it a try THANK GOD I THOUGHT YOU D NEVER FLIP THAT SWITCH You can t imagine how horrible it s been these last two weeks but now you know it s your turn in purgatory How I ve longed for this moment You see about two weeks ago excuse me ladies and gentle men but I ve got to explain this to my urn brother I guess you could say but he s just told you the facts so you ll understand about two weeks ago our two brains drifted just a bit out of synch I don t know whether my brain is now Hubert or Yorick any more than you do but in any case the two brains drifted apart and of course once the process started it snowballed for I was in a slightly different receptive state for the input we both received a difference that was soon magnified In no time at all the illusion that I was in control of my body our body was completely dissipated There was nothing I could do no way to call you YOU DIDN T EVEN KNOW m x Where Am I 323 I EXISTED It s been like being carried around in a cage or better like being possessed hearing my own voice say things I didn t mean to say watching in frustration as my own hands performed deeds I hadn t intended You d scratch our itches but not the way I would have and you kept me awake with your tossing and turning I ve been totally exhausted on the verge of a nervous breakdown carried around helplessly by your frantic round of activities sustained only by the knowledge that some day you d throw the switch N ow it s your turn but at least you ll have the comfort of know ing I know you re in there Like an expectant mother I m eating or at any rate tasting smelling seeing for two now and I ll try to make it easy for you Don t worry Just as soon as this colloquium is over you and I will y to Houston and we ll see what can be done to get one of us another body You can have a female body your body could be any color you like But let s think it over I tell you what to be fair if we both want this body I promise I ll let the project direc tor ip a coin to settle which of us gets to keep it and which then gets to choose a new body That should guarantee justice shouldn t it In any case I ll take care of you I promise These peOple are my wit nesses Ladies and gentlemen this talk we have just heard is not exactly the talk I would have given but I assure you that everything he said was perfectly true And now if you ll excuse me I think I d we d better sit down 2 UHlJiiEHJEITFH39 lF lHiEEEJE Philosophical Review The Self and the Future Authors Bernard Williams Source The Philosophical Review Vol 79 No 2 Apr 1970 pp 161180 Published by Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review Stable URL httpwwwjstororgstable2183946 Accessed 10092011 1704 Your use of the J STOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms amp Conditions of Use available at httpWWWJstororgpageinfoaboutpoliciestermsjsp J STOR is a not for profit service that helps scholars researchers and students discover use and build upon a Wide range of content in a trusted digital archive We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship For more information about J STOR please contact support j stororg Duke Universi Press and Philosophical Review are collaborating With J STOR to digitize preserve and extend access to The hilosophical Review httpWWW jstororg THE SELF AND THE FUTURE UPPOSE that there were some process to which two persons A and B could be subjected as a result of which they might be said questionbeggingly to have exchanged bodies That is to say less questionbeggingly there is a certain human body which is such that when previously we were confronted with it we were confronted with person A certain utterances coming from it were expressive of memories of the past experiences of A certain movements of it partly constituted the actions of A and were taken as expressive of the character of A and so forth but now after the process is completed utterances coming from this body are expressive of what seem to be just those memories which previously we identi ed as memories of the past experiences of B its movements partly constitute actions expressive of the character of B and so forth and conversely with the other body There are certain important philosophical limitations on how such imaginary cases are to be constructed and how they are to be taken when constructed in various ways I shall mention two principal limitations not in order to pursue them further here but precisely in order to get them out of the way There are certain limitations particularly with regard to character and mannerisms to our ability to imagine such cases even in the most restricted sense of our being disposed to take the later performances of that body which was previously A s as expressive of B s character if the previous A and B were extremely unlike one another both physically and psychologically and if say in addition they were of different sex there might be grave dif culties in reading B s dispositions in any possible performances of A s body Let us forget this and for the present purpose just take A and B as being suf ciently alike however alike that has to be for the dif culty not to arise after the experiment persons familiar with A and B are just overwhelmingly struck by the Bish character of the doings associated with what was previously A s 161 BERNARD WILLIAMS body and conversely Thus the feat of imagining an exchange of bodies is supposed possible in the most restricted sense But now there is a further limitation which has to be overcome if the feat is to be not merely possible in the most restricted sense but also is to have an outcome which on serious re ection we are prepared to describe as A and B having changed bodies that is an outcome where confronted with what was previously A s body we are prepared seriously to say that we are now confronted with B It would seem a necessary condition of so doing that the utterances coming from that body be taken as genuinely expressive of memories of B s past But memory is a causal notion and as we actually use it it seems a necessary condition on x s present knowledge of x s earlier experiences constituting memory of those experiences that the causal chain linking the experiences and the knowledge should not run outside x s body Hence if utterances coming from a given body are to be taken as expressive of memo ries of the experiences of B there should be some suitable causal link between the appropriate state of that body and the original happening of those experiences to B One radical way of securing that condition in the imagined exchange case is to suppose with Shoemaker1 that the brains of A and of B are transposed We may not need so radical a condition Thus suppose it were possible to extract information from a man s brain and store it in a device while his brain was repaired or even renewed the information then being replaced it would seem exaggerated to insist that the resultant man could not possibly have the memories he had before the operation With regard to our knowledge of our own past we draw distinctions between merely recalling being reminded and learning again and those distinctions correspond roughly to distinctions between no new input partial new input and total new input with regard to the information in question and it seems clear that the informationparking case just imagined would not count as new input in the sense necessary and sufficient for learning again Hence we can imagine the case we are concerned with in terms of information extracted into such devices from A s and B s brains and replaced in the other brain 1 SelfKnowledge and SelfIdentity Ithaca N Y 1963 p 23 f 162 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE this is the sort of model which I think not unfairly for the present argument I shall have in mind We imagine the following The process considered above exists two persons can enter some machine let us say and emerge changed in the apprOpriate ways If A and B are the persons who enter let us call the persons who emerge the Aboq yperson and the Bboq yperson the Abodyperson is that pmver it is m I am confronted when after the experiment I am confronted with that body which previously was A s body that is to say that person who would naturally be taken for A by some one who just saw this person was familiar with A s appearance before the experiment and did not know about the happening of the experiment A nonquestion begging description of the experiment will leave it open which if either of the persons A and B the Abody person is the description of the experiment as persons changing bodies of course implies that the Abody per son is actually B We take two persons A and B who are going to have the process carried out on them We can suppose rather hazily that they are willing for this to happen to investigate at all closely at this stage why they might be willing or unwilling what they would fear and so forth would anticipate some later issues We further announce that one of the two resultant persons the Abodyperson and the Bbodyperson is going after the experiment to be given 100000 while the other is going to be tortured We then ask each A and B to choose which treatment should be dealt out to which of the persons who will emerge from the experiment the choice to be made if it can be on sel sh grounds Suppose that A chooses that the Bbodyperson should get the pleasant treatment and the Abody person the unpleasant treatment and B chooses conversely this might indicate that they thought that changing bodies was indeed a good description of the outcome The experimenter cannot act in accordance with both these sets of preferences those expressed by A and those expressed by B Hence there is one clear sense in which A and B cannot both get what they want namely that if the experimenter before the experiment announces to A and B that he intends to carry out the alternative for example of treating the Bbody 163 BERNARD WILLIAMS person unpleasantly and the Abodyperson pleasantly then A can say rightly That s not the outcome I chose to happen and B can say rightly That s just the outcome I chose to happen So evidently A and B before the experiment can each come to know either that the outcome he chose will be that which will happen or that the one he chose will not happen and in that sense they can get or fail to get what they wanted But is it also true that when the experimenter proceeds qfter the experiment to act in accord ance with one of the preferences and not the other then one of A and B will have got what he wanted and the other not There seems very good ground for saying so For suppose the experimenter having elicited A s and B s preference says nothing to A and B about what he will do conducts the experiment and then for example gives the unpleasant treatment to the Bbody person and the pleasant treatment to the Abodyperson Then the Bbodyperson will not only complain of the unpleasant treatment as such but will complain since he has A s memories that that was not the outcome he chose since he chose that the Bbody person should be well treated and since A made his choice in sel sh spirit he may add that he precisely chose in that way because he did not want the unpleasant things to happen to him The Abodyperson meanwhile will express satisfaction both at the receipt of the 100000 and also at the fact that the experimenter has chosen to act in the way that he B so wisely chose These facts make a strong case for saying that the experimenter has brought it about that B did in the outcome get what he wanted and A did not It is therefore a strong case for saying that the Bbodyperson really is A and the Abodyperson really is B and therefore for saying that the process of the experiment really is that of changing bodies For the same reasons it would seem that A and B in our example really did choose wisely and that it was A s bad luck that the choice he correctly made was not carried out B s good luck that the choice he correctly made was carried out This seems to show that to care about what happens to me in the future is not necessarily to care about what happens to this body the one I now have and this in turn might be taken to show that in some sense of Descartes s obscure phrase I and my body are really distinct though of course nothing in these 164 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE considerations could support the idea that I could exist without a body at all These suggestions seem to be reinforced if we consider the cases where A and B make other choices with regard to the experiment Suppose that A chooses that the Abodyperson should get the money and the Bbodyperson get the pain and B chooses conversely Here again there can be no outcome which matches the expressed preferences of both of them they cannot both get what they want The experimenter announces before the experiment that the Abodyperson will in fact get the money and the Bbodyperson will get the pain So A at this stage gets what he wants the announced outcome matches his expressed preference After the experiment the distribution is carried out as announced Both the Abodyperson and the Bbodyperson will have to agree that what is happening is in accordance with the preference that A originally expressed The Bbodyperson will naturally express this acknowledgment since he has A s memories by saying that this is the distribution he chose he will recall among other things the experimenter announcing this outcome his approving it as what he chose and so forth However he the Bbodyperson certainly does not like what is now happening to him and would much prefer to be receiving what the Abody person is receiving namely 100000 The Abodyperson will on the other hand recall choosing an outcome other than this one but will reckon it good luck that the experimenter did not do what he recalls choosing It looks then as though the Abodyperson had gotten what he wanted but not what he chose while the Bbodyperson has gotten what he chose but not what he wanted So once more it looks as though they are respectively B and A and that in this case the original choices of both A and B were unwise Suppose lastly that in the original choice A takes the line of the rst case and B of the second that is A chooses that the Bbody person should get the money and the Abodyperson the pain and B chooses exactly the same thing In this case the experimenter would seem to be in the happy situation of giving both persons what they want or at least like God what they have chosen In this case the Bbodyperson likes what he is receiving recalls 165 BERNARD WILLIAMS choosing it and congratulates himself on the wisdom of as he puts it his choice while the Abodyperson does not like what he is receiving recalls choosing it and is forced to acknowledge that as he puts it his choice was unwise So once more we seem to get results to support the suggestions drawn from the rst case Let us now consider the question not of A and B choosing certain outcomes to take place after the experiment but of their willingness to engage in the experiment at all If they were initially inclined to accept the description of the experiment as changing bodies then one thing that would interest them would be the character of the other person s body In this respect also what would happen after the experiment would seem to suggest that changing bodies was a good description of the experiment If A and B agreed to the experiment being each not displeased with the appearance physique and so forth of the other person s body after the experiment the Bbodyperson might well be found saying such things as When I agreed to this experiment I thought that B s face was quite attractive but now I look at it in the mirror I am not so sure or the Abodyperson might say When I agreed to this experiment I did not know that A had a wooden leg but now after it is over I nd that I have this wooden leg and I want the experiment reversed It is possible that he might say further that he nds the leg very uncomfortable and that the Bbodyperson should say for instance that he recalls that he found it very uncomfortable at rst but one gets used to it but perhaps one would need to know more than at least I do about the physiology of habituation to arti cial limbs to know whether the Abodyperson would nd the leg uncomfortable that body after all has had the leg on it for some time But apart from this sort of detail the general line of the outcome regarded from this point of view seems to con rm our previous conclusions about the experiment Now let us suppose that when the experiment is proposed in nonquestionbegging terms A and B think rather of their psychological advantages and disadvantages A s thoughts turn primarily to certain sorts of anxiety to which he is very prone while B is concerned with the frightful memories he has of past experiences which still distress him They each hope that the 166 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE experiment will in some way result in their being able to get away from these things They may even have been impressed by philosophical arguments to the effect that bodily continuity is at least a necessary condition of personal identity A for example reasons that granted the experiment comes off then the person who is bodily continuous with him will not have this anxiety while the other person will no doubt have some anxiety perhaps in some sense his anxiety and at least that person will not be he The experiment is performed and the experimenter to whom A and B previously revealed privately their several dif culties and hopes asks the Abodyperson whether he has gotten rid of his anxiety This person presumably replies that he does not know what the man is talking about he never had such anxiety but he did have some very disagreeable memories and recalls engaging in the experiment to get rid of them and is disappointed to discover that he still has them The Bbodyperson will react in a similar way to questions about his painful memories pointing out that he still has his anxiety These results seem to con rm still further the description of the experiment as changing bodies And all the results suggest that the only rational thing to do confronted with such an experiment would be to identify oneself with one s memories and so forth and not with one s body The philosoPhical arguments designed to show that bodily continuity was at least a necessary condition of personal identity would seem to be just mistaken Let us now consider something apparently different Someone in whose power I am tells me that I am going to be tortured tomorrow I am frightened and look forward to tomorrow in great apprehension He adds that when the time comes I shall not remember being told that this was going to happen to me since shortly before the torture something else will be done to me which will make me forget the announcement This certainly will not cheer me up since I know perfectly well that I can forget things and that there is such a thing as indeed being tortured unexpectedly because I had forgotten or been made to forget a prediction of the torture that will still be a torture which so long as I do know about the prediction I look forward to in fear He then adds that my forgetting the announcement will be only part 167 BERNARD WILLIAMS of a larger process when the moment of torture comes I shall not remember any of the things I am now in a position to remember This does not cheer me up either since I can readily conceive of being involved in an accident for instance as a result of which I wake up in a completely amnesiac state and also in great pain that could certainly happen to me I should not like it to happen to me nor to know that it was going to happen to me He now further adds that at the moment of torture I shall not only not remember the things I am now in a position to remember but will have a different set of impressions of my past quite different from the memories I now have I do not think that this would cheer me up either For I can at least conceive the possibility if not the concrete reality of going completely mad and thinking perhaps that I am George IV or somebody and being told that something like that was going to happen to me would have no tendency to reduce the terror of being told authoritatively that I was going to be tortured but would merely compound the horror Nor do I see why I should be put into any better frame of mind by the person in charge adding lastly that the impressions of my past with which I shall be equipped on the eve of torture will exactly t the past of another person now living and that indeed I shall acquire these impressions by for instance information now in his brain being copied into mine Fear surely would still be the proper reaction and not because one did not know what was going to happen but because in one vital respect at least one did know what was going to happen torture which one can indeed expect to happen to oneself and to be preceded by certain mental derangements as well If this is right the whole question seems now to be totally mysterious For what we have just been through is of course merely one side differently represented of the transaction which we considered before and it represents it as a perfectly hateful prospect while the previous considerations represented it as something one should rationally perhaps even cheerfully choose out of the options there presented It is differently pre sented of course and in two notable respects but when we look at these two differences of presentation can we really convince ourselves that the second presentation is wrong or misleading thus I68 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE leaving the road open to the first version which at the time seemed so convincing Surely not The rst difference is that in the second version the torture is throughout represented as going to happen to me you the man in charge persistently says Thus he is not very neutral But should he have been neutral Or to put it another way does his use of the second person have a merely emotional and rhetorical effect on me making me afraid when further re ection would have shown that I had no reason to be It is certainly not obviously so The problem just is that through every step of his predictions I seem to be able to follow him successfully And if I re ect on whether what he has said gives me grounds for fearing that I shall be tortured I notably if it is a psychological state unconsciousness In particular what impressions I have about the past will not have any effect on whether I undergo the pain or not This principle seems sound enough It is an important fact that not everything I would as things are regard as an evil would be something that I should rationally fear as an evil if it were predicted that it would happen to me in the future and also predicted that I should undergo signi cant psychological changes in the meantime For the fact that I regard that happening things being as they are as an evil can be dependent on factors of belief or character which might themselves be modi ed by the psychological changes in question Thus if I am appallingly subject to acrophobia and am told that I shall nd myself on top of a steep mountain in the near future I shall to that extent be afraid but if I am told that I shall be psychologi cally changed in the meantime in such a way as to rid me of my acrophobia and as with the other prediction I believe it then I have no reason to be afraid of the predicted happening or at least not the same reason Again I might look forward to meeting a certain person again with either alarm or excitement because of my memories of our past relations In some part these memories COCO n 169 BERNARD WILLIAMS operate in connection with my emotion not only on the present time but projectively forward for it is to a meeting itself affected by the presence of those memories that I look forward If I am convinced that when the time comes I shall not have those memories then I shall not have just the same reasons as before for looking forward to that meeting with the one emotion or the other Spiritualism incidentally appears to involve the belief that I have just the same reasons for a given attitude toward encountering people again after I am dead as I did before with the one modi cation that I can be sure it will all be very nice Physical pain however the example which for simplicity and not for any obsessional reason I have taken is absolutely minimally dependent on character or belief No amount of change in my character or my beliefs would seem to affect substantially the nastiness of tortures applied to me correspond ingly no degree of predicted change in my character and beliefs can unseat the fear of torture which together with those changes is predicted for me I am not at all suggesting that the only basis or indeed the only rational basis for fear in the face of these various predictions is how things will be relative to my psychological state in the eventual outcome I am merely pointing out that this is one component it is not the only one For certainly one will fear and otherwise reject the changes themselves or in very many cases one would Thus one of the old paradoxes of hedonistic utilitarianism if one had assurances that undergoing certain operations and being attached to a machine would provide one for the rest of one s existence with an unending sequence of delicious and varied experiences one might very well reject the option and react with fear if someone proposed to apply it compulsorily and that fear and horror would seem appropriate reactions in the second case may help to discredit the interpretation if anyone has the nerve to propose it that one s reason for rejecting the option voluntarily would be a consciousness of duties to others which one in one s hedonic state would leave undone The prospect of contented madness or vegetableness is found by many not perhaps by all appalling in ways which are obviously not a function of how things would then be for them for things would then be for them not 170 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE appalling In the case we are at present discussing these sorts of considerations seem merely to make it clearer that the predictions of the man in charge provide a double ground of horror at the prospect of torture and at the prospect of the change in character and in impressions of the past that will precede it And certainly to repeat what has already been said the prospect of the second certainly seems to provide no ground for rejecting or not fearing the prospect of the rst I said that there were two notable differences between the second presentation of our situation and the rst The rst difference which we have just said something about was that the man predicted the torture for me a psychologically very changed me We have yet to nd a reason for saying that he should not have done this or that I really should be unable to follow him if he does I seem to be able to follow him only too well The second difference is that in this presentation he does not mention the other man except in the somewhat incidental role of being the provenance of the impressions of the past I end up with He does not mention him at all as someone who will end up with impres sions of the past derived from me and incidentally with 15 I 00000 as well a consideration which in the frame of mind appropriate to this version will merely make me jealous But why should he mention this man and what is going to happen to him My sel sh concern is to be told what is going to happen to me and now I know torture preceded by changes of character brain operations changes in impressions of the past The knowl edge that one other person or none or many will be similarly mistreated may affect me in other ways of sympathy greater horror at the power of this tyrant and so forth but surely it cannot affect my expectations of torture P But someone will say this is to leave out exactly the feature which as the rst presenta tion of the case showed makes all the difference for it is to leave out the person who as the rst presentation showed will be you It is to leave out not merely a feature which should fundamentally affect your fears it is to leave out the very person for whom you are fearful So of course the objector will say this makes all the difference But can it Consider the following series of cases In each case 171 BERNARD WILLIAMS we are to suppose that after what is described A is as before to be tortured we are also to suppose the personA is informed before hand that just these things followed by the torture will happen to him i A is subjected to an operation which produces total amnesia ii amnesia is produced in A and other interference leads to certain changes in his character iii changes in his character are produced and at the same time certain illusory memory beliefs are induced in him these are of a quite ctitious kind and do not t the life of any actual person iv the same as iii except that both the character traits and the memory impressions are designed to be appro priate to another actual person B a the same as iv except that the result is produced by putting the information into A from the brain of B by a method which leaves B the same as he was before 0239 the same happens to A as in a but B is not left the same since a similar operation is conducted in the reverse direction I take it that no one is going to dispute that A has reasons and fairly straightforward reasons for fear of pain when the prospect is that of situation i there seems no conceivable reason why this should not extend to situation ii and the situation iii can surely introduce no difference of principle it just seems a situation which for more than one reason we should have grounds for fearing as suggested above Situation iv at least introduces the person B who was the focus of the objection we are now discussing But it does not seem to introduce him in any way which makes a material difference if I can expect pain through a transformation which involves new memory impressions it would seem a purely external fact relative to that that the memory impressions had a model Nor in iv do we satisfy a causal condition which I mentioned at the beginning for the memories actually being memories though notice that if the 172 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE job were done thoroughly I might well be able to elicit from the Abody person the kinds of remarks about his previous expecta tions of the experiment remarks appropriate to the original B which so impressed us in the rst version of the story I shall have a similar assurance of this being so in situation 0 where moreover a plausible application of the causal condition is available But two things are to be noticed about this situation First if we concentrate on A and the Abodyperson we do not seem to have added anything which from the point of View of his fears makes any material difference just as in the move from iii to 2390 it made no relevant di 39erence that the new memory impressions which precede the pain had as it happened a model so in the move from iv to 1 all we have added is that they have a model which is also their cause and it is still dif cult to see why that to him looking forward could possibly make the difference between expecting pain and not expecting pain To illustrate that point from the case of character if A is capable of expecting pain he is capable of expecting pain preceded by a change in his dispositions and to that expectation it can make no difference whether that change in his dispositions is modeled on or indeed indirectly caused by the dispositions of some other person If his fears can as it were reach through the change it seems a mere trimming how the change is in fact induced The second point about situation 0 is that if the crucial question for A s fears with regard to what befalls the Abodyperson is whether the Abody person is or is not the person 32 then that condition has not yet been satis ed in situation 0 for there we have an undisputed B in addition to the Abody person and certainly those two are not the same person But in situation 0239 we seemed to think that is nally what he is But if A s original fears could reach through the expected changes in v as they did in iv and iii then certainly they can reach through in vi Indeed from the point of view of A s expectations and fears there is less difference between 0239 and 1 than there is between 0 and iv or between iv and iii In 2 This of course does not have to be the crucial question but it seems one fair way of taking up the present objection I73 BERNARD WILLIAMS those transitions there were at least differences though we could not see that they were really relevant differences in the content and cause of what happened to him in the present case there is absolutely no difference at all in what happens to him the only difference being in what happens to someone else If he can fear pain when v is predicted why should he cease to when vi is I can see only one way of relevantly laying great weight on the transition from v to vi and this involves a considerable di iculty This is to deny that as I put it the transition from v to vi involves merely the addition of something happening to someboq y else what rather it does it will be said is to involve the reintroduction of A himself as the Bbodyperson since he has reappeared in this form it is for this person and not for the unfortunate Abodyperson that A will have his expectations This is to reassert in effect the viewpoint emphasized in our rst presentation of the experiment But this surely has the consequence that A should not have fears for the Abodyperson who appeared in situation v For by the present argument the Abodyperson in vi is not A the Bbodyperson is But the Abodyperson in v is in character history everything exactly the same as the Abody person in vi so if the latter is not A then neither is the former It is this point no doubt that encourages one to speak of the difference that goes with vi as being on the present view the reintroduction of A But no one else in v has any better claim to be A So in v it seems A just does not exist This would certainly explain why A should have no fears for the state of things in v though he might well have fears for the path to it But it rather looked earlier as though he could well have fears for the state of things in v Let us grant however that that was an illusion and that A really does not exist in v then does he exist in iv iii ii or i It seems very dif cult to deny it for i and ii are we perhaps to draw the line between iii and iv Here someone will say you must not insist on drawing a line borderline cases are borderline cases and you must not push our concepts beyond their limits But this wellknown piece of advice sensible as it is in many cases seems in the present case to involve an extraordinary dif culty It may intellectually comfort observers of A s situation but what is A supposed to make of it To be told I74 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE that a future situation is a borderline one for its being myself that is hurt that it is conceptually undecidable whether it will be me or not is something which it seems I can do nothing with because in particular it seems to have no comprehensible representation in my expectations and the emotions that go with them If I expect that a certain situation S will come about in the future there is of course a wide range of emotions and concerns directed on S which I may experience now in relation to my expectation Unless I am exceptionally egoistic it is not a condi tion on my being concerned in relation to this expectation that I myself will be involved in S where my being involved in S means that I gure in S as someone doing something at that time or having something done to me or again that S will have consequences affecting me at that or some subsequent time There are some emotions however which I will feel only if I will be involved in S and fear is an obvious example Now the description of S under which it gures in my expecta tions will necessarily be in various ways indeterminate and one way in which it may be indeterminate is that it leave Open whether I shall be involved in S or not Thus I may have good reason to expect that one out of us ve is going to get hurt but no reason to expect it to be me rather than one of the others My present emotions will be correspondingly affected by this indeter minacy Thus sticking to the egoistic concern involved in fear I shall presumably be somewhat more cheerful than if I knew it was going to be me somewhat less cheerful than if I had been left out altogether Fear will be mixed with and quali ed by apprehen sion and so forth These emotions revolve around the thought of the eventual determination of the indeterminacy moments of straight fear focus on its really turning out to be me of hope on its turning out not to be me All the emotions are related to the coming about of what I expect and what I expect in such a case just cannot come about save by coming about in one of the ways or another There are other ways in which indeterminate expectations can be related to fear Thus I may expect perhaps neurotically that something nasty is going to happen to me indeed expect that when it happens it will take some determinate form but have no 175 BERNARD WILLIAMS range or no closed range of candidates for the determinate form to rehearse in my present thought Different from this would be the fear of something radically indeterminate the fear one might say of a nameless horror If somebody had such a fear one could even say that he had in a sense a perfectly determinate expectation if what he expects indeed comes about there will be nothing more determinate to be said about it after the event than was said in the expectation Both these cases of course are cases of fear because one thing that is xed amid the indeterminacy is the belief that it is to me to which the things will happen Central to the expectation of S is the thought of what it will be like when it happens thought which may be indeterminate range over alternatives and so forth When S involves me there can be the possibility of a special form of such thought the thought of how it will be for me the imaginative projection of myself as participant in S3 I do not have to think about S in this way when it involves me but I may be able to It might be suggested that this possibility was even mirrored in the language in the distinction between expecting to be hurt and expecting that I shall be hurt but I am very doubtful about this point which is in any case of no importance Suppose now that there is an S with regard to which it is for conceptual reasons undecidable whether it involves me or not as is proposed for the experimental situation by the line we are discussing It is important that the expectation of S is not indeter minate in any of the ways we have just been considering It is not like the nameless horror since the xed point of that case was that it was going to happen to the subject and that made his state unequivocally fear Nor is it like the expectation of the man who expects one of the ve to be hurt his fear was indeed equivocal but its focus and that of the expectation was that when S came about it would certainly come about in one way or the other In the present case fear of the torture that is to say not of the initial experiment seems neither appropriate nor inappropriate nor 3 For a more detailed treatment of issues related to this see Imagination and the Self British Academy London 1966 reprinted in P F Strawson ed Studies in Thought and Action Oxford I 968 I76 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE appropriately equivocal Relatedly the subject has an incurable di iculty about how he may think about S If he engages in projective imaginative thinking about how it will be for him he implicitly answers the necessarily unanswerable question if he thinks that he cannot engage in such thinking it looks very much as if he also answers it though in the opposite direction Perhaps he must just refrain from such thinking but is he just refraining from it if it is incurably undecidable whether he can or cannot engage in it P It may be said that all that these considerations can show is that fear at any rate does not get its proper footing in this case but that there could be some other more ambivalent form of concern which would indeed be appropriate to this particular expectation the expectation of the conceptually undecidable situation There are perhaps analogous feelings that actually occur in actual situations Thus material objects do occasionally undergo puzzling transformations which leave a conceptual shadow over their identity Suppose I were sentimentally attached to an object to which this sort of thing then happened then it might be that I could neither feel about it quite as I did originally nor be totally indifferent to it but would have some other and rather ambivalent feeling toward it Similarly it may be said toward the prospective sufferer of pain my identity relations with whom are conceptually shadowed I can feel neither as I would if he were certainly me nor as I would if he were certainly not but rather some such ambivalent concern But this analogy does little to remove the most baf ing aspect of the present case an aspect which has already turned up in what was said about the subject s difficulty in thinking either projec tively or nonprojectiver about the situation For to regard the prospective painsufferer just like the transmogri ed object of sentiment and to conceive of my ambivalent distress about his future pain as just like ambivalent distress about some future damage to such an object is of course to leave him and me clearly distinct from one another and thus to displace the conceptual shadow from its proper place I have to get nearer to him than that But is there any nearer that I can get to him without expect ing his pain If there is the analogy has not shown us it We can I77 BERNARD WILLIAMS certainly not get nearer by expecting as it were ambivalent pain there is no place at all for that There seems to be an obstinate bafHement to mirroring in my expectations a situation in which it is conceptually undecidable whether I occur The bafHement seems moreover to turn to plain absurdity if we move from conceptual undecidability to its close friend and neighbor conventionalist decision This comes out if we consider another description overtly conventionalist of the series of cases which occasioned the present discussion This description would reject a point I relied on in an earlier argument namely that if we deny that the Abody person in vi is A because the Bbody person is then we must deny that the Abody person in v is A since they are exactly the same No it may be said this is just to assume that we say the same in different sorts of situation No doubt when we have the very good candidate for being A namely the Bbodyperson we call him A but this does not mean that we should not call the Abody person A in that other situation when we have no better candidate around Different situations call for different descriptions This line of talk is the sort of thing indeed appropriate to lawyers deciding the ownership of some property which has undergone some bewildering set of transformations they just have to decide and in each situation let us suppose it has got to go to somebody on as reasonable grounds as the facts and the law admit But as a line to deal with a person s fears or expectations about his own future it seems to have no sense at all If A s fears can extend to what will happen to the Abody person in v I do not see how they can be rationally diverted from the fate of the exactly similar person in vi by his being told that someone would have a reason in the latter situation which he would not have in the former for deciding to call another person A Thus to sum up it looks as though there are two presentations of the imagined experiment and the choice associated with it each of which carries conviction and which lead to contrary conclusions The idea moreover that the situation after the experiment is conceptually undecidable in the relevant respect seems not to assist but rather to increase the puzzlement while the idea so often appealed to in these matters that it is conven I78 THE SELF AND THE FUTURE tionally decidable is even worse Following from all that I am not in the least clear which option it would be wise to take if one were presented with them before the experiment I nd that rather disturbing Whatever the puzzlement there is one feature of the arguments which have led to it which is worth picking out since it runs counter to something which is I think often rather vaguely supposed It is often recognized that there are rstpersonal and thirdpersonal aspects of questions about persons and that there are di iculties about the relations between them It is also recognized that mentalistic considerations as we may vaguely call them and considerations of bodily continuity are involved in questions of personal identity which is not to say that there are mentalistic and bodily criteria of personal identity It is tempting to think that the two distinctions run in parallel roughly that a rstpersonal approach concentrates attention on mentalistic considerations while a thirdpersonal approach emphasizes considerations of bodily continuity The present discussion is an illustration of exactly the opposite The rst argument which led to the mentalistic conclusion that A and B would change bodies and that each person should identify himself with the destination of his memories and character was an argument entirely con ducted in thirdpersonal terms The second argument which sug gested the bodily continuity identi cation concerned itself with the rstpersonal issue of what A could expect That this is so seems to me though I will not discuss it further here of some signi cance I will end by suggesting one rather shaky way in which one might approach a resolution of the problem using only the limited materials already available The apparently decisive arguments of the rst presentation which suggested that A should identify himself with the B body person turned on the extreme neatness of the situation in satis fying if any could the description of changing bodies But this neatness is basically arti cial it is the product of the will of the experimenter to produce a situation which would naturally elicit with minimum hesitation that description By the sorts of methods he employed he could easily have left off earlier or gone I79 BERNARD WILLIAMS on further He could have stopped at situation 29 leaving B as he was or he could have gone on and produced two persons each with Alike character and memories as well as one or two with Blike characteristics If he had done either of those we should have been in yet greater dif culty about what to say he just chose to make it as easy as possible for us to nd something to say Now if we had some model of ghostly persons in bodies which were in some sense actually moved around by certain procedures we could regard the neat experiment just as the e eetive experi ment the one method that really did result in the ghostly persons changing places without being destroyed dispersed or whatever But we cannot seriously use such a model The experimenter has not in the sense of that model induced a change of bodies he has rather produced the one situation out of a range of equally possible situations which we should be most disposed to call a change of bodies As against this the principle that one s fears can extend to future pain whatever psychological changes precede it seems positively straightforward Perhaps indeed it is not but we need to be shown what is wrong with it Until we are shown what is wrong with it we should perhaps decide that if we were the person A then if we were to decide sel shly we should pass the pain to the Bbodyperson It would be risky that there is room for the notion of a risk here is itself a major feature of the problem BERNARD WILLIAMS King s College Cambridge 180 UHlJilEHJEITFH39 lF lHiEEEJE Philosophical Review Personal Identity Authors Derek Parf it Reviewed worlds Source The Philosophical Review Vol 80 No 1 Tan 1971 pp 327 Published by Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review Stable URL httpWwwjstororgstable2184309 Accessed 07122011 1356 Your use of the J STOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms amp Conditions of Use available at httpwwwj stororgpageinfoaboutpoliciestermsj sp J STOR is a notfor profit service that helps scholars researchers and students discover use and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship For more information about J STOR please contact support j stororg Duke University Press and Philosophical Review are collaborating with J STOR to digitize preserve and extend access to The Philosophical Review httpwwwj stororg PERSONAL IDENTITYl E CAN I think describe cases in which though we know the answer to every other question we have no idea how to answer a question about personal identity These cases are not covered by the criteria of personal identity that we actually use Do they present a problem It might be thought that they do not because they could never occur I suspect that some of them could Some for instance might become scienti cally possible But I shall claim that even if they did they would present no problem My targets are two beliefs one about the nature of personal identity the other about its importance The rst is that in these cases the question about identity must have an answer No one thinks this about say nations or machines Our criteria for the identity of these do not cover certain cases No one thinks that in these cases the questions Is it the same nation or Is it the same machine must have answers Some people believe that in this respect they are different They agree that our criteria of personal identity do not cover certain cases but they believe that the nature of their own identity through time is somehow such as to guarantee that in these cases questions about their identity must have answers This belief might be expressed as follows Whatever happens between now and any future time either I shall still exist or I shall not Any future experience will either be my experience or it will not This rst belief in the special nature of personal identity has I think certain effects It makes people assume that the principle of selfinterest is more rationally compelling than any moral prin ciple And it makes them more depressed by the thought of aging and of death 1 I have been helped in writing this by D Wiggins D F Pears P F Strawson A J Ayer M Woods N Newman and through his publications S Shoemaker DEREK PARFI T I cannot see how to disprove this rst belief I shall describe a problem case But this can only make it seem implausible Another approach might be this We might suggest that one cause of the belief is the projection of our emotions When we ima gine ourselves in a problem case we do feel that the question Would it be me must have an answer But what we take to be a baf ement about a further fact may be only the baf ement of our concern I shall not pursue this suggestion here But one cause of our concern is the belief which is my second target This is that unless the question about identity has an answer we cannot answer certain important questions questions about such matters as survival memory and responsibility Against this second belief my claim will be this Certain impor tant questions do presuppose a question about personal identity But they can be freed of this presupposition And when they are the question about identity has no importance We can start by considering the muchdiscussed case of the man who like an amoeba divides2 Wiggins has recently dramatized this case3 He rst referred to the operation imagined by Shoemaker4 We suppose that my brain is tranSplanted into someone else s brainless body and that the resulting person has my character and apparent memories 2 Implicit in John Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding ed by John W Yolton London 1961 Vol II Ch XXVII sec 18 and discussed by among others A N Prior in Opposite Number Review of Metaphysics 11 19571958 and Time Existence and Identity Proceedings of the Aris totelian Society LVII 19651966 j Bennett in The Simplicity of the Soul journal of Philosophy LXIV 1967 and R Chisholm and S Shoemaker in The Loose and Popular and the Strict and the Philosophical Senses of Identity in Perception and Personal Identity Proceedings of the 1967 Oberlin Colloquium in Philosophy ed by Norman Care and Robert HGrimm Cleveland 1967 3 In Identity and Spatio Temporal Continuity Oxford 1967 p 50 4 In SelfKnowledge ana39 SelfIdentity Ithaca N Y 1963 p 22 PERSONAL IDENTITY of my life Most of us would agree after thought that the resulting person is me I shall here assume such agreement5 Wiggins then imagined his own operation My brain is divided and each half is housed in a new body Both resulting people have my character and apparent memories of my life What happens to me There seem only three possibilities I I do not survive 2 I survive as one of the two people 3 I survive as both The trouble with I is this We agreed that I could survive if my brain were successfully transplanted And people have in fact survived with half their brains destroyed It seems to follow that I could survive if half my brain were successfully transplanted and the other half were destroyed But if this is so how could I not survive if the other half were also successfully transplanted How could a double success be a failure We can move to the second description Perhaps one success is the maximum score Perhaps I shall be one of the resulting people The trouble here is that in Wiggins case each half of my brain is exactly similar and so to start with is each resulting person So how can I survive as only one of the two people What can make me one of them rather than the other It seems clear that both of these descriptions that I do not survive and that I survive as one of the people are highly implausible Those who have accepted them must have assumed that they were the only possible descriptions What about our third description that I survive as both people It might be said If survive implies identity this description makes no sense you cannot be two people If it does not the description is irrelevant to a problem about identity I shall later deny the second of these remarks But there are ways of denying the rst We might say What we have called the two resulting people are not two people They are one person 5 Those who would disagree are not making a mistake For them my argu ment would need a different case There must be some multiple transplant faced with which these people would both nd it hard to believe that there must be an answer to the question about personal identity and be able to be shown that nothing of importance turns upon this question DEREK PARFI T I do survive Wiggins operation Its effect is to give me two bodies and a divided mind It would shorten my argument if this were absurd But I do not think it is It is worth showing why We can I suggest imagine a divided mind We can imagine a man having two simultaneous experiences in having each of which he is unaware of having the other We may not even need to imagine this Certain actual cases to which Wiggins referred seem to be best described in these terms These involve the cutting of the bridge between the hemispheres of the brain The aim was to cure epilepsy But the result appears to be in the surgeon s words the creation of two separate spheres of consciousness 6 each of which controls one half of the patient s body What is experienced in each is presumably experienced by the patient There are certain complications in these actual cases So let us imagine a simpler case Suppose that the bridge between my hemispheres is brought under my voluntary control This would enable me to disconnect my hemispheres as easily as if I were blinking By doing this I would divide my mind And we can suppose that when my mind is divided I can in each half bring about reunion This ability would have obvious uses To give an example I am near the end of a maths exam and see two ways of tackling the last problem I decide to divide my mind to work with each half at one of two calculations and then to reunite my mind and write a fair copy of the best result What shall I experience When I disconnect my hemispheres my consciousness divides into two streams But this division is not something that I expe rience Each of my two streams of consciousness seems to have been straightforwardly continuous with my one stream of conscious ness up to the moment of division The only changes in each stream are the disappearance of half my visual eld and the loss of sen sation in and control over half my body 5 R W Sperry in Brain and Conscibus Experience ed by J C Eccles New York 1966 p 299 PERSONAL IDEN TI T1 Consider my experiences in what we can call my righthanded stream I remember that I assigned my right hand to the longer calculation This I now begin In working at this calculation I can see from the movements of my left hand that I am also working at the other But I am not aware of working at the other So I might in my righthanded stream wonder how in my lefthanded stream I am getting on My work is now over I am about to reunite my mind What should I in each stream expect Simply that I shall suddenly seem to remember just having thought out two calculations in thinking out each of which I was not aware of thinking out the other This I submit we can imagine And if my mind was divided these memories are correct In describing this episode I assumed that there were two series of thoughts and that they were both mine If my two hands visibly wrote out two calculations and if I claimed to remember two corresponding series of thoughts this is surely what we should want to say If it is then a person s mental history need not be like a canal with only one channel It could be like a river with islands and with separate streams To apply this to Wiggins operation we mentioned the View that it gives me two bodies and a divided mind We cannot now call this absurd But it is I think unsatisfactory There were two features of the case of the exam that made us want to say that only one person was involved The mind was soon reunited and there was only one body If a mind was permanently divided and its halves developed in different ways the point of speaking of one person would start to disappear Wiggins case where there are also two bodies seems to be over the borderline After I have had his operation the two products each have all the attributes of a person They could live at opposite ends of the earth If they later met they might even fail to recognize each other It would become intolerable to deny that they were different people Suppose we admit that they are different people Could we still claim that I survived as both using survive to imply identity We could For we might suggest that two people could compose DEREK PARFI T a third We might say I do survive Wiggins operation as two people They can be different people and yet be me in just the way in which the Pope s three crowns are one crown 7 This is a possible way of giving sense to the claim that I survive as two different people using survive to imply identity But it keeps the language of identity only by changing the concept of a person And there are obvious objections to this change8 The alternative for which I shall argue is to give up the lan guage of identity We can suggest that I survive as two different people without implying that I am these people When I rst mentioned this alternative I mentioned this objec tion If your new way of talking does not imply identity it cannot solve our problem For that is about identity The problem is that all the possible answers to the question about identity are highly implausible We can now answer this objection We can start by reminding ourselves that this is an objection only if we have one or both of the beliefs which I mentioned at the start of this paper The rst was the belief that to any question about personal iden tity in any describable case there must be a true answer For those with this belief Wiggins case is doubly perplexing If all the possible answers are implausible it is hard to decide which of them is true and hard even to keep the belief that one of them must be true If we give up this belief as I think we should these problems disappear We shall then regard the case as like many others in which for quite unpuzzling reasons there is no answer to a question about identity Consider Was England the same nation after 1066 Wiggins case makes the rst belief implausible It also makes 7 Of David Wiggins op cit p 40 8 Suppose the resulting peeple ght a duel Are there three people ghting one on each side and one on both And suppose one of the bullets kills Are there two acts one murder and one suicide How many people are left alive One Two We could hardly say One and a half We could talk in this way But instead of saying that the resulting people are the original person so that the pair is a trio it would be far simpler to treat them as a pair and describe their relation to the original person in some new way I owe this suggested way of talking and the objections to it to Michael Woods 8 PERSONAL IDENTITY it trivial For it undermines the second belief This was the belief that important questions turn upon the question about identity It is worth pointing out that those who have only this second belief do not think that there must be an answer to this question but rather that we must decide upon an answer Against this second belief my claim is this Certain questions do presuppose a question about personal identity And because these questions are important Wiggins case does present aproblem But we cannot solve this problem by answering the question about identity We can solve this problem only by taking these important questions and prizing them apart from the question about identity After we have done this the question about identity though we might for the sake of neatness decide it has no further interest Because there are several questions which presuppose identity this claim will take some time to ll out We can rst return to the question of survival This is a special case for survival does not so much presuppose the retaining of identity as seem equivalent to it It is thus the general relation which we need to prize apart from identity We can then consider particular relations such as those involved in memory and inten tion Will I survive seems I said equivalent to Will there be some person alive who is the same person as me If we treat these questions as equivalent then the least unsatisfactory description of Wiggins case is I think that I survive with two bodies and a divided mind Several writers have chosen to say that I am neither of the resulting people Given our equivalence this implies that I do not survive and hence presumably that even if Wiggins operation is not literally death I ought since I will not survive it to regard it as death But this seemed absurd It is worth repeating why An emotion or attitude can be criticized for resting on a false belief or for being inconsistent A man who regarded Wiggins operation as death must I suggest be open to one of these criticisms He might believe that his relation to each of the resulting people fails to contain some element which is contained in survival But how can this be true We agreed that he would survive if he DEREK PARFI T stood in this very same relation to only one of the resulting people So it cannot be the nature of this relation which makes it fail in Wiggins case to be survival It can only be its duplication Suppose that our man accepts this but still regards division as death His reaction would now seem wildly inconsistent He would be like a man who when told of a drug that could double his years of life regarded the taking of this drug as death The only differ ence in the case of division is that the extra years are to run con currently This is an interesting difference But it cannot mean that there are no years to run I have argued this for those who think that there must in Wig gins case be a true answer to the question about identity For them we might add Perhaps the original person does lose his identity But there may be other ways to do this than to die One other way might be to multiply To regard these as the same is to confuse nought with two For those who think that the question of identity is up for decision it would be clearly absurd to regard Wiggins operation as death These people would have to think We could have chosen to say that I should be one of the resulting people If we had I should not have regarded it as death But since we have chosen to say that I am neither person I do This is hard even to understand9 My rst conclusion then is this The relation of the original person to each of the resulting people contains all that interests us all that matters in any ordinary case of survival This is why we need a sense in which one person can survive as two10 One of my aims in the rest of this paper will be to suggest such a sense But we can rst make some general remarks II Identity is a oneone relation Wiggins case serves to show that what matters in survival need not be oneone 9 Cf Sydney Shoemaker in Perception and Personal Identity Proceedings of the 1967 Oberlin Colloquim in Philosophy loc cit 1 Cf David Wiggins op cit p 54 IO PERSONAL IDENTITY Wiggins case is of course unlikely to occur The relations which matter are in fact one one It is because they are that we can imply the holding of these relations by using the language of identity This use of language is convenient But it can lead us astray We may assume that what matters is identity and hence has the properties of identity In the case of the property of being oneone this mistake is not serious For what matters is in fact oneone But in the case of another property the mistake is serious Identity is allornothing Most of the relations which matter in survival are in fact relations of degree If we ignore this we shall be led into quite illgrounded attitudes and beliefs The claim that I have just made that most of what matters are relations of degree I have yet to support Wiggins case shows only that these relations need not be oneone The merit of the case is not that it shows this in particular but that it makes the rst break between what matters and identity The belief that identity is what matters is hard to overcome This is shown in most discussions of the problem cases which actually occur cases say of amnesia or of brain damage Once Wiggins case has made one breach in this belief the rest should be easier to remove11 To turn to a recent debate most of the relations which matter can be provisionally referred to under the heading psychological continuity which includes causal continuity My claim is thus that we use the language of personal identity in order to imply 11 Bernard Williams The Self and the Future Philosophical Review LXXIX 1970 161180 is relevant here He asks the question Shall I survive in a range of problem cases and he shows how natural it is to believe I that this question must have an answer 2 that the answer must be all ornothing and 3 that there is a risk of our reaching the wrong answer Because these beliefs are so natural we should need in undermining them to discuss their causes These I think can be found in the ways in which we misinterpret what it is to remember cf Sec III below and to anticipate Cf Williams Imagination and the Self Proceedings of the British Academy LII 1966 105124 and also in the way in which certain features of our egoistic concern eg that it is simple and applies to all imaginable cases are projected onto its object For another relevant discussion see Terence Penelhum s Survival and Disemboa ied Existence London 1970 nal chapters II DEREK PARFI T such continuity This is close to the View that psychological continuity provides a criterion of identity Williams has attacked this view with the following argument Identity is a oneone relation So any criterion of identity must appeal to a relation which is logically oneone Psychological conti nuity is not logically oneone So it cannot provide a criterion12 Some writers have replied that it is enough if the relation appealed to is always in fact oneone13 I suggest a slightly different reply Psychological continuity is a ground for speaking of identity when it is oneone If psychological continuity took a onemany or branching form we should need I have argued to abandon the language of identity So this possibility would not count against this view We can make a stronger claim This possibility would count in its favor The view might be defended as follows Judgments of personal identity have great importance What gives them their importance is the fact that they imply psychological continuity This is why whenever there is such continuity we ought if we can to imply it by making a judgment of identity If psychological continuity took a branching form no coherent set of judgments of identity could correspond to and thus be used to imply the branching form of this relation But what we ought to do in such a case is take the importance which would attach to a judgment of identity and attach this importance directly to each limb of the branching relation So this case helps to show that judgments of personal identity do derive their importance from the fact that they imply psychological continuity It helps to show that when we can usefully speak of identity this relation is our ground This argument appeals to a principle which Williams put forward14 The principle is that an important judgment should be asserted and denied only on importantly different grounds 12 Personal Identity and Individuation Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society LVII 19561957 229253 also Analysis 21 19601961 4348 13 J M Shorter More about Bodily Continuity and Personal Identity Analysis 22 19611962 7985 and Mrs J M R Jack unpublished who re uires that this truth be embedded in a causal theo 1 IV 14 Analysis 21 19601961 44 IQ PERSONAL IDENTITY Williams applied this principle to a case in which one man is psychologically continuous with the dead Guy Fawkes and a case in which two men are His argument was this If we treat psycholog ical continuity as a su icient ground for speaking of identity we shall say that the one man is Guy Fawkes But we could not say that the two men are although we should have the same ground This disobeys the principle The remedy is to deny that the one man is Guy Fawkes to insist that sameness of the body is necessary for identity Williams principle can yield a different answer Suppose we regard psychological continuity as more important than sameness of the body15 And suppose that the one man really is psychologi cally and causally continuous with Guy Fawkes If he is it would disobey the principle to deny that he is Guy Fawkes for we have the same important ground as in a normal case of identity In the case of the two men we again have the same important ground So we ought to take the importance from the judgment of identity and attach it directly to this ground We ought to say as in Wig gins case that each limb of the branching relation is as good as survival This obeys the principle To sum up these remarks even if psychological continuity is neither logically nor always in fact oneone it can provide a criterion of identity For this can appeal to the relation of nonbranching psychological continuity which is logically oneone16 The criterion might be sketched as follows X and Y are the same person if they are psychologically continuous and there is no person who is contemporary with either and psychologically continuous with the other We should need to explain what we mean by psychologically continuous and say how much conti nuity the criterion requires We should then I think have de scribed a sui cient condition for speaking of identity17 We need to say something more If we admit that psychological 15 For the reasons given by A M Quinton in The Soul journal of Philos ophy LIX 1962 393409 1 Cf S Shoemaker Persons and Their Pasts to appear in the American Philosophical Quarterly and Wiggins on Identity Philosophical Review LXXIX 1970 542 17 But not a necessary condition for in the absence of psychological conti nuity bodily identity might be su icient 13 DEREK PARFI T continuity might not be one one we need to say what we ought to do if it were not oneone Otherwise our account would be open to the objections that it is incomplete and arbitrary18 I have suggested that if psychological continuity took a branch ing form we ought to speak in a new way regarding what we describe as having the same signi cance as identity This answers these objections19 We can now return to our discussion We have three remaining aims One is to suggest a sense of survive which does not imply identity Another is to show that most of what matters in survival are relations of degree A third is to show that none of these relations needs to be described in a way that presupposes identity We can take these aims in the reverse order III The most important particular relation is that involved in memory This is because it is so easy to believe that its description must refer to identity20 This belief about memory is an important cause of the view that personal identity has a special nature But it has been well discussed by Shoemaker21 and by Wiggins22 So we can be brief It may be a logical truth that we can only remember our own experiences But we can frame a new concept for which this is not a logical truth Let us call this qmemory 13 Of Bernard Williams Personal Identity and Individuation Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society LVII 19561957 240241 and Analysis 21 1960 1961 44 and also Wiggins op cit p 38 if coincidence under the concept f is to be genuinely suf cient we must not withhold identity simply because transitivity is threatened 19 Williams produced another objection to the psychological criterion that it makes it hard to explain the difference between the concepts of identity and exact similarity Analysis 21 19601961 48 But if we include the requirement of causal continuity we avoid this objection and one of those produced by Wiggins in his note 47 2quot Those philosophers who have held this belief from Butler onward are too numerous to cite 21 0 cit 22 In a paper on Butler s objection to Locke not yet published 14 PERSONAL IDEJV TI T1 To sketch a de nition23 I am qremembering an experience if I I have a belief about a past experience which seems in itself like a memory belief 2 someone did have such an experience and 3 my belief is dependent upon this experience in the same way whatever that is in which a memory of an experience is depen dent upon it According to I qmemories seem like memories So I qremem ber having experiences This may seem to make qmemory presuppose identity One might say My apparent memory of having an experience is an apparent memory of my having an experience So how could I qremember my having other people s experiences This objection rests on a mistake When I seem to remember an experience I do indeed seem to remember having it24 But it cannot be a part of what I seem to remember about this experience that I the person who now seems to remember it am the person who had this experience25 That I am is something that I auto matically assume My apparent memories sometimes come to me simply as the belief that I had a certain experience But it is something that I am justi ed in assuming only because I do not in fact have qmemories of other people s experiences Suppose that I did start to have such q memories If I did I should cease to assume that my apparent memories must be about my own experiences I should come to assess an apparent memory by asking two questions 1 Does it tell me about a past experience 2 If so whose Moreover and this is a crucial point my apparent memories would now come to me as qmemories Consider those of my ap 23 I here follow Shoemaker s quasimemory Cf also Penelhum s retro cognition in his article on Personal Identity in the Encyclopedia of Philos ophy ed by Paul Edwards 24 As Shoemaker put it I seem to remember the experience from the inside op cit 25 This is what so many writers have overlooked Cf Thomas Reid My memory testi es not only that this was done but that it was done by me who now remember it Of Identity in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man ed by A D Woozley London 1941 p 203 This mistake is discussed by A B Palma in Memory and Personal Identity Australasian journal of Philosophy 42 1964 57 I5 DEREK PARFI T parent memories which do come to me simply as beliefs about my past for example I did that If I knew that I could qremember other people s experiences these beliefs would come to me in a more guarded form for example Someone probably I did that I might have to work out who it was I have suggested that the concept of qmemory is coherent Wiggins case provides an illustration The resulting people in his case both have apparent memories of living the life of the original person If they agree that they are not this person they will have to regard these as only qmemories And when they are asked a question like Have you heard this music before they might have to answer I am sure that I qremember hearing it But I am not sure whether I remember hearing it I am not sure whether it was I who heard it or the original person We can next point out that on our de nition every memory is also a qmemory Memories are simply qmemories of one s own experiences Since this is so we could afford now to drop the concept of memory and use in its place the wider concept qmemory If we did we should describe the relation between an experience and what we now call a memory of this experience in a way which does not presuppose that they are had by the same person26 This way of describing this relation has certain merits It vindicates the memory criterion of personal identity against the charge of circularity27 And it might I think help with the problem of other minds 2quot It is not logically necessary that we only qremember our own experiences But it might be necessary on other grounds This possibility is intriguingly explored by Shoemaker in his Persons and Their Pasts op cit He shows that qmemories can provide a knowledge of the world only if the observations which are qremembered trace out fairly continuous spatiotemporal paths If the observations which are qremembered traced out a network of frequently interlocking paths they could not I think be usefully ascribed to persisting observers but would have to be referred to in some more complex way But in fact the observations which are qremembered trace out single and separate paths so we can ascribe them to ourselves In other words it is epistemologi cally necessary that the observations which are qremembered should satisfy a certain general condition one particular form of which allows them to be usefully selfascribed 39 27 Cf Wiggins paper on Butler s objection to Locke 16 PERSONAL IDE JV TI T2 But we must move on We can next take the relation between an intention and a later action It may be a logical truth that we can intend to perform only our own actions But intentions can be redescribed as qintentions And one person could qintend to perform another person s actions Wiggins case again provides the illustration We are supposing that neither of the resulting people is the original person If so we shall have to agree that the original person can before the operation qintend to perform their actions He might for exam ple qintend as one of them to continue his present career and as the other to try something new28 I say qintend as one of them because the phrase qintend that one of them would not convey the directness of the relation which is involved If I intend that someone else should do something I cannot get him to do it simply by forming this intention But if I am the original person and he is one of the resulting people I can The phrase qintend as one of them reminds us that we need a sense in which one person can survive as two But we can rst point out that the concepts of qmemory and qintention give us our model for the others that we need thus a man who can qremember could qrecognize and be a qwitness of what he has never seen and a man who can qintend could have qambitions make qpromises and be qresponsible for To put this claim in general terms many different relations are included within or are a consequence of psychological continuity We describe these relations in ways which presuppose the contin ued existence of one person But we could describe them in new ways which do not This suggests a bolder claim It might be possible to think of experiences in a wholly impersonal way I shall not develop 28 There are complications here He could form divergent qintentions only if he could distinguish in advance between the resulting people eg as the lefthander and the righthander And he could be con dent that such divergent qintentions would be carried out only if he had reason to believe that neither of the resulting people would change their inherited mind Suppose he was torn between duty and desire He could not solve this dilemma by q intending as one of the resulting people to do his duty and as the other to do what he desires For the one he qintended to do his duty would face the same dilemma I7 DEREK PARFI T this claim here What I shall try to describe is a way of thinking of our own identity through time which is more exible and less misleading than the way in which we now think This way of thinking will allow for a sense in which one person can survive as two A more important feature is that it treats survival as a matter of degree IV We must rst show the need for this second feature I shall use two imaginary examples The rst is the converse of Wiggins case fusionJust as division serves to show that what matters in survival need not be oneone so fusion serves to show that it can be a question of degree Physically fusion is easy to describe Two people come together While they are unconscious their two bodies grow into one One person then wakes up The psychology of fusion is more complex One detail we have already dealt with in the case of the exam When my mind was reunited I remembered just having thought out two calculations The one person who results from a fusion can similarly q remem ber living the lives of the two original people None of their 9 memories need be lost But some things must be lost For any two people who fuse together will have different characteristics different desires and different intentions How can these be combined We might suggest the following Some of these will be compat ible These can coexist in the one resulting person Some will be incompatible These if of equal strength can cancel out and if of different strengths the stronger can be made weaker And all these effects might be predictable To give examples rst of compatibility I like Palladio and intend to visit Venice I am about to fuse with a person who likes Giotto and intends to visit Padua I can know that the one person we shall become will have both tastes and both intentions Second of incompatibility I hate red hair and always vote Labour The other person loves red hair and always votes Conservative I can 18 PERSONAL DEN TI TY know that the one person we shall become will be indifferent to red hair and a oating voter If we were about to undergo a fusion of this kind would we regard it as death Some of us might This is less absurd than regarding division as death For after my division the two resulting people will be in every way like me while after my fusion the one resulting person will not be wholly similar This makes it easier to say when faced with fusion I shall not survive thus continuing to regard survival as a matter of allornothing This reaction is less absurd But here are two analogies which tell against it First fusion would involve the changing of some of our charac teristics and some of our desires But only the very selfsatis ed would think of this as death Many people welcome treatments with these effects Second someone who is about to fuse can have beforehand just as much intentional control over the actions of the resulting individual as someone who is about to marry can have beforehand over the actions of the resulting couple And the choice of a partner for fusion can be just as well considered as the choice of a marriage partner The two original people can make sure per haps by trial fusion that they do have compatible characters desires and intentions I have suggested that fusion while not clearly survival is not clearly failure to survive and hence that what matters in survival can have degrees To reinforce this claim we can now turn to a second example This is provided by certain imaginary beings These beings are just like ourselves except that they reproduce by a process of natural division We can illustrate the histories of these imagined beings with the aid of a diagram This is given on the next page The lines on the diagram represent the spatiotemporal paths which would be traced out by the bodies of these beings We can call each single line like the double line a branch and we can call the whole structure a tree And let us suppose that each branch corresponds to what is thought of as the life of one individual I9 11E31EY IE4 UFIY lt Space D B5 B30 r4 87 1 later Time l earlier These individuals are referred to as A B l I and so forth Now each single division is an instance of Wiggins case So A s relation to both B I and B 2 is just as good as survival But what of A s relation to B 30 I said earlier that what matters in survival could be provision ally referred to as psychological continuity I must now dis tinguish this relation from another which I shall call psychologi cal connectedness Let us say that the relation between a q memory and the expe rience qremembered is a direct relation Another direct relation is that which holds between a qintention and the q intended action A third is that which holds between different expressions of some lasting qcharacteristic Psychological connectedness as I de ne it requires the hold ing of these direct psychological relations Connectedness is not transitive since these relations are not transitive Thus if X qremembers most of T s life and T q remembers most of Z s life it does not follow that X qremembers most of 5 s life And if X carries out the qintentions of 2 and T carries out the qinten tions of Z it does not follow that X carries out the qintentions of Z Psychological continuity in contrast only requires overlap ping chains of direct psychological relations So continuity is transitive To return to our diagram A is psychologically continuous with B 30 There are between the two continuous chains of overlap 2O PERSONAL DEN TI T2 ping relations Thus A has qintentional control over B 2 B 2 has qintentional control over B 6 and so on up to B 30 Or B 30 can qremember the life of B 14 B 14 can qremember the life of B 6 and so on back to A29 A however need not be psychologically connected to B 30 Connectedness requires direct relations And if these beings are like us A cannot stand in such relations to every individual in his inde nitely long tree Qmemories will weaken with the passage of time and then fade away Q5ambitions once ful lled will be replaced by others Qcharacteristics will gradually change In general A stands in fewer and fewer direct psychological relations to an individual in his tree the more remote that individual is And if the individual is like B 30 suf ciently remote there may be between the two 720 direct psychological relations Now that we have distinguished the general relations of psycho logical continuity and psychological connectedness I suggest that connectedness is a more important element in survival As a claim about our own survival this would need more arguments than I have space to give But it seems clearly true for my imagined beings A is as close psychologically to B I as I today am to myself tomorrow A is as distant from B 30 as I am from my greatgreatgrandson Even if connectedness is not more important than continuity the fact that one of these is a relation of degree is enough to show that what matters in survival can have degrees And in any case 39 the two relations are quite different So our imagined beings would need a way of thinking in which this difference is recog nized V What I propose is this First A can think of any individual anywhere in his tree as a descendant self This phrase implies psychological conti nuity Similarly any later individual can think of any earlier 29 The chain of continuity must run in one direction of time B2 is not in the sense I intend psychologically continuous with B I 21 DEREK PARFI T an individual on the single path30 which connects him to A as ancestral self Since psychological continuity is transitive being an ancestral self of and being a descendant self of are also transitive To imply psychological connectedness I suggest the phrases one of my future selves and one of my past selves These are the phrases with which we can describe Wiggins case For having past and future selves is what we needed a way of continuing to exist which does not imply identity through time The original person does in this sense survive Wiggins operation the two resulting people are his later selves And they can each refer to him as my past self They can share a past self without being the same self as each other Since psychological connectedness is not transitive and is a matter of degree the relations being a past self of and being a future self of should themselves be treated as relations of degree We allow for this series of descriptions my most recent self one of my earlier selves one of my distant selves hardly one of my past selves I can only qremember a few of his expe riences and nally not in any way one of my past selves just an ancestral self This way of thinking would clearly suit our rst imagined beings But let us now turn to a second kind of being These reproduce by fusion as well as by division31 And let us suppose that they fuse every autumn and divide every spring This yields the following diagram Space 3quot Of David Wiggins 0pcz39t 31 Cf Sydney Shoemaker in Persons and Their Pasts 0pcit 22 PERSONAL IDENTITY If A is the individual whose life is represented by the three lined branch the twolined tree represents those lives which are psychologically continuous with A s life It can be seen that each individual has his own tree which overlaps with many others For the imagined beings in this second world the phrases an ancestral self and a descendant self would cover too much to be of much use There may well be pairs of dates such that every individual who ever lived before the rst date was an ancestral self of every individual who ever will live after the second date Conversely since the lives of each individual last for only half a year the word I would cover too little to do all of the work which it does for us So part of this work would have to be done for these second beings by talk about past and future selves We can now point out a theoretical aw in our proposed way of thinking The phrase a past self of implies psychological connectedness Being a past self of is treated as a relation of degree so that this phrase can be used to imply the varying degrees of psychological connectedness But this phrase can imply only the degrees of connectedness between different lives It cannot be used within a single life And our way of delimiting successive lives does not refer to the degrees of psychological connectedness Hence there is no guarantee that this phrase a past self of could be used whenever it was needed There is no guarantee that psychological connectedness will not vary in degree within a single life This aw would not concern our imagined beings For they divide and unite so frequently and their lives are in consequence so short that within a single life psychological connectedness would always stand at a maximum But let us look nally at a third kind of being In this world there is neither division nor union There are a number of everlasting bodies which gradually change in appear ance And direct psychological relations as before hold only over limited periods of time This can be illustrated with a third diagram given on the next page In this diagram the two shadings represent the degrees of psychological connectedness to their two central points 23 DEREK PARFI T lt Space gt Time These beings could not use the way of thinking that we have proposed Since there is no branching of psychological continuity they would have to regard themselves as immortal It might be said that this is what they are But there is I suggest a better description Our beings would have one reason for thinking of themselves as immortal The parts of each line are all psychologically continuous But the parts of each line are not all psychologically connected Direct psychological relations hold only between those parts which are close to each other in time This gives our beings a reason for not thinking of each line as corresponding to one single life For if they did they would have no way of implying these direct relations When a speaker says for example I spent a period doing such and such his hearers would not be entitled to assume that the speaker has any memories of this period that his character then and now are in any way similar that he is now carrying out any of the plans or intentions which he then had and so forth Because the word I would carry none of these implications it would not have for these immortal beings the usefulness which it has for us32 To gain a better way of thinking we must revise the way of thinking that we proposed above The revision is this The dis tinction between successive selves can be made by reference not to the branching of psychological continuity but to the degrees 32 Of Austin Duncan Jones Man s Mortality Analysis 28 19671968 6570 24 PERSONAL DEN TI T2 of psychological connectedness Since this connectedness is a matter of degree the drawing of these distinctions can be left to the choice of the speaker and be allowed to vary from context to context On this way of thinking the word I can be used to imply the greatest degree of psychological connectedness When the connec tions are reduced when there has been any marked change of character or style of life or any marked loss of memory our imag ined beings would say It was not I who did that but an earlier self They could then describe in what ways and to what degree they are related to this earlier self This revised way of thinking would suit not only our immortal beings It is also the way in which we ourselves could think about our lives And it is I suggest surprisingly natural One of its features the distinction between successive selves has already been used by several writers To give an example from Proust we are incapable while we are in love of acting as t predecessors of the next persons who when we are in love no longer we shall presently have become 33 Although Proust distinguished between successive selves he still thought of one person as being these different selves This we would not do on the way of thinking that I propose If I say It will not be me but one of my future selves I do not imply that I will be that future self He is one of my later selves and I am one of his earlier selves There is no underlying person who we both are To point out another feature of this way of thinking When I say There is no person who we both are I am only giving my decisionAnother person could say It will be you thus deciding differently There is no question of either of these decisions being a mistake Whether to say I or one of my future selves or a descendant self is entirely a matter of choice The matter of fact which must be agreed is only whether the disjunction applies The question Are X and Y the same person thus becomes Is X at least an ancestral or descendant self of 1quot P 33 Within a Budding Grove London 1949 I 226 my own translation 25 DEREK PARFI T VI I have tried to show that what matters in the continued existence of a person are for the most part relations of degree And I have proposed a way of thinking in which this would be recognized I shall end by suggesting two consequences and asking one question It is sometimes thought to be especially rational to act in our own best interests But I suggest that the principle of selfinterest has no force There are only two genuine competitors in this particular eld One is the principle of biased rationality do what will best achieve what you actually want The other is the principle of impartiality do what is in the best interests of every one concerned The apparent force of the principle of selfinterest derives I think from these two other principles The principle of selfinterest is normally supported by the principle of biased rationality This is because most people care about their own future interests Suppose that this prop is lacking Suppose that a man does not care what happens to him in say the more distant future To such a man the principle of selfinterest can only be propped up by an appeal to the principle of impartiality We must say Even if you don t care you ought to take what happens to you then equally into account But for this as a special claim there seem to me no good arguments It can only be supported as part of the general claim You ought to take what happens to everyone equally into account 34 The special claim tells a man to grant an equal weight to all the parts of his future The argument for this can only be that all the parts of his future are equally parts of his future This is true But it is a truth too super cial to bear the weight of the argument To give an analogy The unity of a nation is in its nature a matter of degree It is therefore only a super cial truth 34 Cf Thomas Nagel s The Possibilibi of Altruism Oxford 1970 in which the special claim is in effect defended as part of the general claim 26 PERSONAL DEN TI TT that all of a man s compatriots are equally his compatriots This truth cannot support a good argument for nationalism35 I have suggested that the principle of selfinterest has no strength of its own If this is so there is no special problem in the fact that what we ought to do can be against our interests There is only the general problem that it may not be what we want to do The second consequence which I shall mention is implied in the rst Egoism the fear not of near but of distant death the regret that so much of one s only life should have gone by these are not I think wholly natural or instinctive They are all strengthened by the beliefs about personal identity which I have been attacking If we give up these beliefs they should be weakened My nal question is this These emotions are bad and if we weaken them we gain But can we achieve this gain without say also weakening loyalty to or love of other particular selves As Hume warned the re ned re ections which philosophy suggests cannot diminish our vicious passions without dimin ishing such as are virtuous They are applicable to all our a ections In vain do we hope to direct their in uence only to one side 36 That hope is vain But Hume had another that more of what is bad depends upon false belief This is also my hope DEREK PARFIT All Souls College Oxford 35 The unity of a nation we seldom take for more than what it is This is partly because we often think of nations not as units but in a more complex way If we thought of ourselves in the way that I proposed we might be less likely to take our own identity for more than what it is We are for example sometimes told It is irrational to act against your own interests After all it will be you who will regret it To this we could reply No not me Not even one of my future selves Just a descendant self 36 The Sceptic in Essays Moral Political and Literary Hume s Moral and Political Philosophy New York 1959 p 349 27 Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes Translated by John Veitch 1901 P2 P5 R7 R10 P14 P20 R31 R37 R42 INTRODUCTION PREFACE TO THE READER SYNOPSIS OF THE SIX FOLLOWING MEDITATIONS MEDITATION I OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT MEDITATION II OF THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN MIND AND THAT IT IS MORE EASILY KNOWN THAN THE BODY MEDITATION III OF GOD THAT HE EXISTS MEDITATION IV OF TRUTH AND ERROR MEDITATION V OF THE ESSENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS AND AGAIN OF GOD THAT HE EXISTS MEDITATION VI OF THE EXISTENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS AND OF THE REAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE MIND AND BODY OF MAN INTRODUCTION TO THE VERY SAGE AND ILLUSTRIOUS THE DEAN AND DOCTORS OF THE SACRED FACULTY OF THEOLOGY OF PARIS GENTLEMEN 1 The motive which impels me to present this Treatise to you is so reasonable and when you shall learn its design I am confident that you also will consider that there is ground so valid for your taking it under your protection that I can in no way better recommend it to you than by brie y stating the end which I proposed to myself in it 2 I have always been of the opinion that the two questions respecting God and the Soul were the chief of those that ought to be determined by help of Philosophy rather than of Theology for although to us the faithful it be sufficient to hold as matters of faith that the human soul does not perish with the body and that God exists it yet assuredly seems impossible ever to persuade infidels of the reality of any religion or almost even any moral virtue unless first of all those two things be proved to them by natural reason And since in this life there are frequently greater rewards held out to vice than to virtue few would prefer the right to the useful if they were restrained neither by the fear of God nor the expectation of another life and although it is quite true that the existence of God is to be believed since it is taught in the sacred Scriptures and that on the other hand the sacred Scriptures are to be believed because they come from God for since faith is a gift of God the same Being who bestows grace to enable us to believe other things can likewise impart of it to enable us to believe his own existence nevertheless this cannot be submitted to infidels who would consider that the reasoning proceeded in a circle And indeed I have observed that you with all the other theologians not only affirmed the sufficiency of natural reason for the proof of the existence of God but also that it may be inferred from sacred Scripture that the knowledge of God is much clearer than of many created things and that it is really so easy of acquisition as to leave those who do not possess it blameworthy This is manifest from these words of the Book of Wisdom chap xiii where it is said Howbeit they are not to be excused for if their understanding was so great that they could discern the world and the creatures why did they not rather find out the Lord thereof And in Romans chap i it is said that they are without excuse and again in the same place by these words That which may be known of God is manifest in themwe seem to be admonished that all which can be known of God may be made manifest by reasons obtained from no other source than the inspection of our own minds I have therefore thought that it would not be unbecoming in me to inquire how and by what way without going out of ourselves God may be more easily and certainly known than the things of the world 3 And as regards the Soul although many have judged that its nature could not be easily discovered and some have even ventured to say that human reason led to the conclusion that it perished with the body and that the contrary opinion could be held through faith alone nevertheless since the Lateran Council held under Leo X in session viii condemns these and expressly enjoins Christian philosophers to refute their arguments and establish the truth according to their ability I have ventured to attempt it in this work 4 Moreover I am aware that most of the irreligious deny the existence of God and the distinctness of the human soul from the body for no other reason than because these points as they allege have never as yet been demonstrated Now although I am by no means of their opinion but on the contrary hold that almost all the proofs which have been adduced on these questions by great men possess when rightly understood the force of demonstrations and that it is next to impossible to discover new yet there is I apprehend no more useful service to be performed in Philosophy than if some one were once for all carefully to seek out the best of these reasons and expound them so accurately and clearly that for the future it might be manifest to all that they are real demonstrations And finally since many persons were greatly desirous of this who knew that I had cultivated a certain Method of resolving all kinds of difficulties in the sciences which is not indeed new there being nothing older than truth but of which they were aware I had made successful use in other instances I judged it to be my duty to make trial of it also on the present matter 5 Now the sum of what I have been able to accomplish on the subject is contained in this Treatise Not that I here essayed to collect all the diverse reasons which might be adduced as proofs on this subject for this does not seem to be necessary unless on matters where no one proof of adequate certainty is to be had but I treated the first and chief alone in such a manner that I should venture now to propose them as demonstrations of the highest certainty and evidence And I will also add that they are such as to lead me to think that there is no way open to the mind of man by which proofs superior to them can ever be discovered for the importance of the subject and the glory of God to which all this relates constrain me to speak here somewhat more freely of myself than I have been accustomed to do Nevertheless whatever certitude and evidence I may find in these demonstrations I cannot therefore persuade myself that they are level to the comprehension of all But just as in geometry there are many of the demonstrations of Archimedes Apollonius Pappus and others which though received by all as evident even and certain because indeed they manifestly contain nothing which considered by itself it is not very easy to understand and no consequents that are inaccurately related to their antecedents are nevertheless understood by a very limited number because they are somewhat long and demand the whole attention of the reader so in the same way although I consider the demonstrations of which I here make use to be equal or even superior to the geometrical in certitude and evidence I am afraid nevertheless that they will not be adequately understood by many as well because they also are somewhat long and involved as chie y because they require the mind to be entirely free from prejudice and able with ease to detach itself from the commerce of the senses And to speak the truth the ability for metaphysical studies is less general than for those of geometry And besides there is still this difference that as in geometry all are persuaded that nothing is usually advanced of which there is not a certain demonstration those but partially versed in it err more frequently in assenting to what is false from a desire of seeming to understand it than in denying what is true In philosophy on the other hand where it is believed that all is doubtful few sincerely give themselves to the search after truth and by far the greater number seek the reputation of bold thinkers by audaciously impugning such truths as are of the greatest moment 6 Hence it is that whatever force my reasonings may possess yet because they belong to philosophy I do not expect they will have much effect on the minds of men unless you extend to them your patronage and approval But since your Faculty is held in so great esteem by all and since the name of SORBONNE is of such authority that not only in matters of faith but even also in what regards human philosophy has the judgment of no other society after the Sacred Councils received so great deference it being the universal conviction that it is impossible elsewhere to find greater perspicacity and solidity or greater wisdom and integrity in giving judgment I doubt not if you but condescend to pay so much regard to this Treatise as to be willing in the first place to correct it for mindful not only of my humanity but chie y also of my ignorance I do not affirm that it is free from errors in the second place to supply what is wanting in it to perfect what is incomplete and to give more ample illustration where it is demanded or at least to indicate these defects to myself that I may endeavour to remedy them and finally when the reasonings contained in it by which the existence of God and the distinction of the human soul from the body are established shall have been brought to such degree of perspicuity as to be esteemed exact demonstrations of which I am assured they admit if you condescend to accord them the authority of your approbation and render a public testimony of their truth and certainty I doubt not I say but that henceforward all the errors which have ever been entertained on these questions will very soon be effaced from the minds of men For truth itself will readily lead the remainder of the ingenious and the learned to subscribe to your judgment and your authority will cause the atheists who are in general sciolists rather than ingenious or learned to lay aside the spirit of contradiction and lead them perhaps to do battle in their own persons for reasonings which they find considered demonstrations by all men of genius lest they should seem not to understand them and finally the rest of mankind will readily trust to so many testimonies and there will no longer be any one who will venture to doubt either the existence of God or the real distinction of mind and body It is for you in your singular wisdom to judge of the importance of the establishment of such beliefs who are cognisant of the disorders which doubt of these truths produces But it would not here become me to commend at greater length the cause of God and of religion to you who have always proved the strongest support of the Catholic Church PREFACE TO THE READER 1 I have already slightly touched upon the questions respecting the existence of God and the nature of the human soul in the quotDiscourse on the Method of rightly conducting the Reason and seeking Truth in the Sciencesquot published in French in the year 1637 not however with the design of there treating of them fully but only as it were in passing that I might learn from the judgment of my readers in what way I should afterward handle them for these questions appeared to me to be of such moment as to be worthy of being considered more than once and the path which I follow in discussing them is so little trodden and so remote from the ordinary route that I thought it would not be expedient to illustrate it at greater length in French and in a discourse that might be read by all lest even the more feeble minds should believe that this path might be entered upon by them 2 But as in the quot Discourse on Methodquot I had requested all who might find aught meriting censure in my writings to do me the favor of pointing it out to me I may state that no objections worthy of remark have been alleged against what I then said on these questions except two to which I will here brie y reply before undertaking their more detailed discussion 3 The first objection is that though while the human mind re ects on itself it does not perceive that it is any other than a thinking thing it does not follow that its nature or essence consists only in its being a thing which thinks so that the word ONLY shall exclude all other things which might also perhaps be said to pertain to the nature of the mind To this objection I reply that it was not my intention in that place to exclude these according to the order of truth in the matter of which I did not then treat but only according to the order of thought perception so that my meaning was that I clearly apprehended nothing so far as I was conscious as belonging to my essence except that I was a thinking thing or a thing possessing in itself the faculty of thinking But I will show hereafter how from the consciousness that nothing besides thinking belongs to the essence of the mind it follows that nothing else does in truth belong to it 4 The second objection is that it does not follow from my possessing the idea of a thing more perfect than I am that the idea itself is more perfect than myself and much less that what is represented by the idea exists But I reply that in the term idea there is here something equivocal for it may be taken either materially for an act of the understanding and in this sense it cannot be said to be more perfect than I or objectively for the thing represented by that act which although it be not supposed to exist out of my understanding may nevertheless be more perfect than myself by reason of its essence But in the sequel of this treatise I will show more amply how from my possessing the idea of a thing more perfect than myself it follows that this thing really exists 5 Besides these two objections I have seen indeed two treatises of sufficient length relating to the present matter In these however my conclusions much more than my premises were impugned and that by arguments borrowed from the common places of the atheists But as arguments of this sort can make no impression on the minds of those who shall rightly understand my reasonings and as the judgments of many are so irrational and weak that they are persuaded rather by the opinions on a subject that are first presented to them however false and opposed to reason they may be than by a true and solid but subsequently received refutation of them I am unwilling here to reply to these strictures from a dread of being in the first instance obliged to state them I will only say in general that all which the atheists commonly allege in favor of the non existence of God arises continually from one or other of these two things namely either the ascription of human affections to Deity or the undue attribution to our minds of so much vigor and wisdom that we may essay to determine and comprehend both what God can and ought to do hence all that is alleged by them will occasion us no difficulty provided only we keep in remembrance that our minds must be considered finite while Deity is incomprehensible and infinite 6 Now that I have once in some measure made proof of the opinions of men regarding my work I again undertake to treat of God and the human soul and at the same time to discuss the principles of the entire First Philosophy without however expecting any commendation from the crowd for my endeavors or a wide circle of readers On the contrary I would advise none to read this work unless such as are able and willing to meditate with me in earnest to detach their minds from commerce with the senses and likewise to deliver themselves from all prejudice and individuals of this character are I well know remarkably rare But with regard to those who without caring to comprehend the order and connection of the reasonings shall study only detached clauses for the purpose of small but noisy criticism as is the custom with many I may say that such persons will not profit greatly by the reading of this treatise and although perhaps they may find opportunity for cavilling in several places they will yet hardly start any pressing objections or such as shall be deserving of reply 7 But since indeed I do not promise to satisfy others on all these subjects at first sight nor arrogate so much to myself as to believe that I have been able to forsee all that may be the source of difficulty to each ones I shall expound first of all in the Meditations those considerations by which I feel persuaded that I have arrived at a certain and evident knowledge of truth in order that I may ascertain whether the reasonings which have prevailed with myself will also be effectual in convincing others I will then reply to the objections of some men illustrious for their genius and learning to whom these Meditations were sent for criticism before they were committed to the press for these objections are so numerous and varied that I venture to anticipate that nothing at least nothing of any moment will readily occur to any mind which has not been touched upon in them Hence it is that I earnestly entreat my readers not to come to any judgment on the questions raised in the Meditations until they have taken care to read the whole of the Objections with the relative Replies SYNOPSIS OF THE SIX FOLLOWING MEDITATIONS 1 IN THE First Meditation I expound the grounds on which we may doubt in general of all things and especially of material objects so long at least as we have no other foundations for the sciences than those we have hitherto possessed Now although the utility of a doubt so general may not be manifest at first sight it is nevertheless of the greatest since it delivers us from all prejudice and affords the easiest pathway by which the mind may withdraw itself from the senses and finally makes it impossible for us to doubt wherever we afterward discover truth 2 In the Second the mind which in the exercise of the freedom peculiar to itself supposes that no object is of the existence of which it has even the slightest doubt finds that meanwhile it must itself exist And this point is likewise of the highest moment for the mind is thus enabled easily to distinguish what pertains to itself that is to the intellectual nature from what is to be referred to the body But since some perhaps will expect at this stage of our progress a statement of the reasons which establish the doctrine of the immortality of the soul I think it proper here to make such aware that it was my aim to write nothing of which I could not give exact demonstration and that I therefore felt myself obliged to adopt an order similar to that in use among the geometers viz to premise all upon which the proposition in question depends before coming to any conclusion respecting it Now the first and chief prerequisite for the knowledge of the immortality of the soul is our being able to form the clearest possible conception conceptusconcept of the soul itself and such as shall be absolutely distinct from all our notions of body and how this is to be accomplished is there shown There is required besides this the assurance that all objects which we clearly and distinctly think are true really exist in that very mode in which we think them and this could not be established previously to the Fourth Meditation Farther it is necessary for the same purpose that we possess a distinct conception of corporeal nature which is given partly in the Second and partly in the Fifth and Sixth Meditations And finally on these grounds we are necessitated to conclude that all those objects which are clearly and distinctly conceived to be diverse substances as mind and body are substances really reciprocally distinct and this inference is made in the Sixth Meditation The absolute distinction of mind and body is besides confirmed in this Second Meditation by showing that we cannot conceive body unless as divisible while on the other hand mind cannot be conceived unless as indivisible For we are not able to conceive the half of a mind as we can of any body however small so that the natures of these two substances are to be held not only as diverse but even in some measure as contraries I have not however pursued this discussion further in the present treatise as well for the reason that these considerations are sufficient to show that the destruction of the mind does not follow from the corruption of the body and thus to afford to men the hope of a future life as also because the premises from which it is competent for us to infer the immortality of the soul involve an explication of the whole principles of Physics in order to establish in the first place that generally all substances that is all things which can exist only in consequence of having been created by God are in their own nature incorruptible and can never cease to be unless God himself by refusing his concurrence to them reduce them to nothing and in the second place that body taken generally is a substance and therefore can never perish but that the human body in as far as it differs from other bodies is constituted only by a certain configuration of members and by other accidents of this sort while the human mind is not made up of accidents but is a pure substance For although all the accidents of the mind be changed although for example it think certain things will others and perceive others the mind itself does not vary with these changes while on the contrary the human body is no longer the same if a change take place in the form of any of its parts from which it follows that the body may indeed without difficulty perish but that the mind is in its own nature immortal 3 In the Third Meditation I have unfolded at sufficient length as appears to me my chief argument for the existence of God But yet since I was there desirous to avoid the use of comparisons taken from material objects that I might withdraw as far as possible the minds of my readers from the senses numerous obscurities perhaps remain which however will I trust be afterward entirely removed in the Replies to the Objections thus among other things it may be difficult to understand how the idea of a being absolutely perfect which is found in our minds possesses so much objective reality ie participates by representation in so many degrees of being and perfection that it must be held to arise from a cause absolutely perfect This is illustrated in the Replies by the comparison of a highly perfect machine the idea of which exists in the mind of some workman for as the objective ie representative perfection of this idea must have some cause viz either the science of the workman or of some other person from whom he has received the idea in the same way the idea of God which is found in us demands God himself for its cause 4 In the Fourth it is shown that all which we clearly and distinctly perceive apprehend is true and at the same time is explained wherein consists the nature of error points that require to be known as well for confirming the preceding truths as for the better understanding of those that are to follow But meanwhile it must be observed that I do not at all there treat of Sin that is of error committed in the pursuit of good and evil but of that sort alone which arises in the determination of the true and the false Nor do I refer to matters of faith or to the conduct of life but only to what regards speculative truths and such as are known by means of the natural light alone 5 In the Fifth besides the illustration of corporeal nature taken generically a new demonstration is given of the existence of God not free perhaps any more than the former from certain difficulties but of these the solution will be found in the Replies to the Objections I further show in what sense it is true that the certitude of geometrical demonstrations themselves is dependent on the knowledge of God 6 Finally in the Sixth the act of the understanding intellectio is distinguished from that of the imagination imaginatio the marks of this distinction are described the human mind is shown to be really distinct from the body and nevertheless to be so closely conjoined therewith as together to form as it were a unity The whole of the errors which arise from the senses are brought under review while the means of avoiding them are pointed out and finally all the grounds are adduced from which the existence of material objects may be inferred not however because I deemed them of great utility in establishing what they prove viz that there is in reality a world that men are possessed of bodies and the like the truth of which no one of sound mind ever seriously doubted but because from a close consideration of them it is perceived that they are neither so strong nor clear as the reasonings which conduct us to the knowledge of our mind and of God so that the latter are of all which come under human knowledge the most certain and manifest a conclusion which it was my single aim in these Meditations to establish on which account I here omit mention of the various other questions which in the course of the discussion I had occasion likewise to consider MEDITATION I OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT 1 SEVERAL years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted even from my youth many false opinions for true and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences But as this enterprise appeared to me to be one of great magnitude I waited until I had attained an age so mature as to leave me no hope that at any stage of life more advanced I should be better able to execute my design On this account I have delayed so long that I should henceforth consider I was doing wrong were I still to consume in deliberation any of the time that now remains for action Today then since I have opportunely freed my mind from all cares and am happily disturbed by no passions and since I am in the secure possession of leisure in a peaceable retirement I will at length apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions 2 But to this end it will not be necessary for me to show that the whole of these are falsea point perhaps which I shall never reach but as even now my reason convinces me that I ought not the less carefully to withhold belief from what is not entirely certain and indubitable than from what is manifestly false it will be sufficient to justify the rejection of the whole if I shall find in each some ground for doubt Nor for this purpose will it be necessary even to deal with each belief individually which would be truly an endless labor but as the removal from below of the foundation necessarily involves the downfall of the whole edifice I will at once approach the criticism of the principles on which all my former beliefs rested 3 All that I have up to this moment accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty I received either from or through the senses I observed however that these sometimes misled us and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived 4 But it may be said perhaps that although the senses occasionally mislead us respecting minute objects and such as are so far removed from us as to be beyond the reach of close observation there are yet many other of their informations presentations of the truth of which it is manifestly impossible to doubt as for example that I am in this place seated by the fire clothed in a winter dressing gown that I hold in my hands this piece of paper with other intimations of the same nature But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors as to cause them pertinaciously to assert that they are monarchs when they are in the greatest poverty or clothed in gold and purple when destitute of any covering or that their head is made of clay their body of glass or that they are gourds I should certainly be not less insane than they were I to regulate my procedure according to examples so extravagant 10 5 Though this be true I must nevertheless here consider that I am a man and that consequently I am in the habit of sleeping and representing to myself in dreams those same things or even sometimes others less probable which the insane think are presented to them in their waking moments How often have I dreamt that I was in these familiar circumstances that I was dressed and occupied this place by the fire when I was lying undressed in bed At the present moment however I certainly look upon this paper with eyes wide awake the head which I now move is not asleep I extend this hand consciously and with express purpose and I perceive it the occurrences in sleep are not so distinct as all this But I cannot forget that at other times I have been deceived in sleep by similar illusions and attentively considering those cases I perceive so clearly that there exist no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep that I feel greatly astonished and in amazement I almost persuade myself that I am now dreaming 6 Let us suppose then that we are dreaming and that all these particularsnamely the opening of the eyes the motion of the head the forth putting of the handsare merely illusions and even that we really possess neither an entire body nor hands such as we see Nevertheless it must be admitted at least that the objects which appear to us in sleep are as it were painted representations which could not have been formed unless in the likeness of realities and therefore that those general objects at all events namely eyes a head hands and an entire body are not simply imaginary but really existent For in truth painters themselves even when they study to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most fantastic and extraordinary cannot bestow upon them natures absolutely new but can only make a certain medley of the members of different animals or if they chance to imagine something so novel that nothing at all similar has ever been seen before and such as is therefore purely fictitious and absolutely false it is at least certain that the colors of which this is composed are real And on the same principle although these general objects viz a body eyes a head hands and the like be imaginary we are nevertheless absolutely necessitated to admit the reality at least of some other objects still more simple and universal than these of which just as of certain real colors all those images of things whether true and real or false and fantastic that are found in our consciousness cogitatio are formed 7 To this class of objects seem to belong corporeal nature in general and its extension the figure of extended things their quantity or magnitude and their number as also the place in and the time during which they exist and other things of the same sort 8 We will not therefore perhaps reason illegitimately if we conclude from this that Physics Astronomy Medicine and all the other sciences that have for their end the consideration of composite objects are indeed of a doubtful character but that Arithmetic Geometry and the other sciences of the same class which regard merely the simplest and most general objects and scarcely inquire whether or not these are really existent contain somewhat that is certain and indubitable for whether I am awake or dreaming it remains true that two and three make five and that a square has but four sides nor does it seem possible that truths so apparent can ever fall under a suspicion of falsity or incertitude ll 9 Nevertheless the belief that there is a God who is all powerful and who created me such as I am has for a long time obtained steady possession of my mind How then do I know that he has not arranged that there should be neither earth nor sky nor any extended thing nor figure nor magnitude nor place providing at the same time however for the rise in me of the perceptions of all these objects and the persuasion that these do not exist otherwise than as I perceive them And further as I sometimes think that others are in error respecting matters of which they believe themselves to possess a perfect knowledge how do I know that I am not also deceived each time I add together two and three or number the sides of a square or form some judgment still more simple if more simple indeed can be imagined But perhaps Deity has not been willing that I should be thus deceived for he is said to be supremely good If however it were repugnant to the goodness of Deity to have created me subject to constant deception it would seem likewise to be contrary to his goodness to allow me to be occasionally deceived and yet it is clear that this is permitted 10 Some indeed might perhaps be found who would be disposed rather to deny the existence of a Being so powerful than to believe that there is nothing certain But let us for the present refrain from opposing this opinion and grant that all which is here said of a Deity is fabulous nevertheless in whatever way it be supposed that I reach the state in which I exist whether by fate or chance or by an endless series of antecedents and consequents or by any other means it is clear since to be deceived and to err is a certain defect that the probability of my being so imperfect as to be the constant victim of deception will be increased exactly in proportion as the power possessed by the cause to which they assign my origin is lessened To these reasonings I have assuredly nothing to reply but am constrained at last to avow that there is nothing of all that I formerly believed to be true of which it is impossible to doubt and that not through thoughtlessness or levity but from cogent and maturely considered reasons so that henceforward if I desire to discover anything certain I ought not the less carefully to refrain from assenting to those same opinions than to what might be shown to be manifestly false 11 But it is not sufficient to have made these observations care must be taken likewise to keep them in remembrance For those old and customary opinions perpetually recur long and familiar usage giving them the right of occupying my mind even almost against my will and subduing my belief nor will I lose the habit of deferring to them and confiding in them so long as I shall consider them to be what in truth they are viz opinions to some extent doubtful as I have already shown but still highly probable and such as it is much more reasonable to believe than deny It is for this reason I am persuaded that I shall not be doing wrong if taking an opposite judgment of deliberate design I become my own deceiver by supposing for a time that all those opinions are entirely false and imaginary until at length having thus balanced my old by my new prejudices my judgment shall no longer be turned aside by perverted usage from the path that may conduct to the perception of truth For I am assured that meanwhile there will arise neither peril nor error from this course and that I cannot for the present yield too much to distrust since the end I now seek is not action but knowledge 12 12 I will suppose then not that Deity who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth but that some malignant demon who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful has employed all his artifice to deceive me I will suppose that the sky the air the earth colors figures sounds and all external things are nothing better than the illusions of dreams by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity I will consider myself as without hands eyes esh blood or any of the senses and as falsely believing that I am possessed of these I will continue resolutely fixed in this belief and if indeed by this means it be not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of truth I shall at least do what is in my power viz suspend my judgment and guard with settled purpose against giving my assent to what is false and being imposed upon by this deceiver whatever be his power and artifice But this undertaking is arduous and a certain indolence insensibly leads me back to my ordinary course of life and just as the captive who perchance was enjoying in his dreams an imaginary liberty when he begins to suspect that it is but a vision dreads awakening and conspires with the agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged so I of my own accord fall back into the train of my former beliefs and fear to arouse myself from my slumber lest the time of laborious wakefulness that would succeed this quiet rest in place of bringing any light of day should prove inadequate to dispel the darkness that will arise from the difficulties that have now been raised 13 MEDITATION II OF THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN MIND AND THAT IT IS MORE EASILY KNOWN THAN THE BODY l The Meditation of yesterday has filled my mind with so many doubts that it is no longer in my power to forget them Nor do I see meanwhile any principle on which they can be resolved and just as if I had fallen all of a sudden into very deep water I am so greatly disconcerted as to be unable either to plant my feet firmly on the bottom or sustain myself by swimming on the surface I will nevertheless make an effort and try anew the same path on which I had entered yesterday that is proceed by casting aside all that admits of the slightest doubt not less than if I had discovered it to be absolutely false and I will continue always in this track until I shall find something that is certain or at least if I can do nothing more until I shall know with certainty that there is nothing certain Archimedes that he might transport the entire globe from the place it occupied to another demanded only a point that was firm and immovable so also I shall be entitled to entertain the highest expectations if I am fortunate enough to discover only one thing that is certain and indubitable 2 I suppose accordingly that all the things which I see are false fictitious I believe that none of those objects which my fallacious memory represents ever existed I suppose that I possess no senses I believe that body figure extension motion and place are merely fictions of my mind What is there then that can be esteemed true Perhaps this only that there is absolutely nothing certain 3 But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now enumerated of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt Is there not a God or some being by whatever name I may designate him who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind But why suppose such a being for it may be I myself am capable of producing them Am I then at least not something But I before denied that I possessed senses or a body I hesitate however for what follows from that Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that without these I cannot exist But I had the persuasion that there was absolutely nothing in the world that there was no sky and no earth neither minds nor bodies was I not therefore at the same time persuaded that I did not exist Far from it I assuredly existed since I was persuaded But there is I know not what being who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me Doubtless then I exist since I am deceived and let him deceive me as he may he can never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I shall be conscious that I am something So that it must in fine be maintained all things being maturely and carefully considered that this proposition pronunciatum I am I exist is necessarily true each time it is expressed by me or conceived in my mind 4 But I do not yet know with sufficient clearness what I am though assured that I am and hence in the next place I must take care lest perchance I inconsiderately substitute some other object in room of what is properly myself and thus wander from truth even 14 in that knowledge cognition which I hold to be of all others the most certain and evident For this reason I will now consider anew what I formerly believed myself to be before I entered on the present train of thought and of my previous opinion I will retrench all that can in the least be invalidated by the grounds of doubt I have adduced in order that there may at length remain nothing but what is certain and indubitable 5 What then did I formerly think I was Undoubtedly I judged that I was a man But what is a man Shall I say a rational animal Assuredly not for it would be necessary forthwith to inquire into what is meant by animal and what by rational and thus from a single question I should insensibly glide into others and these more difficult than the first nor do I now possess enough of leisure to warrant me in wasting my time amid subtleties of this sort I prefer here to attend to the thoughts that sprung up of themselves in my mind and were inspired by my own nature alone when I applied myself to the consideration of what I was In the first place then I thought that I possessed a countenance hands arms and all the fabric of members that appears in a corpse and which I called by the name of body It further occurred to me that I was nourished that I walked perceived and thought and all those actions I referred to the soul but what the soul itself was I either did not stay to consider or if I did I imagined that it was something extremely rare and subtile like wind or ame or ether spread through my grosser parts As regarded the body I did not even doubt of its nature but thought I distinctly knew it and if I had wished to describe it according to the notions I then entertained I should have explained myself in this manner By body I understand all that can be terminated by a certain figure that can be comprised in a certain place and so fill a certain space as therefrom to exclude every other body that can be perceived either by touch sight hearing taste or smell that can be moved in different ways not indeed of itself but by something foreign to it by which it is touched and from which it receives the impression for the power of selfmotion as likewise that of perceiving and thinking I held as by no means pertaining to the nature of body on the contrary I was somewhat astonished to find such faculties existing in some bodies 6 But as to myself what can I now say that I am since I suppose there exists an extremely powerful and if I may so speak malignant being whose whole endeavors are directed toward deceiving me Can I affirm that I possess any one of all those attributes of which I have lately spoken as belonging to the nature of body After attentively considering them in my own mind I find none of them that can properly be said to belong to myself To recount them were idle and tedious Let us pass then to the attributes of the soul The first mentioned were the powers of nutrition and walking but if it be true that I have no body it is true likewise that I am capable neither of walking nor of being nourished Perception is another attribute of the soul but perception too is impossible without the body besides I have frequently during sleep believed that I perceived objects which I afterward observed I did not in reality perceive Thinking is another attribute of the soul and here I discover what properly belongs to myself This alone is inseparable from me I amI exist this is certain but how often As often as I think for perhaps it would even happen if I should wholly cease to think that I should at the same time altogether cease to be I now admit nothing that is not necessarily true I am therefore precisely speaking only a thinking thing that is a mind mens sive 15 animus understanding or reason terms whose signification was before unknown to me I am however a real thing and really existent but what thing The answer was a thinking thing 7 The question now arises am I aught besides I will stimulate my imagination with a view to discover whether I am not still something more than a thinking being Now it is plain I am not the assemblage of members called the human body I am not a thin and penetrating air diffused through all these members or wind or ame or vapor or breath or any of all the things I can imagine for I supposed that all these were not and without changing the supposition I find that I still feel assured of my existence But it is true perhaps that those very things which I suppose to be nonexistent because they are unknown to me are not in truth different from myself whom I know This is a point I cannot determine and do not now enter into any dispute regarding it I can only judge of things that are known to me I am conscious that I exist and I who know that I exist inquire into what I am It is however perfectly certain that the knowledge of my existence thus precisely taken is not dependent on things the existence of which is as yet unknown to me and consequently it is not dependent on any of the things I can feign in imagination Moreover the phrase itself I frame an image efffingo reminds me of my error for I should in truth frame one if I were to imagine myself to be anything since to imagine is nothing more than to contemplate the figure or image of a corporeal thing but I already know that I exist and that it is possible at the same time that all those images and in general all that relates to the nature of body are merely dreams or chimeras From this I discover that it is not more reasonable to say I will excite my imagination that I may know more distinctly what I am than to express myself as follows I am now awake and perceive something real but because my perception is not sufficiently clear I will of express purpose go to sleep that my dreams may represent to me the object of my perception with more truth and cleamess And therefore I know that nothing of all that I can embrace in imagination belongs to the knowledge which I have of myself and that there is need to recall with the utmost care the mind from this mode of thinking that it may be able to know its own nature with perfect distinctness 8 But what then am I A thinking thing it has been said But what is a thinking thing It is a thing that doubts understands conceives affirms denies wills refuses that imagines also and perceives 9 Assuredly it is not little if all these properties belong to my nature But why should they not belong to it Am I not that very being who now doubts of almost everything who for all that understands and conceives certain things who affirms one alone as true and denies the others who desires to know more of them and does not wish to be deceived who imagines many things sometimes even despite his will and is likewise percipient of many as if through the medium of the senses Is there nothing of all this as true as that I am even although I should be always dreaming and although he who gave me being employed all his ingenuity to deceive me Is there also any one of these attributes that can be properly distinguished from my thought or that can be said to be separate from myself For it is of itself so evident that it is I who doubt I who understand and I who desire that it is here unnecessary to add anything by way of rendering it more 16 clear And I am as certainly the same being who imagines for although it may be as I before supposed that nothing I imagine is true still the power of imagination does not cease really to exist in me and to form part of my thought In fine I am the same being who perceives that is who apprehends certain objects as by the organs of sense since in truth I see light hear a noise and feel heat But it will be said that these presentations are false and that I am dreaming Let it be so At all events it is certain that I seem to see light hear a noise and feel heat this cannot be false and this is what in me is properly called perceiving sentire which is nothing else than thinking 10 From this I begin to know what I am with somewhat greater cleamess and distinctness than heretofore But nevertheless it still seems to me and I cannot help believing that corporeal things whose images are formed by thought which fall under the senses and are examined by the same are known with much greater distinctness than that I know not what part of myself which is not imaginable although in truth it may seem strange to say that I know and comprehend with greater distinctness things whose existence appears to me doubtful that are unknown and do not belong to me than others of whose reality I am persuaded that are known to me and appertain to my proper nature in a word than myself But I see clearly what is the state of the case My mind is apt to wander and will not yet submit to be restrained within the limits of truth Let us therefore leave the mind to itself once more and according to it every kind of liberty permit it to consider the objects that appear to it from without in order that having afterward withdrawn it from these gently and opportunely and fixed it on the consideration of its being and the properties it finds in itself it may then be the more easily controlled 11 Let us now accordingly consider the objects that are commonly thought to be the most easily and likewise the most distinctly known viz the bodies we touch and see not indeed bodies in general for these general notions are usually somewhat more confused but one body in particular Take for example this piece of wax it is quite fresh having been but recently taken from the beehive it has not yet lost the sweetness of the honey it contained it still retains somewhat of the odor of the owers from which it was gathered its color figure size are apparent to the sight it is hard cold easily handled and sounds when struck upon with the finger In fine all that contributes to make a body as distinctly known as possible is found in the one before us But while I am speaking let it be placed near the firewhat remained of the taste exhales the smell evaporates the color changes its figure is destroyed its size increases it becomes liquid it grows hot it can hardly be handled and although struck upon it emits no sound Does the same wax still remain after this change It must be admitted that it does remain no one doubts it or judges otherwise What then was it I knew with so much distinctness in the piece of wax Assuredly it could be nothing of all that I observed by means of the senses since all the things that fell under taste smell sight touch and hearing are changed and yet the same wax remains 12 It was perhaps what I now think viz that this wax was neither the sweetness of honey the pleasant odor of owers the whiteness the figure nor the sound but only a body that a little before appeared to me conspicuous under these forms and which is now perceived under others But to speak precisely what is it that I imagine when I think of it in this 17 way Let it be attentively considered and retrenching all that does not belong to the wax let us see what remains There certainly remains nothing except something extended exible and movable But what is meant by exible and movable Is it not that I imagine that the piece of wax being round is capable of becoming square or of passing from a square into a triangular figure Assuredly such is not the case because I conceive that it admits of an infinity of similar changes and I am moreover unable to compass this infinity by imagination and consequently this conception which I have of the wax is not the product of the faculty of imagination But what now is this extension Is it not also unknown for it becomes greater when the wax is melted greater when it is boiled and greater still when the heat increases and I should not conceive clearly and according to truth the wax as it is if I did not suppose that the piece we are considering admitted even of a wider variety of extension than I ever imagined I must therefore admit that I cannot even comprehend by imagination what the piece of wax is and that it is the mind alone mens Lat entendement F which perceives it I speak of one piece in particular for as to wax in general this is still more evident But what is the piece of wax that can be perceived only by the understanding or mind It is certainly the same which I see touch imagine and in fine it is the same which from the beginning I believed it to be But and this it is of moment to observe the perception of it is neither an act of sight of touch nor of imagination and never was either of these though it might formerly seem so but is simply an intuition inspectio of the mind which may be imperfect and confused as it formerly was or very clear and distinct as it is at present according as the attention is more or less directed to the elements which it contains and of which it is composed 13 But meanwhile I feel greatly astonished when I observe the weakness of my mind and its proneness to error For although without at all giving expression to what I think I consider all this in my own mind words yet occasionally impede my progress and I am almost led into error by the terms of ordinary language We say for example that we see the same wax when it is before us and not that we judge it to be the same from its retaining the same color and figure whence I should forthwith be disposed to conclude that the wax is known by the act of sight and not by the intuition of the mind alone were it not for the analogous instance of human beings passing on in the street below as observed from a window In this case I do not fail to say that I see the men themselves just as I say that I see the wax and yet what do I see from the window beyond hats and cloaks that might cover artificial machines whose motions might be determined by springs But I judge that there are human beings from these appearances and thus I comprehend by the faculty of judgment alone which is in the mind what I believed I saw with my eyes 14 The man who makes it his aim to rise to knowledge superior to the common ought to be ashamed to seek occasions of doubting from the vulgar forms of speech instead therefore of doing this I shall proceed with the matter in hand and inquire whether I had a clearer and more perfect perception of the piece of wax when I first saw it and when I thought I knew it by means of the external sense itself or at all events by the common sense sensus communis as it is called that is by the imaginative faculty or whether I rather apprehend it more clearly at present after having examined with greater care both what it is and in what way it can be known It would certainly be ridiculous to entertain 18 any doubt on this point For what in that first perception was there distinct What did I perceive which any animal might not have perceived But when I distinguish the wax from its exterior forms and when as if I had stripped it of its vestments I consider it quite naked it is certain although some error may still be found in my judgment that I cannot nevertheless thus apprehend it without possessing a human mind 15 But finally what shall I say of the mind itself that is of myself For as yet I do not admit that I am anything but mind What then I who seem to possess so distinct an apprehension of the piece of wax do I not know myself both with greater truth and certitude and also much more distinctly and clearly For if I judge that the wax exists because I see it it assuredly follows much more evidently that I myself am or exist for the same reason for it is possible that what I see may not in truth be wax and that I do not even possess eyes with which to see anything but it cannot be that when I see or which comes to the same thing when I think I see I myself who think am nothing So likewise if I judge that the wax exists because I touch it it will still also follow that I am and if I determine that my imagination or any other cause whatever it be persuades me of the existence of the wax I will still draw the same conclusion And what is here remarked of the piece of wax is applicable to all the other things that are external to me And further if the notion or perception of wax appeared to me more precise and distinct after that not only sight and touch but many other causes besides rendered it manifest to my apprehension with how much greater distinctness must I now know myself since all the reasons that contribute to the knowledge of the nature of wax or of any body whatever manifest still better the nature of my mind And there are besides so many other things in the mind itself that contribute to the illustration of its nature that those dependent on the body to which I have here referred scarcely merit to be taken into account 16 But in conclusion I find I have insensibly reverted to the point I desired for since it is now manifest to me that bodies themselves are not properly perceived by the senses nor by the faculty of imagination but by the intellect alone and since they are not perceived because they are seen and touched but only because they are understood or rightly comprehended by thought I readily discover that there is nothing more easily or clearly apprehended than my own mind But because it is difficult to rid one39s self so promptly of an opinion to which one has been long accustomed it will be desirable to tarry for some time at this stage that by long continued meditation I may more deeply impress upon my memory this new knowledge 19 MEDITATION III OF GOD THAT HE EXISTS 1 I WILL now close my eyes I will stop my ears I will turn away my senses from their objects I will even efface from my consciousness all the images of corporeal things or at least because this can hardly be accomplished I will consider them as empty and false and thus holding converse only with myself and closely examining my nature I will endeavor to obtain by degrees a more intimate and familiar knowledge of myself I am a thinking conscious thing that is a being who doubts affirms denies knows a few objects and is ignorant of many who loves hates wills refuses who imagines likewise and perceives for as I before remarked although the things which I perceive or imagine are perhaps nothing at all apart from me and in themselves I am nevertheless assured that those modes of consciousness which I call perceptions and imaginations in as far only as they are modes of consciousness exist in me 2 And in the little I have said I think I have summed up all that I really know or at least all that up to this time I was aware I knew Now as I am endeavoring to extend my knowledge more widely I will use circumspection and consider with care whether I can still discover in myself anything further which I have not yet hitherto observed I am certain that I am a thinking thing but do I not therefore likewise know what is required to render me certain of a truth In this first knowledge doubtless there is nothing that gives me assurance of its truth except the clear and distinct perception of what I affirm which would not indeed be sufficient to give me the assurance that what I say is true if it could ever happen that anything I thus clearly and distinctly perceived should prove false and accordingly it seems to me that I may now take as a general rule that all that is very clearly and distinctly apprehended conceived is true 3 Nevertheless I before received and admitted many things as wholly certain and manifest which yet I afterward found to be doubtful What then were those They were the earth the sky the stars and all the other objects which I was in the habit of perceiving by the senses But what was it that I clearly and distinctly perceived in them Nothing more than that the ideas and the thoughts of those objects were presented to my mind And even now I do not deny that these ideas are found in my mind But there was yet another thing which I affirmed and which from having been accustomed to believe it I thought I clearly perceived although in truth I did not perceive it at all I mean the existence of objects external to me from which those ideas proceeded and to which they had a perfect resemblance and it was here I was mistaken or if I judged correctly this assuredly was not to be traced to any knowledge I possessed the force of my perception Lat 4 But when I considered any matter in arithmetic and geometry that was very simple and easy as for example that two and three added together make five and things of this sort did I not view them with at least sufficient clearness to warrant me in affirming their truth Indeed if I afterward judged that we ought to doubt of these things it was for no other reason than because it occurred to me that a God might perhaps have given me such 20 a nature as that I should be deceived even respecting the matters that appeared to me the most evidently true But as often as this preconceived opinion of the sovereign power of a God presents itself to my mind I am constrained to admit that it is easy for him if he wishes it to cause me to err even in matters where I think I possess the highest evidence and on the other hand as often as I direct my attention to things which I think I apprehend with great cleamess I am so persuaded of their truth that I naturally break out into expressions such as these Deceive me who may no one will yet ever be able to bring it about that I am not so long as I shall be conscious that I am or at any future time cause it to be true that I have never been it being now true that I am or make two and three more or less than five in supposing which and other like absurdities I discover a manifest contradiction And in truth as I have no ground for believing that Deity is deceitful and as indeed I have not even considered the reasons by which the existence of a Deity of any kind is established the ground of doubt that rests only on this supposition is very slight and so to speak metaphysical But that I may be able wholly to remove it I must inquire whether there is a God as soon as an opportunity of doing so shall present itself and if I find that there is a God I must examine likewise whether he can be a deceiver for without the knowledge of these two truths I do not see that I can ever be certain of anything And that I may be enabled to examine this without interrupting the order of meditation I have proposed to myself which is to pass by degrees from the notions that I shall find first in my mind to those I shall afterward discover in it it is necessary at this stage to divide all my thoughts into certain classes and to consider in which of these classes truth and error are strictly speaking to be found 5 Of my thoughts some are as it were images of things and to these alone properly belongs the name IDEA as when I think represent to my mind a man a chimera the sky an angel or God Others again have certain other forms as when I will fear affirm or deny I always indeed apprehend something as the object of my thought but I also embrace in thought something more than the representation of the object and of this class of thoughts some are called volitions or affections and others judgments 6 Now with respect to ideas if these are considered only in themselves and are not referred to any object beyond them they cannot properly speaking be false for whether I imagine a goat or chimera it is not less true that I imagine the one than the other Nor need we fear that falsity may exist in the will or affections for although I may desire objects that are wrong and even that never existed it is still true that I desire them There thus only remain our judgments in which we must take diligent heed that we be not deceived But the chief and most ordinary error that arises in them consists in judging that the ideas which are in us are like or conformed to the things that are external to us for assuredly if we but considered the ideas themselves as certain modes of our thought consciousness without referring them to anything beyond they would hardly afford any occasion of error 7 But among these ideas some appear to me to be innate others adventitious and others to be made by myself factitious for as I have the power of conceiving what is called a thing or a truth or a thought it seems to me that I hold this power from no other source than my own nature but if I now hear a noise if I see the sun or if I feel heat I have all 21 along judged that these sensations proceeded from certain objects existing out of myself and in fine it appears to me that sirens hippogryphs and the like are inventions of my own mind But I may even perhaps come to be of opinion that all my ideas are of the class which I call adventitious or that they are all innate or that they are all factitious for I have not yet clearly discovered their true origin 8 What I have here principally to do is to consider with reference to those that appear to come from certain objects without me what grounds there are for thinking them like these objects The first of these grounds is that it seems to me I am so taught by nature and the second that I am conscious that those ideas are not dependent on my will and therefore not on myself for they are frequently presented to me against my will as at present whether I will or not I feel heat and I am thus persuaded that this sensation or idea sensum vel ideam of heat is produced in me by something different from myself viz by the heat of the fire by which I sit And it is very reasonable to suppose that this object impresses me with its own likeness rather than any other thing 9 But I must consider whether these reasons are sufficiently strong and convincing When I speak of being taught by nature in this matter I understand by the word nature only a certain spontaneous impetus that impels me to believe in a resemblance between ideas and their objects and not a natural light that affords a knowledge of its truth But these two things are widely different for what the natural light shows to be true can be in no degree doubtful as for example that I am because I doubt and other truths of the like kind inasmuch as I possess no other faculty whereby to distinguish truth from error which can teach me the falsity of what the natural light declares to be true and which is equally trustworthy but with respect to seemingly natural impulses I have observed when the question related to the choice of right or wrong in action that they frequently led me to take the worse part nor do I see that I have any better ground for following them in what relates to truth and error 10 Then with respect to the other reason which is that because these ideas do not depend on my will they must arise from objects existing without me I do not find it more convincing than the former for just as those natural impulses of which I have lately spoken are found in me notwithstanding that they are not always in harmony with my will so likewise it may be that I possess some power not sufficiently known to myself capable of producing ideas without the aid of external objects and indeed it has always hitherto appeared to me that they are formed during sleep by some power of this nature without the aid of aught external 11 And in fine although I should grant that they proceeded from those objects it is not a necessary consequence that they must be like them On the contrary I have observed in a number of instances that there was a great difference between the object and its idea Thus for example I find in my mind two wholly diverse ideas of the sun the one by which it appears to me extremely small draws its origin from the senses and should be placed in the class of adventitious ideas the other by which it seems to be many times larger than the whole earth is taken up on astronomical grounds that is elicited from certain notions born with me or is framed by myself in some other manner These two 22 ideas cannot certainly both resemble the same sun and reason teaches me that the one which seems to have immediately emanated from it is the most unlike 12 And these things sufficiently prove that hitherto it has not been from a certain and deliberate judgment but only from a sort of blind impulse that I believed existence of certain things different from myself which by the organs of sense or by whatever other means it might be conveyed their ideas or images into my mind and impressed it with their likenesses 13 But there is still another way of inquiring whether of the objects whose ideas are in my mind there are any that exist out of me If ideas are taken in so far only as they are certain modes of consciousness I do not remark any difference or inequality among them and all seem in the same manner to proceed from myself but considering them as images of which one represents one thing and another a different it is evident that a great diversity obtains among them For without doubt those that represent substances are something more and contain in themselves so to speak more objective reality that is participate by representation in higher degrees of being or perfection than those that represent only modes or accidents and again the idea by which I conceive a God sovereign eternal infinite immutable allknowing allpowerful and the creator of all things that are out of himself this I say has certainly in it more objective reality than those ideas by which finite substances are represented 14 Now it is manifest by the natural light that there must at least be as much reality in the efficient and total cause as in its effect for whence can the effect draw its reality if not from its cause And how could the cause communicate to it this reality unless it possessed it in itself And hence it follows not only that what is cannot be produced by what is not but likewise that the more perfect in other words that which contains in itself more reality cannot be the effect of the less perfect and this is not only evidently true of those effects whose reality is actual or formal but likewise of ideas whose reality is only considered as objective Thus for example the stone that is not yet in existence not only cannot now commence to be unless it be produced by that which possesses in itself formally or eminently all that enters into its composition in other words by that which contains in itself the same properties that are in the stone or others superior to them and heat can only be produced in a subject that was before devoid of it by a cause that is of an order degree or kind at least as perfect as heat and so of the others But further even the idea of the heat or of the stone cannot exist in me unless it be put there by a cause that contains at least as much reality as I conceive existent in the heat or in the stone for although that cause may not transmit into my idea anything of its actual or formal reality we ought not on this account to imagine that it is less real but we ought to consider that as every idea is a work of the mind its nature is such as of itself to demand no other formal reality than that which it borrows from our consciousness of which it is but a mode that is a manner or way of thinking But in order that an idea may contain this objective reality rather than that it must doubtless derive it from some cause in which is found at least as much formal reality as the idea contains of objective for if we suppose that there is found in an idea anything which was not in its cause it must of course derive this from nothing But however imperfect may be the mode of existence by 23 which a thing is objectively or by representation in the understanding by its idea we certainly cannot for all that allege that this mode of existence is nothing nor consequently that the idea owes its origin to nothing 15 Nor must it be imagined that since the reality which considered in these ideas is only objective the same reality need not be formally actually in the causes of these ideas but only objectively for just as the mode of existing objectively belongs to ideas by their peculiar nature so likewise the mode of existing formally appertains to the causes of these ideas at least to the first and principal by their peculiar nature And although an idea may give rise to another idea this regress cannot nevertheless be infinite we must in the end reach a first idea the cause of which is as it were the archetype in which all the reality or perfection that is found objectively or by representation in these ideas is contained formally and in act I am thus clearly taught by the natural light that ideas exist in me as pictures or images which may in truth readily fall short of the perfection of the objects from which they are taken but can never contain anything greater or more perfect 16 And in proportion to the time and care with which I examine all those matters the conviction of their truth brightens and becomes distinct But to sum up what conclusion shall I draw from it all It is this if the objective reality or perfection of any one of my ideas be such as clearly to convince me that this same reality exists in me neither formally nor eminently and if as follows from this I myself cannot be the cause of it it is a necessary consequence that I am not alone in the world but that there is besides myself some other being who exists as the cause of that idea while on the contrary if no such idea be found in my mind I shall have no sufficient ground of assurance of the existence of any other being besides myself for after a most careful search I have up to this moment been unable to discover any other ground 17 But among these my ideas besides that which represents myself respecting which there can be here no difficulty there is one that represents a God others that represent corporeal and inanimate things others angels others animals and finally there are some that represent men like myself 18 But with respect to the ideas that represent other men or animals or angels I can easily suppose that they were formed by the mingling and composition of the other ideas which I have of myself of corporeal things and of God although they were apart from myself neither men animals nor angels 19 And with regard to the ideas of corporeal objects I never discovered in them anything so great or excellent which I myself did not appear capable of originating for by considering these ideas closely and scrutinizing them individually in the same way that I yesterday examined the idea of wax I find that there is but little in them that is clearly and distinctly perceived As belonging to the class of things that are clearly apprehended I recognize the following viz magnitude or extension in length breadth and depth figure which results from the termination of extension situation which bodies of diverse figures preserve with reference to each other and motion or the change of situation to which may be added substance duration and number But with regard to light colors 24 sounds odors tastes heat cold and the other tactile qualities they are thought with so much obscurity and confusion that I cannot determine even whether they are true or false in other words whether or not the ideas I have of these qualities are in truth the ideas of real objects For although I before remarked that it is only in judgments that formal falsity or falsity properly so called can be met with there may nevertheless be found in ideas a certain material falsity which arises when they represent what is nothing as if it were something Thus for example the ideas I have of cold and heat are so far from being clear and distinct that I am unable from them to discover whether cold is only the privation of heat or heat the privation of cold or whether they are or are not real qualities and since ideas being as it were images there can be none that does not seem to us to represent some object the idea which represents cold as something real and positive will not improperly be called false if it be correct to say that cold is nothing but a privation of heat and so in other cases 20 To ideas of this kind indeed it is not necessary that I should assign any author besides myself for if they are false that is represent objects that are unreal the natural light teaches me that they proceed from nothing in other words that they are in me only because something is wanting to the perfection of my nature but if these ideas are true yet because they exhibit to me so little reality that I cannot even distinguish the object represented from nonbeing I do not see why I should not be the author of them 21 With reference to those ideas of corporeal things that are clear and distinct there are some which as appears to me might have been taken from the idea I have of myself as those of substance duration number and the like For when I think that a stone is a substance or a thing capable of existing of itself and that I am likewise a substance although I conceive that I am a thinking and nonextended thing and that the stone on the contrary is extended and unconscious there being thus the greatest diversity between the two concepts yet these two ideas seem to have this in common that they both represent substances In the same way when I think of myself as now existing and recollect besides that I existed some time ago and when I am conscious of various thoughts whose number I know I then acquire the ideas of duration and number which I can afterward transfer to as many objects as I please With respect to the other qualities that go to make up the ideas of corporeal objects viz extension figure situation and motion it is true that they are not formally in me since I am merely a thinking being but because they are only certain modes of substance and because I myself am a substance it seems possible that they may be contained in me eminently 22 There only remains therefore the idea of God in which I must consider whether there is anything that cannot be supposed to originate with myself By the name God I understand a substance infinite eternal immutable independent allknowing all powerful and by which I myself and every other thing that exists if any such there be were created But these properties are so great and excellent that the more attentively I consider them the less I feel persuaded that the idea I have of them owes its origin to myself alone And thus it is absolutely necessary to conclude from all that I have before said that God exists 25 23 For though the idea of substance be in my mind owing to this that I myself am a substance I should not however have the idea of an infinite substance seeing I am a finite being unless it were given me by some substance in reality infinite 24 And I must not imagine that I do not apprehend the infinite by a true idea but only by the negation of the finite in the same way that I comprehend repose and darkness by the negation of motion and light since on the contrary I clearly perceive that there is more reality in the infinite substance than in the finite and therefore that in some way I possess the perception notion of the infinite before that of the finite that is the perception of God before that of myself for how could I know that I doubt desire or that something is wanting to me and that I am not wholly perfect if I possessed no idea of a being more perfect than myself by comparison of which I knew the deficiencies of my nature 25 And it cannot be said that this idea of God is perhaps materially false and consequently that it may have arisen from nothing in other words that it may exist in me from my imperfections as I before said of the ideas of heat and cold and the like for on the contrary as this idea is very clear and distinct and contains in itself more objective reality than any other there can be no one of itself more true or less open to the suspicion of falsity The idea I say of a being supremely perfect and infinite is in the highest degree true for although perhaps we may imagine that such a being does not exist we cannot nevertheless suppose that his idea represents nothing real as I have already said of the idea of cold It is likewise clear and distinct in the highest degree since whatever the mind clearly and distinctly conceives as real or true and as implying any perfection is contained entire in this idea And this is true nevertheless although I do not comprehend the infinite and although there may be in God an infinity of things that I cannot comprehend nor perhaps even compass by thought in any way for it is of the nature of the infinite that it should not be comprehended by the finite and it is enough that I rightly understand this and judge that all which I clearly perceive and in which I know there is some perfection and perhaps also an infinity of properties of which I am ignorant are formally or eminently in God in order that the idea I have of him may be come the most true clear and distinct of all the ideas in my mind 26 But perhaps I am something more than I suppose myself to be and it may be that all those perfections which I attribute to God in some way exist potentially in me although they do not yet show themselves and are not reduced to act Indeed I am already conscious that my knowledge is being increased and perfected by degrees and I see nothing to prevent it from thus gradually increasing to infinity nor any reason why after such increase and perfection I should not be able thereby to acquire all the other perfections of the Divine nature nor in fine why the power I possess of acquiring those perfections if it really now exist in me should not be sufficient to produce the ideas of them 27 Yet on looking more closely into the matter I discover that this cannot be for in the first place although it were true that my knowledge daily acquired new degrees of perfection and although there were potentially in my nature much that was not as yet actually in it still all these excellences make not the slightest approach to the idea I have 26 of the Deity in whom there is no perfection merely potentially but all actually existent for it is even an unmistakable token of imperfection in my knowledge that it is augmented by degrees Further although my knowledge increase more and more nevertheless I am not therefore induced to think that it will ever be actually infinite since it can never reach that point beyond which it shall be incapable of further increase But I conceive God as actually infinite so that nothing can be added to his perfection And in fine I readily perceive that the objective being of an idea cannot be produced by a being that is merely potentially existent which properly speaking is nothing but only by a being existing formally or actually 28 And truly I see nothing in all that I have now said which it is not easy for any one who shall carefully consider it to discern by the natural light but when I allow my attention in some degree to relax the vision of my mind being obscured and as it were blinded by the images of sensible objects I do not readily remember the reason why the idea of a being more perfect than myself must of necessity have proceeded from a being in reality more perfect On this account I am here desirous to inquire further whether I who possess this idea of God could exist supposing there were no God 29 And I ask from whom could I in that case derive my existence Perhaps from myself or from my parents or from some other causes less perfect than God for anything more perfect or even equal to God cannot be thought or imagined 30 But if I were independent of every other existence and were myself the author of my being I should doubt of nothing I should desire nothing and in fine no perfection would be awanting to me for I should have bestowed upon myself every perfection of which I possess the idea and I should thus be God And it must not be imagined that what is now wanting to me is perhaps of more difficult acquisition than that of which I am already possessed for on the contrary it is quite manifest that it was a matter of much higher difficulty that I a thinking being should arise from nothing than it would be for me to acquire the knowledge of many things of which I am ignorant and which are merely the accidents of a thinking substance and certainly if I possessed of myself the greater perfection of which I have now spoken in other words if I were the author of my own existence I would not at least have denied to myself things that may be more easily obtained as that infinite variety of knowledge of which I am at present destitute I could not indeed have denied to myself any property which I perceive is contained in the idea of God because there is none of these that seems to me to be more difficult to make or acquire and if there were any that should happen to be more difficult to acquire they would certainly appear so to me supposing that I myself were the source of the other things I possess because I should discover in them a limit to my power 31 And though I were to suppose that I always was as I now am I should not on this ground escape the force of these reasonings since it would not follow even on this supposition that no author of my existence needed to be sought after For the whole time of my life may be divided into an infinity of parts each of which is in no way dependent on any other and accordingly because I was in existence a short time ago it does not follow that I must now exist unless in this moment some cause create me anew as it were 27 that is conserve me In truth it is perfectly clear and evident to all who will attentively consider the nature of duration that the conservation of a substance in each moment of its duration requires the same power and act that would be necessary to create it supposing it were not yet in existence so that it is manifestly a dictate of the natural light that conservation and creation differ merely in respect of our mode of thinking and not in reality 32 All that is here required therefore is that I interrogate myself to discover whether I possess any power by means of which I can bring it about that I who now am shall exist a moment afterward for since I am merely a thinking thing or since at least the precise question in the meantime is only of that part of myself if such a power resided in me I should without doubt be conscious of it but I am conscious of no such power and thereby I manifestly know that I am dependent upon some being different from myself 33 But perhaps the being upon whom I am dependent is not God and I have been produced either by my parents or by some causes less perfect than Deity This cannot be for as I before said it is perfectly evident that there must at least be as much reality in the cause as in its effect and accordingly since I am a thinking thing and possess in myself an idea of God whatever in the end be the cause of my existence it must of necessity be admitted that it is likewise a thinking being and that it possesses in itself the idea and all the perfections I attribute to Deity Then it may again be inquired whether this cause owes its origin and existence to itself or to some other cause For if it be self existent it follows from what I have before laid down that this cause is God for since it possesses the perfection of selfexistence it must likewise without doubt have the power of actually possessing every perfection of which it has the ideain other words all the perfections I conceive to belong to God But if it owe its existence to another cause than itself we demand again for a similar reason whether this second cause exists of itself or through some other until from stage to stage we at length arrive at an ultimate cause which will be God 34 And it is quite manifest that in this matter there can be no infinite regress of causes seeing that the question raised respects not so much the cause which once produced me as that by which I am at this present moment conserved 35 Nor can it be supposed that several causes concurred in my production and that from one I received the idea of one of the perfections I attribute to Deity and from another the idea of some other and thus that all those perfections are indeed found somewhere in the universe but do not all exist together in a single being who is God for on the contrary the unity the simplicity or inseparability of all the properties of Deity is one of the chief perfections I conceive him to possess and the idea of this unity of all the perfections of Deity could certainly not be put into my mind by any cause from which I did not likewise receive the ideas of all the other perfections for no power could enable me to embrace them in an inseparable unity without at the same time giving me the knowledge of what they were and of their existence in a particular mode 28 36 Finally with regard to my parents from whom it appears I sprung although all that I believed respecting them be true it does not nevertheless follow that I am conserved by them or even that I was produced by them in so far as I am a thinking being All that at the most they contributed to my origin was the giving of certain dispositions modifications to the matter in which I have hitherto judged that I or my mind which is what alone I now consider to be myself is inclosed and thus there can here be no difficulty with respect to them and it is absolutely necessary to conclude from this alone that I am and possess the idea of a being absolutely perfect that is of God that his existence is most clearly demonstrated 37 There remains only the inquiry as to the way in which I received this idea from God for I have not drawn it from the senses nor is it even presented to me unexpectedly as is usual with the ideas of sensible objects when these are presented or appear to be presented to the external organs of the senses it is not even a pure production or fiction of my mind for it is not in my power to take from or add to it and consequently there but remains the alternative that it is innate in the same way as is the idea of myself 38 And in truth it is not to be wondered at that God at my creation implanted this idea in me that it might serve as it were for the mark of the workman impressed on his work and it is not also necessary that the mark should be something different from the work itself but considering only that God is my creator it is highly probable that he in some way fashioned me after his own image and likeness and that I perceive this likeness in which is contained the idea of God by the same faculty by which I apprehend myself in other words when I make myself the object of re ection I not only find that I am an incomplete imperfect and dependent being and one who unceasingly aspires after something better and greater than he is but at the same time I am assured likewise that he upon whom I am dependent possesses in himself all the goods after which I aspire and the ideas of which I find in my mind and that not merely indefinitely and potentially but infinitely and actually and that he is thus God And the whole force of the argument of which I have here availed myself to establish the existence of God consists in this that I perceive I could not possibly be of such a nature as I am and yet have in my mind the idea of a God if God did not in reality existthis same God I say whose idea is in my mindthat is a being who possesses all those lofty perfections of which the mind may have some slight conception without however being able fully to comprehend them and who is wholly superior to all defect and has nothing that marks imperfection whence it is sufficiently manifest that he cannot be a deceiver since it is a dictate of the natural light that all fraud and deception spring from some defect 39 But before I examine this with more attention and pass on to the consideration of other truths that may be evolved out of it I think it proper to remain here for some time in the contemplation of God himselfthat I may ponder at leisure his marvelous attributes and behold admire and adore the beauty of this light so unspeakably great as far at least as the strength of my mind which is to some degree dazzled by the sight will permit For just as we learn by faith that the supreme felicity of another life consists in the contemplation of the Divine majesty alone so even now we learn from experience that a 29 like meditation though incomparany less perfect is the source of the highest satisfaction of Which we are susceptible in this life 30 MEDITATION IV OF TRUTH AND ERROR 1 I HAVE been habituated these bygone days to detach my mind from the senses and I have accurately observed that there is exceedingly little which is known with certainty respecting corporeal objects that we know much more of the human mind and still more of God himself I am thus able now without difficulty to abstract my mind from the contemplation of sensible or imaginable objects and apply it to those which as disengaged from all matter are purely intelligible And certainly the idea I have of the human mind in so far as it is a thinking thing and not extended in length breadth and depth and participating in none of the properties of body is incomparably more distinct than the idea of any corporeal object and when I consider that I doubt in other words that I am an incomplete and dependent being the idea of a complete and independent being that is to say of God occurs to my mind with so much clearness and distinctness and from the fact alone that this idea is found in me or that I who possess it exist the conclusions that God exists and that my own existence each moment of its continuance is absolutely dependent upon him are so manifest as to lead me to believe it impossible that the human mind can know anything with more clearness and certitude And now I seem to discover a path that will conduct us from the contemplation of the true God in whom are contained all the treasures of science and wisdom to the knowledge of the other things in the universe 2 For in the first place I discover that it is impossible for him ever to deceive me for in all fraud and deceit there is a certain imperfection and although it may seem that the ability to deceive is a mark of subtlety or power yet the will testifies without doubt of malice and weakness and such accordingly cannot be found in God 3 In the next place I am conscious that I possess a certain faculty of judging or discerning truth from error which I doubtless received from God along with whatever else is mine and since it is impossible that he should will to deceive me it is likewise certain that he has not given me a faculty that will ever lead me into error provided I use it aright 4 And there would remain no doubt on this head did it not seem to follow from this that I can never therefore be deceived for if all I possess be from God and if he planted in me no faculty that is deceitful it seems to follow that I can never fall into error Accordingly it is true that when I think only of God when I look upon myself as coming from God Fr and turn wholly to him I discover in myself no cause of error or falsity but immediately thereafter recurring to myself experience assures me that I am nevertheless subject to innumerable errors When I come to inquire into the cause of these I observe that there is not only present to my consciousness a real and positive idea of God or of a being supremely perfect but also so to speak a certain negative idea of nothing in other words of that which is at an infinite distance from every sort of perfection and that I am as it were a mean between God and nothing or placed in such a way between absolute existence and nonexistence that there is in truth nothing in me to lead me into error in 31 so far as an absolute being is my creator but that on the other hand as I thus likewise participate in some degree of nothing or of nonbeing in other words as I am not myself the supreme Being and as I am wanting in many perfections it is not surprising I should fall into error And I hence discern that error so far as error is not something real which depends for its existence on God but is simply defect and therefore that in order to fall into it it is not necessary God should have given me a faculty expressly for this end but that my being deceived arises from the circumstance that the power which God has given me of discerning truth from error is not infinite 5 Nevertheless this is not yet quite satisfactory for error is not a pure negation in other words it is not the simple deficiency or want of some knowledge which is not due but the privation or want of some knowledge which it would seem I ought to possess But on considering the nature of God it seems impossible that he should have planted in his creature any faculty not perfect in its kind that is wanting in some perfection due to it for if it be true that in proportion to the skill of the maker the perfection of his work is greater what thing can have been produced by the supreme Creator of the universe that is not absolutely perfect in all its parts And assuredly there is no doubt that God could have created me such as that I should never be deceived it is certain likewise that he always wills what is best is it better then that I should be capable of being deceived than that I should not 6 Considering this more attentively the first thing that occurs to me is the re ection that I must not be surprised if I am not always capable of comprehending the reasons why God acts as he does nor must I doubt of his existence because I find perhaps that there are several other things besides the present respecting which I understand neither why nor how they were created by him for knowing already that my nature is extremely weak and limited and that the nature of God on the other hand is immense incomprehensible and infinite I have no longer any difficulty in discerning that there is an infinity of things in his power whose causes transcend the grasp of my mind and this consideration alone is sufficient to convince me that the whole class of final causes is of no avail in physical or natural things for it appears to me that I cannot without exposing myself to the charge of temerity seek to discover the impenetrable ends of Deity 7 It further occurs to me that we must not consider only one creature apart from the others if we wish to determine the perfection of the works of Deity but generally all his creatures together for the same object that might perhaps with some show of reason be deemed highly imperfect if it were alone in the world may for all that be the most perfect possible considered as forming part of the whole universe and although as it was my purpose to doubt of everything I only as yet know with certainty my own existence and that of God nevertheless after having remarked the infinite power of Deity I cannot deny that we may have produced many other objects or at least that he is able to produce them so that I may occupy a place in the relation of a part to the great whole of his creatures 8 Whereupon regarding myself more closely and considering what my errors are which alone testify to the existence of imperfection in me I observe that these depend 32 on the concurrence of two causes viz the faculty of cognition which I possess and that of election or the power of free choicein other words the understanding and the will For by the understanding alone I neither affirm nor deny anything but merely apprehend percipio the ideas regarding which I may form a judgment nor is any error properly so called found in it thus accurately taken And although there are perhaps innumerable objects in the world of which I have no idea in my understanding it cannot on that account be said that I am deprived of those ideas as of something that is due to my nature but simply that I do not possess them because in truth there is no ground to prove that Deity ought to have endowed me with a larger faculty of cognition than he has actually bestowed upon me and however skillful a workman I suppose him to be I have no reason on that account to think that it was obligatory on him to give to each of his works all the perfections he is able to bestow upon some Nor moreover can I complain that God has not given me freedom of choice or a will sufficiently ample and perfect since in truth I am conscious of will so ample and extended as to be superior to all limits And what appears to me here to be highly remarkable is that of all the other properties I possess there is none so great and perfect as that I do not clearly discern it could be still greater and more perfect For to take an example if I consider the faculty of understanding which I possess I find that it is of very small extent and greatly limited and at the same time I form the idea of another faculty of the same nature much more ample and even infinite and seeing that I can frame the idea of it I discover from this circumstance alone that it pertains to the nature of God In the same way if I examine the faculty of memory or imagination or any other faculty I possess I find none that is not small and circumscribed and in God immense and infinite It is the faculty of will only or freedom of choice which I experience to be so great that I am unable to conceive the idea of another that shall be more ample and extended so that it is chie y my will which leads me to discern that I bear a certain image and similitude of Deity For although the faculty of will is incomparably greater in God than in myself as well in respect of the knowledge and power that are conjoined with it and that render it stronger and more efficacious as in respect of the object since in him it extends to a greater number of things it does not nevertheless appear to me greater considered in itself formally and precisely for the power of will consists only in this that we are able to do or not to do the same thing that is to affirm or deny to pursue or shun it or rather in this alone that in affirming or denying pursuing or shunning what is proposed to us by the understanding we so act that we are not conscious of being determined to a particular action by any external force For to the possession of freedom it is not necessary that I be alike indifferent toward each of two contraries but on the contrary the more I am inclined toward the one whether because I clearly know that in it there is the reason of truth and goodness or because God thus internally disposes my thought the more freely do I choose and embrace it and assuredly divine grace and natural knowledge very far from diminishing liberty rather augment and fortify it But the indifference of which I am conscious when I am not impelled to one side rather than to another for want of a reason is the lowest grade of liberty and manifests defect or negation of knowledge rather than perfection of will for if I always clearly knew what was true and good I should never have any difficulty in determining what judgment I ought to come to and what choice I ought to make and I should thus be entirely free without ever being indifferent 33 9 From all this I discover however that neither the power of willing which I have received from God is of itself the source of my errors for it is exceedingly ample and perfect in its kind nor even the power of understanding for as I conceive no object unless by means of the faculty that God bestowed upon me all that I conceive is doubtless rightly conceived by me and it is impossible for me to be deceived in it Whence then spring my errors They arise from this cause alone that I do not restrain the will which is of much wider range than the understanding within the same limits but extend it even to things I do not understand and as the will is of itself indifferent to such it readily falls into error and sin by choosing the false in room of the true and evil instead of good 10 For example when I lately considered whether aught really existed in the world and found that because I considered this question it very manifestly followed that I myself existed I could not but judge that what I so clearly conceived was true not that I was forced to this judgment by any external cause but simply because great clearness of the understanding was succeeded by strong inclination in the will and I believed this the more freely and spontaneously in proportion as I was less indifferent with respect to it But now I not only know that I exist in so far as I am a thinking being but there is likewise presented to my mind a certain idea of corporeal nature hence I am in doubt as to whether the thinking nature which is in me or rather which I myself am is different from that corporeal nature or whether both are merely one and the same thing and I here suppose that I am as yet ignorant of any reason that would determine me to adopt the one belief in preference to the other whence it happens that it is a matter of perfect indifference to me which of the two suppositions I affirm or deny or whether I form any judgment at all in the matter 11 This indifference moreover extends not only to things of which the understanding has no knowledge at all but in general also to all those which it does not discover with perfect clearness at the moment the will is deliberating upon them for however probable the conjectures may be that dispose me to form a judgment in a particular matter the simple knowledge that these are merely conjectures and not certain and indubitable reasons is sufficient to lead me to form one that is directly the opposite Of this I lately had abundant experience when I laid aside as false all that I had before held for true on the single ground that I could in some degree doubt of it 12 But if I abstain from judging of a thing when I do not conceive it with sufficient clearness and distinctness it is plain that I act rightly and am not deceived but if I resolve to deny or affirm I then do not make a right use of my free will and if I affirm what is false it is evident that I am deceived moreover even although I judge according to truth I stumble upon it by chance and do not therefore escape the imputation of a wrong use of my freedom for it is a dictate of the natural light that the knowledge of the understanding ought always to precede the determination of the will And it is this wrong use of the freedom of the will in which is found the privation that constitutes the form of error Privation I say is found in the act in so far as it proceeds from myself but it does not exist in the faculty which I received from God nor even in the act in so far as it depends on him 34 13 For I have assuredly no reason to complain that God has not given me a greater power of intelligence or more perfect natural light than he has actually bestowed since it is of the nature of a finite understanding not to comprehend many things and of the nature of a created understanding to be finite on the contrary I have every reason to render thanks to God who owed me nothing for having given me all the perfections I possess and I should be far from thinking that he has unjustly deprived me of or kept back the other perfections which he has not bestowed upon me 14 I have no reason moreover to complain because he has given me a will more ample than my understanding since as the will consists only of a single element and that indivisible it would appear that this faculty is of such a nature that nothing could be taken from it without destroying it and certainly the more extensive it is the more cause I have to thank the goodness of him who bestowed it upon me 15 And finally I ought not also to complain that God concurs with me in forming the acts of this will or the judgments in which I am deceived because those acts are wholly true and good in so far as they depend on God and the ability to form them is a higher degree of perfection in my nature than the want of it would be With regard to privation in which alone consists the formal reason of error and sin this does not require the concurrence of Deity because it is not a thing or existence and if it be referred to God as to its cause it ought not to be called privation but negation according to the signification of these words in the schools For in truth it is no imperfection in Deity that he has accorded to me the power of giving or withholding my assent from certain things of which he has not put a clear and distinct knowledge in my understanding but it is doubtless an imperfection in me that I do not use my freedom aright and readily give my judgment on matters which I only obscurely and confusedly conceive I perceive nevertheless that it was easy for Deity so to have constituted me as that I should never be deceived although I still remained free and possessed of a limited knowledge viz by implanting in my understanding a clear and distinct knowledge of all the objects respecting which I should ever have to deliberate or simply by so deeply engraving on my memory the resolution to judge of nothing without previously possessing a clear and distinct conception of it that I should never forget it And I easily understand that in so far as I consider myself as a single whole without reference to any other being in the universe I should have been much more perfect than I now am had Deity created me superior to error but I cannot therefore deny that it is not somehow a greater perfection in the universe that certain of its parts are not exempt from defect as others are than if they were all perfectly alike And I have no right to complain because God who placed me in the world was not willing that I should sustain that character which of all others is the chief and most perfect 16 I have even good reason to remain satisfied on the ground that if he has not given me the perfection of being superior to error by the first means I have pointed out above which depends on a clear and evident knowledge of all the matters regarding which I can deliberate he has at least left in my power the other means which is firmly to retain the resolution never to judge where the truth is not clearly known to me for although I am conscious of the weakness of not being able to keep my mind continually fixed on the 35 same thought I can nevertheless by attentive and oftrepeated meditation impress it so strongly on my memory that I shall never fail to recollect it as often as I require it and I can acquire in this way the habitude of not erring 17 And since it is in being superior to error that the highest and chief perfection of man consists I deem that I have not gained little by this day39s meditation in having discovered the source of error and falsity And certainly this can be no other than what I have now explained for as often as I so restrain my will within the limits of my knowledge that it forms no judgment except regarding objects which are clearly and distinctly represented to it by the understanding I can never be deceived because every clear and distinct conception is doubtless something and as such cannot owe its origin to nothing but must of necessity have God for its author God I say who as supremely perfect cannot without a contradiction be the cause of any error and consequently it is necessary to conclude that every such conception or judgment is true Nor have I merely learned to day what I must avoid to escape error but also what I must do to arrive at the knowledge of truth for I will assuredly reach truth if I only fix my attention sufficiently on all the things I conceive perfectly and separate these from others which I conceive more confusedly and obscurely to which for the future I shall give diligent heed 36 MEDITATION V OF THE ESSENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS AND AGAIN OF GOD THAT HE EXISTS 1 SEVERAL other questions remain for consideration respecting the attributes of God and my own nature or mind I will however on some other occasion perhaps resume the investigation of these Meanwhile as I have discovered what must be done and what avoided to arrive at the knowledge of truth what I have chie y to do is to essay to emerge from the state of doubt in which I have for some time been and to discover whether anything can be known with certainty regarding material objects 2 But before considering whether such objects as I conceive exist without me I must examine their ideas in so far as these are to be found in my consciousness and discover which of them are distinct and which confused 3 In the first place I distinctly imagine that quantity which the philosophers commonly call continuous or the extension in length breadth and depth that is in this quantity or rather in the object to which it is attributed Further I can enumerate in it many diverse parts and attribute to each of these all sorts of sizes figures situations and local motions and in fine I can assign to each of these motions all degrees of duration 4 And I not only distinctly know these things when I thus consider them in general but besides by a little attention I discover innumerable particulars respecting figures numbers motion and the like which are so evidently true and so accordant with my nature that when I now discover them I do not so much appear to learn anything new as to call to remembrance what I before knew or for the first time to remark what was before in my mind but to which I had not hitherto directed my attention 5 And what I here find of most importance is that I discover in my mind innumerable ideas of certain objects which cannot be esteemed pure negations although perhaps they possess no reality beyond my thought and which are not framed by me though it may be in my power to think or not to think them but possess true and immutable natures of their own As for example when I imagine a triangle although there is not perhaps and never was in any place in the universe apart from my thought one such figure it remains true nevertheless that this figure possesses a certain determinate nature form or essence which is immutable and eternal and not framed by me nor in any degree dependent on my thought as appears from the circumstance that diverse properties of the triangle may be demonstrated viz that its three angles are equal to two right that its greatest side is subtended by its greatest angle and the like which whether I will or not I now clearly discern to belong to it although before I did not at all think of them when for the first time I imagined a triangle and which accordingly cannot be said to have been invented by me 6 Nor is it a valid objection to allege that perhaps this idea of a triangle came into my mind by the medium of the senses through my having seen bodies of a triangular figure 37 for I am able to form in thought an innumerable variety of figures with regard to which it cannot be supposed that they were ever objects of sense and I can nevertheless demonstrate diverse properties of their nature no less than of the triangle all of which are assuredly true since I clearly conceive them and they are therefore something and not mere negations for it is highly evident that all that is true is something truth being identical with existence and I have already fully shown the truth of the principle that whatever is clearly and distinctly known is true And although this had not been demonstrated yet the nature of my mind is such as to compel me to assert to what I clearly conceive while I so conceive it and I recollect that even when I still strongly adhered to the objects of sense I reckoned among the number of the most certain truths those I clearly conceived relating to figures numbers and other matters that pertain to arithmetic and geometry and in general to the pure mathematics 7 But now if because I can draw from my thought the idea of an object it follows that all I clearly and distinctly apprehend to pertain to this object does in truth belong to it may I not from this derive an argument for the existence of God It is certain that I no less find the idea of a God in my consciousness that is the idea of a being supremely perfect than that of any figure or number whatever and I know with not less cleamess and distinctness that an actual and eternal existence pertains to his nature than that all which is demonstrable of any figure or number really belongs to the nature of that figure or number and therefore although all the conclusions of the preceding Meditations were false the existence of God would pass with me for a truth at least as certain as I ever judged any truth of mathematics to be 8 Indeed such a doctrine may at first sight appear to contain more sophistry than truth For as I have been accustomed in every other matter to distinguish between existence and essence I easily believe that the existence can be separated from the essence of God and that thus God may be conceived as not actually existing But nevertheless when I think of it more attentively it appears that the existence can no more be separated from the essence of God than the idea of a mountain from that of a valley or the equality of its three angles to two right angles from the essence of a rectilinear triangle so that it is not less impossible to conceive a God that is a being supremely perfect to whom existence is awanting or who is devoid of a certain perfection than to conceive a mountain without a valley 9 But though in truth I cannot conceive a God unless as existing any more than I can a mountain without a valley yet just as it does not follow that there is any mountain in the world merely because I conceive a mountain with a valley so likewise though I conceive God as existing it does not seem to follow on that account that God exists for my thought imposes no necessity on things and as I may imagine a winged horse though there be none such so I could perhaps attribute existence to God though no God existed 10 But the cases are not analogous and a fallacy lurks under the semblance of this objection for because I cannot conceive a mountain without a valley it does not follow that there is any mountain or valley in existence but simply that the mountain or valley whether they do or do not exist are inseparable from each other whereas on the other 38 hand because I cannot conceive God unless as existing it follows that existence is inseparable from him and therefore that he really exists not that this is brought about by my thought or that it imposes any necessity on things but on the contrary the necessity which lies in the thing itself that is the necessity of the existence of God determines me to think in this way for it is not in my power to conceive a God without existence that is a being supremely perfect and yet devoid of an absolute perfection as I am free to imagine a horse with or without wings 11 Nor must it be alleged here as an objection that it is in truth necessary to admit that God exists after having supposed him to possess all perfections since existence is one of them but that my original supposition was not necessary just as it is not necessary to think that all quadrilateral figures can be inscribed in the circle since if I supposed this I should be constrained to admit that the rhombus being a figure of four sides can be therein inscribed which however is manifestly false This objection is I say incompetent for although it may not be necessary that I shall at any time entertain the notion of Deity yet each time I happen to think of a first and sovereign being and to draw so to speak the idea of him from the storehouse of the mind I am necessitated to attribute to him all kinds of perfections though I may not then enumerate them all nor think of each of them in particular And this necessity is sufficient as soon as I discover that existence is a perfection to cause me to infer the existence of this first and sovereign being just as it is not necessary that I should ever imagine any triangle but whenever I am desirous of considering a rectilinear figure composed of only three angles it is absolutely necessary to attribute those properties to it from which it is correctly inferred that its three angles are not greater than two right angles although perhaps I may not then advert to this relation in particular But when I consider what figures are capable of being inscribed in the circle it is by no means necessary to hold that all quadrilateral figures are of this number on the contrary I cannot even imagine such to be the case so long as I shall be unwilling to accept in thought aught that I do not clearly and distinctly conceive and consequently there is a vast difference between false suppositions as is the one in question and the true ideas that were born with me the first and chief of which is the idea of God For indeed I discern on many grounds that this idea is not factitious depending simply on my thought but that it is the representation of a true and immutable nature in the first place because I can conceive no other being except God to whose essence existence necessarily pertains in the second because it is impossible to conceive two or more gods of this kind and it being supposed that one such God exists I clearly see that he must have existed from all eternity and will exist to all eternity and finally because I apprehend many other properties in God none of which I can either diminish or change 12 But indeed whatever mode of probation I in the end adopt it always returns to this that it is only the things I clearly and distinctly conceive which have the power of completely persuading me And although of the objects I conceive in this manner some indeed are obvious to every one while others are only discovered after close and careful investigation nevertheless after they are once discovered the latter are not esteemed less certain than the former Thus for example to take the case of a rightangled triangle although it is not so manifest at first that the square of the base is equal to the squares of 39 the other two sides as that the base is opposite to the greatest angle nevertheless after it is once apprehended we are as firmly persuaded of the truth of the former as of the latter And with respect to God if I were not preoccupied by prejudices and my thought beset on all sides by the continual presence of the images of sensible objects I should know nothing sooner or more easily then the fact of his being For is there any truth more clear than the existence of a Supreme Being or of God seeing it is to his essence alone that necessary and eterna existence pertains 13 And although the right conception of this truth has cost me much close thinking nevertheless at present I feel not only as assured of it as of what I deem most certain but I remark further that the certitude of all other truths is so absolutely dependent on it that without this knowledge it is impossible ever to know anything perfectly 14 For although I am of such a nature as to be unable while I possess a very clear and distinct apprehension of a matter to resist the conviction of its truth yet because my constitution is also such as to incapacitate me from keeping my mind continually fixed on the same object and as I frequently recollect a past judgment without at the same time being able to recall the grounds of it it may happen meanwhile that other reasons are presented to me which would readily cause me to change my opinion if I did not know that God existed and thus I should possess no true and certain knowledge but merely vague and vacillating opinions Thus for example when I consider the nature of the rectilinear triangle it most clearly appears to me who have been instructed in the principles of geometry that its three angles are equal to two right angles and I find it impossible to believe otherwise while I apply my mind to the demonstration but as soon as I cease from attending to the process of proof although I still remember that I had a clear comprehension of it yet I may readily come to doubt of the truth demonstrated if I do not know that there is a God for I may persuade myself that I have been so constituted by nature as to be sometimes deceived even in matters which I think I apprehend with the greatest evidence and certitude especially when I recollect that I frequently considered many things to be true and certain which other reasons afterward constrained me to reckon as wholly false 15 But after I have discovered that God exists seeing I also at the same time observed that all things depend on him and that he is no deceiver and hence inferred that all which I clearly and distinctly perceive is of necessity true although I no longer attend to the grounds of a judgment no opposite reason can be alleged sufficient to lead me to doubt of its truth provided only I remember that I once possessed a clear and distinct comprehension of it My knowledge of it thus becomes true and certain And this same knowledge extends likewise to whatever I remember to have formerly demonstrated as the truths of geometry and the like for what can be alleged against them to lead me to doubt of them Will it be that my nature is such that I may be frequently deceived But I already know that I cannot be deceived in judgments of the grounds of which I possess a clear knowledge Will it be that I formerly deemed things to be true and certain which I afterward discovered to be false But I had no clear and distinct knowledge of any of those things and being as yet ignorant of the rule by which I am assured of the truth of a judgment I was led to give my assent to them on grounds which I afterward discovered 40 were less strong than at the time I imagined them to be What further objection then is there Will it be said that perhaps I am dreaming an objection I lately myself raised or that all the thoughts of which I am now conscious have no more truth than the reveries of my dreams But although in truth I should be dreaming the rule still holds that all which is clearly presented to my intellect is indisputably true 16 And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God insomuch that before I knew him I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing And now that I know him I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature in so far as it is the object of pure mathematics which do not consider whether it exists or not 41 MEDITATION VI OF THE EXISTENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS AND OF THE REAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE MIND AND BODY OF MAN 1 THERE now only remains the inquiry as to whether material things exist With regard to this question I at least know with certainty that such things may exist in as far as they constitute the object of the pure mathematics since regarding them in this aspect I can conceive them clearly and distinctly For there can be no doubt that God possesses the power of producing all the objects I am able distinctly to conceive and I never considered anything impossible to him unless when I experienced a contradiction in the attempt to conceive it aright Further the faculty of imagination which I possess and of which I am conscious that I make use when I apply myself to the consideration of material things is sufficient to persuade me of their existence for when I attentively consider what imagination is I find that it is simply a certain application of the cognitive faculty facultas cognoscitiva to a body which is immediately present to it and which therefore exists 2 And to render this quite clear I remark in the first place the difference that subsists between imagination and pure intellection or conception For example when I imagine a triangle I not only conceive intelligo that it is a figure comprehended by three lines but at the same time also I look upon intueor these three lines as present by the power and internal application of my mind acie mentis and this is what I call imagining But if I desire to think of a chiliogon I indeed rightly conceive that it is a figure composed of a thousand sides as easily as I conceive that a triangle is a figure composed of only three sides but I cannot imagine the thousand sides of a chiliogon as I do the three sides of a triangle nor so to speak view them as present with the eyes of my mind And although in accordance with the habit I have of always imagining something when I think of corporeal things it may happen that in conceiving a chiliogon I confusedly represent some figure to myself yet it is quite evident that this is not a chiliogon since it in no wise differs from that which I would represent to myself if I were to think of a myriogon or any other figure of many sides nor would this representation be of any use in discovering and unfolding the properties that constitute the difference between a chiliogon and other polygons But if the question turns on a pentagon it is quite true that I can conceive its figure as well as that of a chiliogon without the aid of imagination but I can likewise imagine it by applying the attention of my mind to its five sides and at the same time to the area which they contain Thus I observe that a special effort of mind is necessary to the act of imagination which is not required to conceiving or understanding ad intelligendum and this special exertion of mind clearly shows the difference between imagination and pure intellection imaginatio et intellectio pura 3 I remark besides that this power of imagination which I possess in as far as it differs from the power of conceiving is in no way necessary to my nature or essence that is to the essence of my mind for although I did not possess it I should still remain the same that I now am from which it seems we may conclude that it depends on something different from the mind And I easily understand that if some body exists with which my 42 mind is so conjoined and united as to be able as it were to consider it when it chooses it may thus imagine corporeal objects so that this mode of thinking differs from pure intellection only in this respect that the mind in conceiving turns in some way upon itself and considers some one of the ideas it possesses within itself but in imagining it turns toward the body and contemplates in it some object conformed to the idea which it either of itself conceived or apprehended by sense I easily understand I say that imagination may be thus formed if it is true that there are bodies and because I find no other obvious mode of explaining it I thence with probability conjecture that they exist but only with probability and although I carefully examine all things nevertheless I do not find that from the distinct idea of corporeal nature I have in my imagination I can necessarily infer the existence of any body 4 But I am accustomed to imagine many other objects besides that corporeal nature which is the object of the pure mathematics as for example colors sounds tastes pain and the like although with less distinctness and inasmuch as I perceive these objects much better by the senses through the medium of which and of memory they seem to have reached the imagination I believe that in order the more advantageously to examine them it is proper I should at the same time examine what senseperception is and inquire whether from those ideas that are apprehended by this mode of thinking consciousness I cannot obtain a certain proof of the existence of corporeal objects 5 And in the first place I will recall to my mind the things I have hitherto held as true because perceived by the senses and the foundations upon which my belief in their truth rested I will in the second place examine the reasons that afterward constrained me to doubt of them and finally I will consider what of them I ought now to believe 6 Firstly then I perceived that I had a head hands feet and other members composing that body which I considered as part or perhaps even as the whole of myself I perceived further that that body was placed among many others by which it was capable of being affected in diverse ways both beneficial and hurtful and what was beneficial I remarked by a certain sensation of pleasure and what was hurtful by a sensation of pain And besides this pleasure and pain I was likewise conscious of hunger thirst and other appetites as well as certain corporeal inclinations toward joy sadness anger and similar passions And out of myself besides the extension figure and motions of bodies I likewise perceived in them hardness heat and the other tactile qualities and in addition light colors odors tastes and sounds the variety of which gave me the means of distinguishing the sky the earth the sea and generally all the other bodies from one another And certainly considering the ideas of all these qualities which were presented to my mind and which alone I properly and immediately perceived it was not without reason that I thought I perceived certain objects wholly different from my thought namely bodies from which those ideas proceeded for I was conscious that the ideas were presented to me without my consent being required so that I could not perceive any object however desirous I might be unless it were present to the organ of sense and it was wholly out of my power not to perceive it when it was thus present And because the ideas I perceived by the senses were much more lively and clear and even in their own way more distinct than any of those I could of myself frame by meditation or which I 43 found impressed on my memory it seemed that they could not have proceeded from myself and must therefore have been caused in me by some other objects and as of those objects I had no knowledge beyond what the ideas themselves gave me nothing was so likely to occur to my mind as the supposition that the objects were similar to the ideas which they caused And because I recollected also that I had formerly trusted to the senses rather than to reason and that the ideas which I myself formed were not so clear as those I perceived by sense and that they were even for the most part composed of parts of the latter I was readily persuaded that I had no idea in my intellect which had not formerly passed through the senses Nor was I altogether wrong in likewise believing that that body which by a special right I called my own pertained to me more properly and strictly than any of the others for in truth I could never be separated from it as from other bodies I felt in it and on account of it all my appetites and affections and in fine I was affected in its parts by pain and the titillation of pleasure and not in the parts of the other bodies that were separated from it But when I inquired into the reason why from this I know not what sensation of pain sadness of mind should follow and why from the sensation of pleasure joy should arise or why this indescribable twitching of the stomach which I call hunger should put me in mind of taking food and the parchedness of the throat of drink and so in other cases I was unable to give any explanation unless that I was so taught by nature for there is assuredly no affinity at least none that I am able to comprehend between this irritation of the stomach and the desire of food any more than between the perception of an object that causes pain and the consciousness of sadness which springs from the perception And in the same way it seemed to me that all the other judgments I had formed regarding the objects of sense were dictates of nature because I remarked that those judgments were formed in me before I had leisure to weigh and consider the reasons that might constrain me to form them 7 But afterward a wide experience by degrees sapped the faith I had reposed in my senses for I frequently observed that towers which at a distance seemed round appeared square when more closely viewed and that colossal figures raised on the summits of these towers looked like small statues when viewed from the bottom of them and in other instances without number I also discovered error in judgments founded on the external senses and not only in those founded on the external but even in those that rested on the internal senses for is there aught more internal than pain And yet I have sometimes been informed by parties whose arm or leg had been amputated that they still occasionally seemed to feel pain in that part of the body which they had lost a circumstance that led me to think that I could not be quite certain even that any one of my members was affected when I felt pain in it And to these grounds of doubt I shortly afterward also added two others of very wide generality the first of them was that I believed I never perceived anything when awake which I could not occasionally think I also perceived when asleep and as I do not believe that the ideas I seem to perceive in my sleep proceed from objects external to me I did not any more observe any ground for believing this of such as I seem to perceive when awake the second was that since I was as yet ignorant of the author of my being or at least supposed myself to be so I saw nothing to prevent my having been so constituted by nature as that I should be deceived even in matters that appeared to me to possess the greatest truth And with respect to the grounds on which I had before been persuaded of the existence of sensible objects I had 44 no great difficulty in finding suitable answers to them for as nature seemed to incline me to many things from which reason made me averse I thought that I ought not to confide much in its teachings And although the perceptions of the senses were not dependent on my will I did not think that I ought on that ground to conclude that they proceeded from things different from myself since perhaps there might be found in me some faculty though hitherto unknown to me which produced them 8 But now that I begin to know myself better and to discover more clearly the author of my being I do not indeed think that I ought rashly to admit all which the senses seem to teach nor on the other hand is it my conviction that I ought to doubt in general of their teachings 9 And firstly because I know that all which I clearly and distinctly conceive can be produced by God exactly as I conceive it it is sufficient that I am able clearly and distinctly to conceive one thing apart from another in order to be certain that the one is different from the other seeing they may at least be made to exist separately by the omnipotence of God and it matters not by what power this separation is made in order to be compelled to judge them different and therefore merely because I know with certitude that I exist and because in the meantime I do not observe that aught necessarily belongs to my nature or essence beyond my being a thinking thing I rightly conclude that my essence consists only in my being a thinking thing or a substance whose whole essence or nature is merely thinking And although I may or rather as I will shortly say although I certainly do possess a body with which I am very closely conjoined nevertheless because on the one hand I have a clear and distinct idea of myself in as far as I am only a thinking and unextended thing and as on the other hand I possess a distinct idea of body in as far as it is only an extended and unthinking thing it is certain that I that is my mind by which I am what I am is entirely and truly distinct from my body and may exist without it 10 Moreover I find in myself diverse faculties of thinking that have each their special mode for example I find I possess the faculties of imagining and perceiving without which I can indeed clearly and distinctly conceive myself as entire but I cannot reciprocally conceive them without conceiving myself that is to say without an intelligent substance in which they reside for in the notion we have of them or to use the terms of the schools in their formal concept they comprise some sort of intellection whence I perceive that they are distinct from myself as modes are from things I remark likewise certain other faculties as the power of changing place of assuming diverse figures and the like that cannot be conceived and cannot therefore exist any more than the preceding apart from a substance in which they inhere It is very evident however that these faculties if they really exist must belong to some corporeal or extended substance since in their clear and distinct concept there is contained some sort of extension but no intellection at all Further I cannot doubt but that there is in me a certain passive faculty of perception that is of receiving and taking knowledge of the ideas of sensible things but this would be useless to me if there did not also exist in me or in some other thing another active faculty capable of forming and producing those ideas But this active faculty cannot be in me in as far as I am but a thinking thing seeing 45 that it does not presuppose thought and also that those ideas are frequently produced in my mind without my contributing to it in any way and even frequently contrary to my will This faculty must therefore exist in some substance different from me in which all the objective reality of the ideas that are produced by this faculty is contained formally or eminently as I before remarked and this substance is either a body that is to say a corporeal nature in which is contained formally and in effect all that is objectively and by representation in those ideas or it is God himself or some other creature of a rank superior to body in which the same is contained eminently But as God is no deceiver it is manifest that he does not of himself and immediately communicate those ideas to me nor even by the intervention of any creature in which their objective reality is not formally but only eminently contained For as he has given me no faculty whereby I can discover this to be the case but on the contrary a very strong inclination to believe that those ideas arise from corporeal objects I do not see how he could be vindicated from the charge of deceit if in truth they proceeded from any other source or were produced by other causes than corporeal things and accordingly it must be concluded that corporeal objects exist Nevertheless they are not perhaps exactly such as we perceive by the senses for their comprehension by the senses is in many instances very obscure and confused but it is at least necessary to admit that all which I clearly and distinctly conceive as in them that is generally speaking all that is comprehended in the object of speculative geometry really exists external to me 11 But with respect to other things which are either only particular as for example that the sun is of such a size and figure etc or are conceived with less clearness and distinctness as light sound pain and the like although they are highly dubious and uncertain nevertheless on the ground alone that God is no deceiver and that consequently he has permitted no falsity in my opinions which he has not likewise given me a faculty of correcting I think I may with safety conclude that I possess in myself the means of arriving at the truth And in the first place it cannot be doubted that in each of the dictates of nature there is some truth for by nature considered in general I now understand nothing more than God himself or the order and disposition established by God in created things and by my nature in particular I understand the assemblage of all that God has given me 12 But there is nothing which that nature teaches me more expressly or more sensibly than that I have a body which is ill affected when I feel pain and stands in need of food and drink when I experience the sensations of hunger and thirst etc And therefore I ought not to doubt but that there is some truth in these informations 13 Nature likewise teaches me by these 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 besides so intimately conjoined and as it were intermixed with it that my mind and body compose a certain unity For if this were not the case I should not feel pain when my body is hurt seeing I am merely a thinking thing but should perceive the wound by the understanding alone just as a pilot perceives by sight when any part of his vessel is damaged and when my body has need of food or drink I should have a clear knowledge of this and not be made aware of it by the confused sensations of hunger and thirst for in truth all these 46 sensations of hunger thirst pain etc are nothing more than certain confused modes of thinking arising from the union and apparent fusion of mind and body 14 Besides this nature teaches me that my own body is surrounded by many other bodies some of which I have to seek after and others to shun And indeed as I perceive different sorts of colors sounds odors tastes heat hardness etc I safely conclude that there are in the bodies from which the diverse perceptions of the senses proceed certain varieties corresponding to them although perhaps not in reality like them and since among these diverse perceptions of the senses some are agreeable and others disagreeable there can be no doubt that my body or rather my entire self in as far as I am composed of body and mind may be variously affected both beneficially and hurtfully by surrounding bodies 15 But there are many other beliefs which though seemingly the teaching of nature are not in reality so but which obtained a place in my mind through a habit of judging inconsiderately of things It may thus easily happen that such judgments shall contain error thus for example the opinion I have that all space in which there is nothing to affect or make an impression on my senses is void that in a hot body there is something in every respect similar to the idea of heat in my mind that in a white or green body there is the same whiteness or greenness which I perceive that in a bitter or sweet body there is the same taste and so in other instances that the stars towers and all distant bodies are of the same size and figure as they appear to our eyes etc But that I may avoid everything like indistinctness of conception I must accurately define what I properly understand by being taught by nature For nature is here taken in a narrower sense than when it signifies the sum of all the things which God has given me seeing that in that meaning the notion comprehends much that belongs only to the mind to which I am not here to be understood as referring when I use the term nature as for example the notion I have of the truth that what is done cannot be undone and all the other truths I discern by the natural light without the aid of the body and seeing that it comprehends likewise much besides that belongs only to body and is not here any more contained under the name nature as the quality of heaviness and the like of which I do not speak the term being reserved exclusively to designate the things which God has given to me as a being composed of mind and body But nature taking the term in the sense explained teaches me to shun what causes in me the sensation of pain and to pursue what affords me the sensation of pleasure and other things of this sort but I do not discover that it teaches me in addition to this from these diverse perceptions of the senses to draw any conclusions respecting external objects without a previous careful and mature consideration of them by the mind for it is as appears to me the office of the mind alone and not of the composite whole of mind and body to discern the truth in those matters Thus although the impression a star makes on my eye is not larger than that from the ame of a candle I do not nevertheless experience any real or positive impulse determining me to believe that the star is not greater than the ame the true account of the matter being merely that I have so judged from my youth without any rational ground And though on approaching the fire I feel heat and even pain on approaching it too closely I have however from this no ground for holding that something resembling the heat I feel is in the fire any more than that there is something similar to the pain all that I have ground 47 for believing is that there is something in it whatever it may be which excites in me those sensations of heat or pain So also although there are spaces in which I find nothing to excite and affect my senses I must not therefore conclude that those spaces contain in them no body for I see that in this as in many other similar matters I have been accustomed to pervert the order of nature because these perceptions of the senses although given me by nature merely to signify to my mind what things are beneficial and hurtful to the composite whole of which it is a part and being sufficiently clear and distinct for that purpose are nevertheless used by me as infallible rules by which to determine immediately the essence of the bodies that exist out of me of which they can of course afford me only the most obscure and confused knowledge 16 But I have already sufficiently considered how it happens that notwithstanding the supreme goodness of God there is falsity in my judgments A difficulty however here presents itself respecting the things which I am taught by nature must be pursued or avoided and also respecting the internal sensations in which I seem to have occasionally detected error and thus to be directly deceived by nature thus for example I may be so deceived by the agreeable taste of some viand with which poison has been mixed as to be induced to take the poison In this case however nature may be excused for it simply leads me to desire the viand for its agreeable taste and not the poison which is unknown to it and thus we can infer nothing from this circumstance beyond that our nature is not omniscient at which there is assuredly no ground for surprise since man being of a finite nature his knowledge must likewise be of a limited perfection 17 But we also not unfrequently err in that to which we are directly impelled by nature as is the case with invalids who desire drink or food that would be hurtful to them It will here perhaps be alleged that the reason why such persons are deceived is that their nature is corrupted but this leaves the difficulty untouched for a sick man is not less really the creature of God than a man who is in full health and therefore it is as repugnant to the goodness of God that the nature of the former should be deceitful as it is for that of the latter to be so And as a clock composed of wheels and counter weights observes not the less accurately all the laws of nature when it is ill made and points out the hours incorrectly than when it satisfies the desire of the maker in every respect so likewise if the body of man be considered as a kind of machine so made up and composed of bones nerves muscles veins blood and skin that although there were in it no mind it would still exhibit the same motions which it at present manifests involuntarily and therefore without the aid of the mind and simply by the dispositions of its organs I easily discern that it would also be as natural for such a body supposing it dropsical for example to experience the parchedness of the throat that is usually accompanied in the mind by the sensation of thirst and to be disposed by this parchedness to move its nerves and its other parts in the way required for drinking and thus increase its malady and do itself harm as it is natural for it when it is not indisposed to be stimulated to drink for its good by a similar cause and although looking to the use for which a clock was destined by its maker I may say that it is de ected from its proper nature when it incorrectly indicates the hours and on the same principle considering the machine of the human body as having been formed by God for the sake of the motions which it usually manifests although I may likewise have ground for thinking that it does 48 not follow the order of its nature when the throat is parched and drink does not tend to its preservation nevertheless I yet plainly discern that this latter acceptation of the term nature is very different from the other for this is nothing more than a certain denomination depending entirely on my thought and hence called extrinsic by which I compare a sick man and an imperfectly constructed clock with the idea I have of a man in good health and a well made clock while by the other acceptation of nature is understood something which is truly found in things and therefore possessed of some truth 18 But certainly although in respect of a dropsical body it is only by way of exterior denomination that we say its nature is corrupted when without requiring drink the throat is parched yet in respect of the composite whole that is of the mind in its union with the body it is not a pure denomination but really an error of nature for it to feel thirst when drink would be hurtful to it and accordingly it still remains to be considered why it is that the goodness of God does not prevent the nature of man thus taken from being fallacious 19 To commence this examination accordingly I here remark in the first place that there is a vast difference between mind and body in respect that body from its nature is always divisible and that mind is entirely indivisible For in truth when I consider the mind that is when I consider myself in so far only as I am a thinking thing I can distinguish in myself no parts but I very clearly discern that I am somewhat absolutely one and entire and although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body yet when a foot an arm or any other part is cut off I am conscious that nothing has been taken from my mind nor can the faculties of willing perceiving conceiving etc properly be called its parts for it is the same mind that is exercised all entire in willing in perceiving and in conceiving etc But quite the opposite holds in corporeal or extended things for I cannot imagine any one of them how small soever it may be which I cannot easily sunder in thought and which therefore I do not know to be divisible This would be sufficient to teach me that the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body if I had not already been apprised of it on other grounds 20 I remark in the next place that the mind does not immediately receive the impression from all the parts of the body but only from the brain or perhaps even from one small part of it viz that in which the common sense senses communis is said to be which as often as it is affected in the same way gives rise to the same perception in the mind although meanwhile the other parts of the body may be diversely disposed as is proved by innumerable experiments which it is unnecessary here to enumerate 21 I remark besides that the nature of body is such that none of its parts can be moved by another part a little removed from the other which cannot likewise be moved in the same way by any one of the parts that lie between those two although the most remote part does not act at all As for example in the cord A B C D which is in tension if its last part D be pulled the first part A will not be moved in a different way than it would be were one of the intermediate parts B or C to be pulled and the last part D meanwhile to remain fixed And in the same way when I feel pain in the foot the science of physics teaches me that this sensation is experienced by means of the nerves dispersed over the 49 foot which extending like cords from it to the brain when they are contracted in the foot contract at the same time the inmost parts of the brain in which they have their origin and excite in these parts a certain motion appointed by nature to cause in the mind a sensation of pain as if existing in the foot but as these nerves must pass through the tibia the leg the loins the back and neck in order to reach the brain it may happen that although their extremities in the foot are not affected but only certain of their parts that pass through the loins or neck the same movements nevertheless are excited in the brain by this motion as would have been caused there by a hurt received in the foot and hence the mind will necessarily feel pain in the foot just as if it had been hurt and the same is true of all the other perceptions of our senses 22 I remark finally that as each of the movements that are made in the part of the brain by which the mind is immediately affected impresses it with but a single sensation the most likely supposition in the circumstances is that this movement causes the mind to experience among all the sensations which it is capable of impressing upon it that one which is the best fitted and generally the most useful for the preservation of the human body when it is in full health But experience shows us that all the perceptions which nature has given us are of such a kind as I have mentioned and accordingly there is nothing found in them that does not manifest the power and goodness of God Thus for example when the nerves of the foot are violently or more than usually shaken the motion passing through the medulla of the spine to the innermost parts of the brain affords a sign to the mind on which it experiences a sensation viz of pain as if it were in the foot by which the mind is admonished and excited to do its utmost to remove the cause of it as dangerous and hurtful to the foot It is true that God could have so constituted the nature of man as that the same motion in the brain would have informed the mind of something altogether different the motion might for example have been the occasion on which the mind became conscious of itself in so far as it is in the brain or in so far as it is in some place intermediate between the foot and the brain or finally the occasion on which it perceived some other object quite different whatever that might be but nothing of all this would have so well contributed to the preservation of the body as that which the mind actually feels In the same way when we stand in need of drink there arises from this want a certain parchedness in the throat that moves its nerves and by means of them the internal parts of the brain and this movement affects the mind with the sensation of thirst because there is nothing on that occasion which is more useful for us than to be made aware that we have need of drink for the preservation of our health and so in other instances 23 Whence it is quite manifest that notwithstanding the sovereign goodness of God the nature of man in so far as it is composed of mind and body cannot but be sometimes fallacious For if there is any cause which excites not in the foot but in some one of the parts of the nerves that stretch from the foot to the brain or even in the brain itself the same movement that is ordinarily created when the foot is ill affected pain will be felt as it were in the foot and the sense will thus be naturally deceived for as the same movement in the brain can but impress the mind with the same sensation and as this sensation is much more frequently excited by a cause which hurts the foot than by one acting in a different quarter it is reasonable that it should lead the mind to feel pain in the 50 foot rather than in any other part of the body And if it sometimes happens that the parchedness of the throat does not arise as is usual from drink being necessary for the health of the body but from quite the opposite cause as is the case with the dropsical yet it is much better that it should be deceitful in that instance than if on the contrary it were continually fallacious when the body is welldisposed and the same holds true in other cases 24 And certainly this consideration is of great service not only in enabling me to recognize the errors to which my nature is liable but likewise in rendering it more easy to avoid or correct them for knowing that all my senses more usually indicate to me what is true than what is false in matters relating to the advantage of the body and being able almost always to make use of more than a single sense in examining the same object and besides this being able to use my memory in connecting present with past knowledge and my understanding which has already discovered all the causes of my errors I ought no longer to fear that falsity may be met with in what is daily presented to me by the senses And I ought to reject all the doubts of those bygone days as hyperbolical and ridiculous especially the general uncertainty respecting sleep which I could not distinguish from the waking state for I now find a very marked difference between the two states in respect that our memory can never connect our dreams with each other and with the course of life in the way it is in the habit of doing with events that occur when we are awake And in truth if some one when I am awake appeared to me all of a sudden and as suddenly disappeared as do the images I see in sleep so that I could not observe either whence he came or whither he went I should not without reason esteem it either a specter or phantom formed in my brain rather than a real man But when I perceive objects with regard to which I can distinctly determine both the place whence they come and that in which they are and the time at which they appear to me and when without interruption I can connect the perception I have of them with the whole of the other parts of my life I am perfectly sure that what I thus perceive occurs while I am awake and not during sleep And I ought not in the least degree to doubt of the truth of these presentations if after having called together all my senses my memory and my understanding for the purpose of examining them no deliverance is given by any one of these faculties which is repugnant to that of any other for since God is no deceiver it necessarily follows that I am not herein deceived But because the necessities of action frequently oblige us to come to a determination before we have had leisure for so careful an examination it must be confessed that the life of man is frequently obnoxious to error with respect to individual objects and we must in conclusion acknowledge the weakness of our nature 51 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY I939 LONDON Publismdfor THE BRITISH ACADEMY by HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS AMEN HOUSE EC ANNUAL PHILOSOPHICAL LECTURE HENRIETTE HERTZ TRUST PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD BY G E MOORE Fellow of the Academy Read 22 November 1939 N the preface to the second edition of Kant s Critique of Pure Reason some words occur which in Professor Kemp Smith s translation are rendered as follows It still remains ascandal to philosophy that the existence of things outside of us must be accepted merely on faith and that if anyone thinks good to doubt their existence we are unable to counter his doubts by any satisfactory proofI It seems clear from these words that Kant thought it a matter of some importance to give a proof of the existence of things outside of us or perhaps rather for it seems to me possible that the force of the German words is better rendered in this way of the existence of the things outside 0f us for had he not thought it important that a proof should be given he would scarcely have called it a scandal that no proof had been given And it seems clear also that he thought that the giving of such a proof was a task which fell preperly within the province of philosophy for if it did not the fact that no proof had been given could not pos sibly be a scandal to philosophy Now even if Kant was mistaken in both of these two f Pinions there seems to me to be no doubt whatever that it IS a matter of some importance and also a matter which falls Properly within the province of philosophy to discuss the I B mix note Kemp Smith p 34 The German words are 30 bleibt es immer ein Skandal der Philosophie das Dasein dCI Dinge ausser uns bloss auf Glauben annehmen zu miissen und Wenn es jemand einfallt es zu bezweifeln ihm keinen genugtuenden weis entgegenstellen zu kennen xxv N n 274 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY question what sort of proof if any can be given of the existence of things outside of us And to discuss this ques tion was my object when I began to write the present lec ture But I may say at once that as you will nd I have only at most succeeded in saying a very small part of what ought to be said about it The words it remains a scandal to philosophy that we are unable would taken strictly imply that at the moment at which he wrote them Kant himself was unable to produce a satisfactory proof of the point in ques tion But I think it is unquestionable that Kant himself did not think that he personally was at the time unable to pro duce such a proof On the contrary in the immediately preceding sentence he has declared that he has in the second edition of his Critique to which he is new writing the Preface given a rigorous proof of this very thing and has added that he believes this proof of his to be the only possible proof It is true that in this preceding sentence he does not describe the proof which he has given as a proof of the existence of things outside of us or of the existence of the things outside of us but describes it instead as a proof of the objective reality of outer intuition But the context leaves no doubt that he is using these two phrases the objective reality of outer intuition and the existence of things or the things outside of us in such a way that whatever is a proof of the rst is also necessarily a proof of the second We must therefore suppose that when he speaks as if we are unable to give a satisfactory proof he does not mean to say that he himself as well as others is at the mammt unable but rather that until he discovered the proof which he has given both he himself and everybody else were unable Of course if h 3 is right in thinking that he has given a satisfactory proof the state of things which he describes came to an end as soon as his proof was published As soon as that happened any one who read it was able to give a satisfactory proof by simply repeating that which Kant had given and the scandal to philosophy had been removed once for all is certainly not perfectly cl i i 39u g I i 1 H 1 i 3 i if 1 S 1 l a PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 275 If therefore it were certain that the proof of the pomt 3 in question given by Kant in the second edition is a satis ld be certain that at least one satisfac f to roof it won I tbci39y Ipii dbf can be given and all that would remain of the question which I said I proposed to discussawoull l bte rstly the question as to what sort of a proof this of Kant is and secondly the question whether contrary to gain of own opinion there may not perhaps be other prion s the same or of a different sort which are also satis actogy But I think it is by no means certain that Kant s pioodi satisfactory I think it is by no means certain that ch 111 succeed in removing once for all the state of affairs w 1c he considered to be a scandal to PhilOSOPhY And I think therefore that the question whether it is possible to give any satisfactory proof of the point in question still deserves discussion But what is the point in question I tlunk rat must be ngs out51de of us is rather owned that the expression thi 39 39 39 he meamn of which an Odd expressmn and an 3231 elstlzibiild have soiginded less Odd if instead of things outside of us I had said external things and perhaps also the meaning of thlS EXPICSSICIJIII Would have seemed to be clearer andol think we make t e meaning of external things clearer still if we explain that this phrase has been regularly used by philosophershas short for things external to our mmds IZhe fact is t at there has been a long philosophical tradition in accor ance with which the three expressions external tlungs 39 39 inds things external to us and things external to our m have been used as equivalent to one another and have each of them been used as if they needed no explanatiocp The origin of this usage I do not know It occurs alrea y in Descartes and since he uses the express1ons as if they needed no explanation they had presumably been used with the same meaning before Of thethiee 1t selems stp me that the expression external to our minds is the 0 eare Since it at least makes clear that what is meant Is no 276 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 277 external to our bodies whereas both the other expressions space can be naturally understood as applying also in cases might be taken to mean this and indeed there has been where the names physical object material thing or body a good deal of confusion even among philosophers as to can hardly be applied For instance shadows are some the relation of the two conceptions external things and times to be met with in space although they could hardly things external to our bodies But even the expression things be properly called physical objects material things or external to our minds seems to me to be far from perfectly bodies and although in one usage of the term thing clear and if I am to make really clear what I mean by it WOUId n0t be PrOPer to can a Shadow a things 3 the proof of the existence of things outside of us I cannot do phrase things which are to be met with in space can be it by merely saying that by outside of us I mean external naturally understood as synonymous with whatever can to our mind5 be met with in space and this is an expression which can There is a passage Keir V A 373 in which Kant him quite properly be understood to include shadows I wish self says that the expression outside of us carries with it the phrase things which are to be met with in space to an unavoidable ambiguity He says that sometimes it be understood in this wide sense so that if a proof can be means something which exists as a thing in itser distinct I found that there ever have been as many as two different from us and sometimes something which merely belongs shadows it will follow at once that there have been at least to external appearanee he calls things which are outside two things which were to be met with in space and this of us in the rst of these two senses objects which might proof will be as good a proof of the point in question as be called external in the transcendental sense and things would be a proof that there have been at least two physical which are so in the second empz39n39ealb external objects and 39 Objects of no matter What Sort he says nally that in order to remove all uncertainty as The phrase things which are to be met with in space to the latter conception he will distinguish empirically can therefore be naturally understood as having a very external objects from objects which might be called ex wide meaning a meaning even wider than that of phy ternal in the transcendental sense by calling them outright sical object or body wide as is the meaning of these latter things which are to be met with in space 39 expressions But wide as is its meaning it is nob in one I think that thisquot last phrase of Kant s things which are reSpect so wide as that of another phrase which Kant uses to be met with in space does indicate fairly clearly what as if it were equivalent to this 0113 and a Comparison sort of things it is with regard to which I wish to inquire between the two will I think serve to make still clearer what sort of proof if any can be given that there are any What sort of things it is with regard to which I wish to ask things of that sort My body the bodies of other men the What proof if any can be given that there are such things bodies of animals plants of all sorts stones mountains The other phrase which Kant uses as if it were equivalent the 51111 the 1110011 stars and planets houses and other to things which are to be met with in space is used by buildings manufactured articles of all sorts chairs tables him in the sentence immediately preceding that previously pieces of paper ampc are all of them thjngs which are to quoted in which he declares that the expression things be met with in space In short all things of the sort that Outside of us carries with it an unavoidable ambiguity philosophers have been used to call physical objectS A 373 In this preceding sentence he says that an em Pirical object is called external if it is presented vergestellt material things or bodies obviously come under m Space He treats therefore the phrase presented in head But the phrase things that are to be met with in 278 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY space as if it were equivalent to to be met with in spac But it is easy to nd examples of things of which it c hardly be denied that they are presented in space b of which it could quite naturally be emphatically denied that they are to be met with in space instance the following description of one set of circumi stances under which what some psychologists have called negative afterimage and others a negative aftersens tion can be obtained If after looking steadfastly a white patch on a black ground the eye be turned to a whit ground a grey patch is seen for some little time Text book of Physiology IV 111 3 p 1266 quoted in Stou Manual of Pyclzolog 3rd edition p 280 Upon readi these words recently I took the trouble to cut out of piece of white paper a fourpointed star to place it on 5 black ground to look steadfastly at it and then to my eyes to a white sheet of paper and I did nd that saw a grey patch for some little time I not only saw a gr it also was a fourpointed star experiment success illy several times grey four pointed stars one of which I saw in each expcij i ment was what is called an afterimage or aftersensatio and can anybody deny that each of these afterima can be quite properly said to have been presented space I saw each of them on a real white backgroun and if so each of them was presented on a real whi background But though they were presented in sp everybody I think would feel that it was gravely misle ing to say that they were to be met with in space white star at which I looked steadfastly the black gro on which I saw it and the white ground on which I S the after images were of course to be met with in spaC they Were in fact physical objects or surfaces of phiji Objects But one important difference between them quotv 39 Iz PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 279 the one hand and the grey afterimages on Lheloziqrjeq be quite naturally expressed by saying that t e ah this is not to be met with in space And one reason wty iven so is I think plain To say that so and so was ah t ghere time to be met with in space naturally suggest a i ht are conditions such that any cine Kho tirl leqnt 11 Srgogl 39 have erceive t e 1n 312333 seen it ifit was a visible object have felfn if it was a tangible one hart hvesfld ltI 51ttilvaf tiesqvmt smelt it if it was a sme en ilciiiifpointed 3paper star at whicth loqlied sttleaglfaglg cwa ical ob39ect and was to e m mlilgglying tliat any one who had been in the roqns iegg tllq time and who had normal eyesight and a orma of those touch might have seen and felt it but in t e casqblc that grey afterimages which I saw 1t 18 not conceiv f them any one besides myself should have seen any onel o f the It is of course quite conceivable thatIOther peop q 1 iezlr had been in the room with me at the tune and ha liar c out the same experiment which I earned out go I 5 seen grey afterimages very lake one of those w d hi there is no absurdity in supposmg even that 6171 pug have seen afterimages exactly like one of those Wth But there is an absurdity in supposmg that any onebo e afterimages which I saw could also have been sleen YCESE One else in supposing that two different peop e car1 we See the very same afterimage One reason thenlhvir1 saw Should say that none of those grey afterImages w I s was to be met with in space although each of t em waf Certainly presented in space to me 1s Simply that nlone ft them could conceivably have been seen by any one e se is natural so to understand the phrase to be met wcilthhlr SP910132 that to say of anything which a man percewe 1 ae it was to be met with in space is to say that 1t might av been perceived by other as well as by the mandln quqsltieq Negative afterimages of the kind dCSCI le h are St be fore one example of things which though t ey mu 28o PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY allowed to be presented in space are nevertheless not to be met with in space and are not external to our minds in the sense with which we shall be concerned And two other important examples may be given The rst is this It is well known that people some times see things double an occurrence which has also been described by psychologists by saying that they have a double image or two images of some object at which they are looking In such cases it would certainly be quite natural to say that each of the two images is presented in space they are seen one in one place and the other in another in just the same sense in which each of those grey afterimages which I saw was seen at a particular place on the white background at which I was looking But it would be utterly unnatural to say that when I have a double image each of the two images is to be met with in space On the contrary it is quite certain that both of them are not to be met with in space If both were it would follow that somebody else might see the very same two images which I see and though there is no absurdity in supposing that another person might see a pair of images exactly similar to a pair which I see there is an absurdity in supposing that any one else might see the same identical pair In every case then in which any one sees anything double we have an example of at least one thing which though presented in space is certainly not to be met within space And the second important example is this Bodily pains can in general be quite properly said to be presented in space When I have a toothache I feel it in a particular region of my jaw or in a particular tooth when I make 3 cut on my nger smart by putting iodine on it I feel 13911 3 pain in a particular place in my nger and a man whose leg has been amputated may feel a pain in a place where his foot might have been if he had not lost it It is certainlY perfectly natural to understand the phrase presented m space in such a way that if in the sense illustrated a Pain 39 J 39 39 n o a 0 18 felt m a artlcular lace that am 13 resented 1n spaCC quot P P 2 P P m Ir 39 quot Ac quotw HHy r N VWHR E mm m sunsquot mug I PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 28x And yet of pains it would be quite unnatural to say that they are to be met with in space for the same reason as in the case of afterimages or double images It is quite conceiv able that another person should feel a pain exactly like one which I feel but there is an absurdity in supposing that he could feel numerically the same pain which I feel And pains are in fact a typical example of the sort of things of which philosophers say that they are not external to our minds but within them Of any pain which I feel they would say that it is necessarily not external to my mind but in it And nally it is I think worth While to mention one other class of things which are certainly not external objects and certainly not to be met with in space in the sense with which I am concerned but which yet some philo sophers would be inclined to say are presented in space though they are not presented in space in quite the same sense in which pains double images and negative after images of the sort I described are so If you look at an elec tric light and then close your eyes it sometimes happens that you see for some little time against the dark background which you usually see when your eyes are shut a bright patch similar in shape to the light at which you have just been looking Such a bright patch if you see one is another example of what some psychologists have called after images and others aftersensations but unlike the nega tive afterimages of which I spoke before it is seen when Your eyes are shut Of such an afterimage seen with Closed eyes some philosophers might be inclined to say that this image too was presented in space although it is Certainly not to be met with in space They would be inclined to say that it is presented in space because it Certainly is presented as at some little distance from the per son who is seeing it and how can a thing be presented as at Some little distance from me without being presented in 313366 Yet there is an important difference between such afterimages seen with closed eyes and afterimages of the sort I previously described a difference which might XXV o 0 282 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEIVIY lead other philosophers to deny that these afterimages seen with closed eyes are presented in space at all Itisi a difference which can be expressed by saying that when your eyes are shut you are not seeing any part of pbysz39cal space at all of the space which is referred to when we talk of things which are to be met with in spaee An after image seen with closed eyes certainly is presented in a space but it may be questioned whether it is proper to say that it is presented in space I It is clear then I think that by no means everything which can naturally be said to be presented in space can also be naturally said to be a thing which is to be met with in space Some of the things which are presented 1n space are very emphatically not to be met with in space or to use another phrase which may be used to convey the same notion they are emphatically not physical reali ties at all The conception presented in space is there fore in one respect much wider than the conception to be met with in space many things fall under the rst conception which do not fall under the second many afterimages one at least of the pair of images seen when ever any one sees double and most bodily pains are presented in space though none of them are to be met with in space From the fact that a thing is presented in space it by no means follows that it is to be met with in space But just as the rst conception is in one respect Wider than the second so in another the second is Widtr than the rst For there are many things to be met with In space of which it is not true that they are presented in space From the fact that a thing is to be met with in space it by no means follows that it is presented in space I have taken to be met with in space to imply as I think It naturally may that a thing might be perceived but from the fact that a thing might be perceived it does not follow that it is perceived and if it is not actually perceived then it will not be presented in space It is characteristic Of the sorts of things including shadows which I have PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 5283 described as to be met with in space that there is no absurdity in supposing with regard to any one of them which is at a given time perceived both I that it might have existed at that very time without being perceived 2 that it might have existed at another time without being perceived at that other time and 3 that during the whole period of its existence it need not have been perceived at any time at all There is therefore no absurdity in supposing that many things which were at one time tobe met with in space never were presented at any time at all and that many things which are to be met with in space now are not now presented and also never were and never will be To use a Kantian phrase the conception of things which are to be met with in space embraces not only objects of actual experience but also objects of possible experience and from the fact that a thing is or was an object of possible experience it by no means follows that it either was or is or will be presented at all I hope that what I have now said may have served to make clear enough what sorts of things I was originally referring to as things outside us or things external to our minds I said that I thought that Kant s phrase things that are to be met with in space indicated fairly clearly the sorts of things in question and I have tried to make the range clearer still by pointing out that this phrase only serves the purpose if a you understand it in a sense in which many things eg afterimages double images bodily pains which might be said to be presented in space are nevertheless not to be reckoned as things that are to be met with in space and b you realize clearly that there is no contradiction in supposing that there have been and are to be met with in space things which never have been are not now and never will be perceived nor in Supposing that among those of them which have at some time been perceived many existed at times at which they were not being perceived I think it will now be clear to 284 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY every one that since I do not reckon as external things after images double images and bodily pains I also should not reckon as external things any of the images which we often see with the mind s eye when we are awake nor any of those which we see when we are asleep and dream ing and also that I was so using the expression external that from the fact that a man was at a given time having a visual hallucination it will follow that he was seeing at that time something which was not external to his mind and from the fact that he was at a given time having an audi tory hallucination it will follow that he was at the time hearing a sound which was not external to his mind But I certainly have not made my use of these phrases external to our minds and to be met with in space so clear that in the case of every kind of thing which might be sug gested you would be able to tell at once whether I should or should not reckon it as external to our minds and to be met with in space For instance I have said nothing which makes it quite clear whether a re ection which I see in a lookingglass is or is not to be regarded as a thing that is to be met with in space and external to our minds nor have I said anything which makes it quite clear whether the sky is or is not to be so regarded In the case of the sky every one I think would feel that it was quite inappropriate to talk of it as a thing that is to be met with in Space and most people I think would feel a strong reluctance to af rm without quali cation that re ections which people see in lookingglasses are to be met with in space And yet neither the sky nor re ections seen in mirrors are in the same position as bodily pains or afterimages in the respect which I have emphasized as a reason for saying of these latter that they are not to be met with in space namelY that there is an absurdity in supposing that the very 50W pain which I feel could be felt by some one else or that W very same afterimage which I see could be seen by 50113916 one else In the case of re ections in mirrors we shotil1d quite naturally in certain circumstances use language PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 285 which implies that another person may see the same re ec tion which we see We might quite naturally say to a frend Do you see that reddish re ection in the water there I can t make out what it s a re ection of just as we mightsay pointing to a distant hillside Do you see that white speck on the hill over there I can t make out what it is And in the case of the sky it is quite obviously not absurd to say that other people see it as well as I It must therefore be admitted that I have not made my use of the phrase things to be met with in space nor there fore that of external to our minds which the former was used to explain so clear that in the case of every kind of thing which may be mentioned there will be no doubt whatever as to whether things of that kind are or are not to be met with in space or external to our minds But this lack of a clearcut de nition of the expression things that are to be met with in Space does not so far as I can see matter for my present purpose For my present purpose it is I think suf cient if I make clear in the case of many kinds of things that I am so using the phrase things that are to be met with in space that in the case of each of these kinds from the proposition that there are things of that kind it llows that there are things to be met with in Space And I have in fact given a list though by no means an exhaustive one of kinds of things which are related to my use of the expression things that are to be met with in space in this way I mentioned among others the bodies of men and of animals plants stars houses chairs and shadows and I want now to emphasize that I am so using things to be met with in space that in the case of each of these kinds of things from the proposition that there are things of that kind it llows that there are things to be met with in space eg from the proposition that there are plants or that plants exist it llaws that there are things to be met with in space from the proposition that shadows exist it follows that there are things to be met with in space and so on in the case of all the kinds of 286 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY things which I mentioned in my rst list That this should be clear is suf cient for my purpose because if it is clear then it will also be clear that as I implied before if you have proved that two plants exist or that a plant and a dog exist or that a dog and a shadow exist ampc ampc you will z39pso facto have proved that there are things to be met with in space you will not require also to give a sepa rate proof that from the proposition that there are plants it does follow that there are things to be met with in space Now with regard to the expression things that are to be met with in space I think it will readily be believed that I may be using it in a sense such that no proof is required that from plants exist there follows there are things to be met with in space but with regard to the phrase things external to our minds I think the case is different People may be inclined to say I can see quite clearly that from the proposition At least two dogs exist at the present moment there follows the proposition At least two things are to be met with in space at the present moment so that if you can prove that there are two dogs in existence at the present moment you will 2pm faeto have proved that two things at least are to be met within space at the present moment I can see that you do not also require a separate proof that from Two dogs exist Two things are to be met with in space does follow it is quite obvious that there couldn t be a dog which wasn t to be met with in space But it is not by any means so clear to me that if you can prove that there are two dogs or two shadows you will z39pso faeto have proved that there are two things external to our minds Isn t it possible that a dog though it certainly must be to be met with in space might not be an external object an object external to our minds Isn t a separate proof required that anything that is to be met with in space must be external to our minds Of course if you are using external as a mere synonym for to be met with in space no proof will be required that dogs are external objects in that case if you can prove that two dogs exist you will 750 PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 287 faeto have proved that there are some external things But I nd it dif cult to believe that you or anybody else do really use external as a mere synonym for to be met with in space and if you don t isn t some proof required that what ever is to be met withinspace must be external to our minds Now Kant as we saw asserts that the phrases outside of us or external are in fact used in two very different senses and with regard to one of these two senses that which he calls the transcendental sense and which he tries to explain by saying that it is a sense in which external means existing as a thing in itself distinct from us it is notorious that he himself held that things which are to be met with in space are not external in that sense There is therefore according to him a sense of external a sense in which the word has been commonly used by philo sophers such that if external be used in that sense then from the proposition Two dogs exist it will not follow that there are some external things What this supposed sense is I do not think that Kant himself ever succeeded in ex plaining clearly nor do I know of any reason for supposing that philosophers ever have used external in a sense such that in that sense things that are to be met with in space are not external But how about the other sense in which according to Kant the word external has been com monly used that which he calls empirically external P How is this conception related to the conception to be met with in space It may be noticed that in the passages Which I quoted A 373 Kant himself does not tell us at all clearly what he takes to be the proper answer to this question He only makes the rather odd statement that in order to remove all uncertainty as to the conception Cmpirically external he will distinguish objects to which it applies from those which might be called external in the transcendental sense by calling them outright things which are to be met with in space These odd words certainly sug gest as one possible interpretation of them that in Kant s Opinion the conception empirically external is identical 288 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY with the conception to be met with in space that he does think that external when used in this second sense is a mere synonym for to be met with in space But if this is his meaning I do nd it very difficult to believe that he is right Have philosophers in fact ever used external as a mere synonym for to be met with in space Does he himself do so I do not think they have nor that he does himself and in order to explain how they have used it and how the two conceptions external to our minds and to be met with in space are related to one another I think it is important expressly to call attention to a fact which hitherto I have only referred to incidentally namely the fact that those who talk of certain things as external to our minds do in general as we should naturally expect talk of other things with which they wish to contrast the rst as in our minds It has of course been often pointed out that when in is thus used followed by my mind your mind his mind ampc in is being used metaphorically And there are some metaphorical uses of in followed by such expressions which occur in common speech and which we all understand quite well For instance we all understand such expressions as I had you in mind when I made that arrangement or I had you in mind when I said that there are some people who can t bear to touch a spider In these cases I was thinking of you can be used to mean the same as I had you in mind But it is quite certaln that this particular metaphorical use of in is not the one in which philosophers are using it when they contrast wh39c1t is in my mind with what is external to it On the col 139 trary in their use of external you will be external to HIV mind even at a moment when I have you in mind If We want to discover what this peculiar metaphorical 1156 Pf in my mind is which is such that nothing which 153 1n the sense we are now concerned with external to mY mind can ever be in it we need I think to COI ISIder instances of the sort of things which they would say 3139 C PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 289 in my mind in this special sense I have already mentioned three such instances which are I think sufficient for my present purpose any bodily pain which I feel any after image which I see with my eyes shut and any image which I see when I am asleep and dreaming are typical examples of the sort of thing of which philosophers have spoken as in my mind And there is no doubt I think that when they have spoken of such things as my body a sheet of paper a star in short physical objects generally as external they have meant to emphasize some important difference which they feel to exist between such things as these and such things as a pain an afterimage seen with closed eyes and a dreamimage But what difference What difference do they feel to exist between a bodily pain which I feel or an afterimage which I see with closed eyes on the one hand and my body itself on the other what difference which leads them to say that whereas the bodily pain and the afterimage are in my mind my body itself is not in my mind not even when I am feeling it and seeing it or thinking of it I have already said that one difference which there is between the two is that my body is to be met with in space whereas the bodily pain and the afterimage are not But I think it would be quite wrong to say that this is the difference which has led philo sophers to speak of the two latter as in my mind and of my 1301 as not in my mind The question what the difference is which has led them to Speak in this way is not I think at all an easy question to answer but I am going to try to give in brief outline What I think is a right answer It should I think be noted rst of all that the use of the word mind which is being ad0pted when it is said that any bodily pains which I feel are in my mind is one WhjCh is not quite in accordance with any usage common 1 1 Prdinary speech although we are very familiar with it in Ph OSOPhy Nobody I think would say that bodily pains Which I feel are in my mind unless he was also prepared XXV P p 290 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY to say that it is with my mind that I feel bodily pains and to say this latter is I think not quite in accordance with common non philosophic usage It is natural enough to say that it is with my mind that I remember and think and imagine and feel mental pains cg disappointment but not I think quite so natural to say that it is with my mind that I feel bodily pains eg a severe headache and perhaps even less natural to say that it is with my mind that I see and hear and smell and taste There is however a wellestablished phiIOSOphical usage according to which seeing hearing smelling tasting and having a bodily pain are just as much mental occurrences or processes as are remembering or thinking or imagining This usage was I think adopted by philosophers because they saw a real resemblance between such statements as I saw a cat I heard a clap of thunder I smelt a strong smell of onions My nger smarted horribly on the one hand and such statements as I remembered having seen him I was thinking out a plan of action I pictured the scene to myself I felt bitterly disappointed on the other a rc semblance which puts all these statements in one class together as contrasted with other statements in which I or my is used such as eg I was less than four feet high I was lying on my back My hair was very long What is the resemblance in question It is a resemblance which might be expressed by saying that all the rst eight state ments are the sort of statements which furnish data for psychology while the three latter are not It is also a resemblance which may be expressed in a way now Com mon among philosophers by saying that in the case of all the rst eight statements if we make the statement more speci c by adding a date we get a statement such that if it is true then it follows that I was having an experience at the date in question whereas this does not hold for the three last statements For instance if it is true that I Saw a cat between I2 noon and 5 minutes past today it 123110195 that I was having some experience between 12 noon an PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 291 5 minutes past to day whereas from the proposition that I was less than four feet high in December 1877 it does not follow that I had any experiences in December 1877 But this philosophic use of having an experience is one which itself needs explanation since it is not identical with any use of the expression that is established in common speech An explanation however which is I think adequate for the purpose can be given by saying that a philosopher who was following this usage would say that I was at a given time having an experience if and only if either I I was conscious at the time or 2 I was dreaming at the time or 3 something else was true of me at the time which resembled what is true of me when I am conscious and when I am dreaming in a certain very obvious respect in which what is true of me when I am dreaming resembles what is true of me when I am conscious and in which what would be true of me if at any time for instance I had a vision would resemble both This explanation is of course in some degree vague but I think it is clear enough for our purpose It amounts to saying that in this philosophic usage of having an experience it would be said of me that I was at a given time having no experi ence if I was at the time neither conscious nor dreaming nor having a vision nor anything else of the sort and of Course this is vague in so far as it has not been speci ed What else would be of the sort this is left to be gathered from the instances given But I think this is su icient Often at night when I am asleep I am neither conscious nor dreaming nor having a vision nor anything else Qf the sort that is to say I am having no experiences If this explanation of this philosophic usage of having an experi e1106 is clear enough then I think that what has been heant by saying that any pain which I feel or any after Wage which I see with my eyes closed is in my mind can be explained by saying that what is meant is neither more nor less than that there would be a contradiction in suppos 1118 that very some pain or that very same a erz39mage to have 292 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY existed at a time at which I was having no experience or in other words that frdm the proposition with regard to any time that that pain or that after image existed at that time it jbllows that I was having some experience at the time in question And if so then we can say that the felt difference between bodily pains which I feel and after images which I see on the one hand and my body on the other which has led philosophers to say that any such pain or afterimage is in my mind whereas my body never is but is always outside of or external to my mind is just this that whereas there is a contradiction in supposing a pain which I feel or an afterimage which I see to exist at a time when I am having no experience there is no contradic tion in supposing my body to exist at a time when I am having no experience and we can even say I think that just this and nothing more is what they have meant by these puzzling and misleading phrases in my mind and external to my mind But now if to say of anything eg my body that it is ex ternal to my mind means merely that from a proposition to39 the effect that it existed at a speci ed time there in no case follows the further proposition that I was having an experi ence at the time in question then to say of anything that it is external to our minds will mean similarly that from a proposition to the effect that it existed at a speci ed time it in no case follows that any of us were having experiences at the time in question And if by our minds be meant as is I think usually meant the minds of human beings living on the earth then it will follow that any pains which animals may feel any afterimages they may see any expcl l39 ences they may have though not external to their minds YCt39 are external to ours And this at once makes plain how dif ferent is the conception external to our minds from the con ception to be met with in space for of course pains which animals feel or afterimages which they see are no more to be met with in space than are pains which we feel or after images which we see From the proposition that there are l i PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 293 external objects objects that are not in any of our minds it does not follow that there are things to be met with in space and hence external to our minds is not a mere synonym for to be met with in space that is to say external to our minds and to be met with in space are two different conceptions And the true relation between these conceptions seems to me to be this We have already seen that there are ever so many kinds of things such that in the case of each of these kinds from the proposi tion that there is at least one thing of that kind there follows the proposition that there is at least one thing to be met with in space eg this follows from There is at least one star from There is at least one human body from There is at least one shadow ampc And I think we can say that of every kind of thing of which this is true it is also true that from the proposition that there is at least one thing of that kind there llows the proposition that there is at least one thing external to our minds eg from There is at least one star there follows not only There is at least one thing to be met with in space but also There is at least one external thing and similarly in all other cases My reason for saying this is as follows Consider any kind 0f thing such that anything of that kind if there is any thing of it must be to be met with in space eg consider the kind soapbubble If I say of anything which I am perceiving That is a soap bubble I am it seems to me certainly implying that there would be no contradiction in asserting that it existed before I perceived it and that it Will continue to exist even if I cease to perceive it This Seems to me to be part of what is meant by saying that it is a real soapbubble as distinguished for instance from an hallucination of a soapbubble Of course it by no means follows that if it really is a soapbubble it did in fact exist before I perceived it or will continue to exist after I cease t0 perceive it soapbubbles are an example of a kind of Physical object and thing to be met with in space in the case of which it is notorious that particular specimens 294 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADElVfY of the kind often do exist only so long as they are perceived by a particular person But a thing which I perceive would not be a soapbubble unless its existence at any given time were lagicnlbz independent of my perception of it at that time unless that is to say from the proposition with regard to a particular time that it existed at that time it never follows that I perceived it at that time But if it is true that it would not be a soapbubble unless it could have existed at any given time without being perceived by me at that time it is certainly also true that it would not be 39 a soap bubble unless it could have existed at any given time without its being true that I was having any experience of any kind at the time in question it would not be a soap bubble unless whatever time you take from the proposi tion that it existed at that time it does not follow that I was having any experience at that time That is to say from the proposition with regard to anything which I am per ceiving that it is a soapbubble there llows the proposi tion that it is external to my mind But if when I say that anything which I perceive is a soapbubble I am implying that it is external to my mind I am I think certainly also implying that it is also external to all other minds I am implying that it is not a thing of a sort such that things of that sort can only exist at a time when somebody is having an experience I think therefore that from any proposi tion of the form There s a soapbubble there does really follow the proposition There s an external object There 5 an object external to all our minds And if this is true 0f 39 y g the kind soapbubble it is certainly also true of any otthr i kind including the kind unicorn which is such that if there are any things of that kind it follows that there 31 i some things to be met with in space I think therefore that in the case of all kinds of thi gs which are such that if there is a pair of things both i which are of one of these kinds or a pair of things 01161 of which is of one of them and one of them of another the it will follow at once that there are some things to be metquot PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 295 with in space it is true also that if I can prove that there are a pair of things one of which is of one of these kinds and another of another or a pair both of which are of one of them then I shall have proved pro faeto that there are at least two things outside of us That is to say if I can prove that there exist now both a sheet of paper and a human hand I shall have proved that there are now things outside of us if I can prove that there exist now both a 39 shoe and sock I shall have proved that there are now things outside of us ampc and similarly I shall have proved it if I can prove that there exist now two sheets of paper or two human hands or two shoes or two socks ampc Obviously then there are thousands of different things such that if at any time I can prove any one of them I shall have proved the existence of things outside of us Cannot I prove any of these things It seems to me that so far from its being true as Kant declares to be his opinion that there is only one possible proof of the existence of things outside of us namely the one which he has giVen I can now give a large number of different proofs each of which is a perfectly rigorous proof and that at many other times I have been in a position to give many others I can prove now for instance that two human hands exist How By holding up my two hands and saying as I make a certain gesture with the right hand Here is one hand and adding as I make a certain gesture with the left and here is another And if by doing this I have proved ifsofaeto the existence of external things you Will all see that I can also do it now in numbers of other Ways there is no need to multiply examples But did I prove just now that two human hands were then 39in existence I do want to insist that I did that the proof Which I gave was a perfectly rigorous one and that it is Perhaps impossible to give a better or more rigorous proof of anything whatever Of course it would not have been a proof unless three conditions were satis ed namely 1 unless the premiss which I adduced as proof of the 296 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY conclusion was different from the conclusion I adduced it to prove 2 unless the premiss which I adduced was some thing which I knew to be the case and not merely some thing which I believed but which was by no means certain or something which though in fact true I did not know to be so and 3 unless the conclusion did really follow from the premiss But all these three conditions were in fact satis ed by my proof I The premiss which I adduced in proof was quite certainly different from the conclusion for the conclusion was merely Two human hands exist at this moment but the premiss was something far more speci c than this something which I expressed by show h ing you my hands making certain gestures and saying the words Here is one hand and here is another It is quite obvious that the two were different because it is quite obvious that the conclusion might have been true even if the premiss had been false In asserting the premiss I was asserting much more than I was asserting in asserting the conclusion 2 I certainly did at the moment know that which I expressed by the combination of certain gestures with saying the words There is one hand and here is another I knew that there was one hand in the place indicated by combining a certain gesture with my rst utterance of here and that there was another in the dif ferent place indicated by combining a certain gesture with my second utterance of here How absurd it would be to suggest that I did not know it but only believed it and that perhaps it was not the case You might as well suggtJSt that I do not know that I am now standing up and talkiflg that perhaps after all I m not and that it s not qultc certain that I am And nally 3 it is quite certain that the conclusion did follow from the premiss This is as certain 35 it is that if there is one hand here and another here now then it follows that there are two hands in existence now My proof then of the existence of things outside of us did satisfy three of the conditions necessary for a rigorous proof Are there any other conditions necessary for a rigol PROOF OF AN EXTERNAL WORLD 297 ous proof such that perhaps it did not satisfy one of them Perhaps there may be I do not know but I do want to em phasize that so far as I can see we all of us do constantly take proofs of this sort as absolutely conclusive proofs of cer tain conclusions as nally settling certain questions as to which we were previously in doubt Suppose for instance it were a question whether there were as many as three misprints on a certain page in a certain book A says there are B is inclined to doubt it How could A prove that he is right Surely he could prove it by taking the book turning to the page and pointing to three separate places on it saying There s one misprint here another here and another here surely that is a method by which it might be proved Of course A would not have proved by doing this that there were at least three misprints on the page in question unless it was certain that there was a misPrint in each of the places to which he pointed But to say that he might prove it in this way is to say that it might be certain that there was And if such a thing as that could ever be certain then assuredly it was certain just now that there was one hand in one of the two places I indicated and another in the other I did then just now give a proof that there were then external objects and obviously if I did I could then have given many other proofs of the same sort that there were external objects then and could now give many proofs of the same sort that there are external objects now 39 But if what I am asked to do is to prove that external Objects have existed in the post then I can give many dif ferent proofs of this also but proofs which are in important respects of a different sort from those just given And I Want to emphasize that when Kant says it is a scandal not to be able to give a proof of the existence of external objects a proof of their existence in the past would certainly help t0 remove the scandal of which he is speaking He says that if it occurs to any one to question their existence we Ought to be able to confront him with a satisfactory proof XXV Q q 5298 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEIVIY But by a person who questions their existence he certainly means not merely a person who questions whether any exist at the moment of speaking but a person who ques tions whether any have ever existed and a proof that some have existed in the past would certainly therefore be rele vant to part of what such a person is questioning How 39 then can I prove that there have been external objects in the past Here is one proof I can say I held up two hands above this desk not very long ago therefore two hands existed not very long ago therefore at least two external objects have existed at some time in the past QED This is a perfectly good proof provided I know what is asserted in the premiss But I do know that I held up two hands above this desk not very long ago As a matter of fact in this case you all know it too There s no doubt whatever that I did Therefore I have given a per fectly conclusive proof that external objects have existed in the past and you will all see at once that if this is a conclusive proof I could have given many others of the same sort and could now give many others But it is also39 quite obvious that this sort of proof differs in important respects from the sort of proof I gave just now that there were two hands existing then h I have then given two conclusive proofs of the existence of external objects The rst was a proof that two human hands existed at the time when I gave the proof the second was a proof that two human hands had existed at a time previous to that at which I gave the proof These proofs were of a different sort in important respects And I pointed out that I could have given then many otheliv conclusive proofs of both sorts It is also obvious that I I could give many others of both sorts now So that if these J are the sort of proof that is wanted nothing is easier than 39 F to prove the existence of external objects But now I am perfectly well aware that in spite of all that I have said many philosophers will still feel that 1 haw I not given any satiSfactory proof of the point in unStIQn 9 PROOF or AN EXTERNAL WORLD 299 And I want39brie y in conclusion to say something as to why this dissatisfaction with my proofs should be felt One reason why is I think this Some people under stand proof of an external world as including a proof of things which I haven t attempted to prove and haven t proved It is not quite easy to say what it is that they want proved what it is that is such that unless they got a proof of it they would not say that they had a proof of the existence of external things but I can make an approach to explain ing what they want by saying that if I had proved the propositions which I used as premisses in my two proofs then they would perhaps admit that I had proved the existence of external things but in the absence of such a proof which of course I have neither given nor at tempted to give they will say that I have not given what they mean by a proof of the existence of external things In other words they want a proof of what I assert now when I hold up my hands and say Here 3 one hand and here s another and in the other case they want a proof of what I assert now When I say I did hold up two hands above this desk just now Of course what they really want is not merely a proof of these two propositions but some thing like a general statement as to how any propositions of this sort may be proved This of course I haven t given and I do not believe it can be given if this is what is meant by proof of the existence of external things I do not believe that any proof of the existence of external things is possible Of course in some cases what might be called a proof of propositions which seem like these can be got If one of You suspected that one of my hands was arti cial he might be said to get a proof of my proposition Here s one hand and here s another by coming up and examining the Suspected hand close up perhaps touching and pressing it and so establishing that it really was a human hand But I do not believe that any proof is possible in nearly all Cases How am I to prove now that Here 3 one hand and here s another I do not believe I can do it In order to I rgwggeztfsm THE BRITISH AGADENIY artcs w dreaming But how can some people would feel dis th m proofs I th not merely this x sa S ed f if something which I haven t pro inofs want a pmo 0 that if I cannot give such extra p roof hat they t th t l have given are not conclusrve p 1 than the 00f athink is a de nite mistake They won 6 t an d ns prdve your premiss that here is or1t say If on Gain then you do not know 1t It If h Se ad tte hat if you dld not k10w00f on your not conclusive Therefore you p ew Prmf s it Was a conclusrve proo his v1 means to say i a5 e hand here 1 mg accePt it merely a Such a mew smeawwnsmaawa mr s I m 4 i I i39lm1 w quot M at l a y xu kui d c 39 I my aha 3 AF39Erv39lr w v a V an me quot I r 1 39 N h 39 m yquot aquotquotIh 39 quot 31 quot39 39 N v 1 m V Alalsinw w f 39 39 guardian of his honest work To young resear CHARLES BEMONT AND HIS SERVICES TO ENGLISH HISTORY HARLES BEMONT died in September 1939 at the age of ninety one While most English historians will think of him as the author of Simon de M ontfort and the editor of the R les garcons to the majority 0 four French colleagues he will stand as the embodiment of a great journal the man who saw the Revue historique through from the beginning read in all their stages the proofs of 18 5 volumes and com posed nine tables of indexes To that periodical he belonged all his working 1 ife in his hands the editorship implied a tradition as well as an office He was a true son of Paris Born in 1848 of humble parents his father came from the Ardennes he lived all his life on the rive gauche or at Croissy Where the elder B mont helped at the main39e In the summer Charles and his wife always went out to the family house in the peaceful village by the Seine returning to the capital in the autumn for the University term In Paris they were to be found in the comparative quiet of me Monsieur le Prince I well remember the rst impression that B mont made upon a Young student tall straight and alert a man of simple courtesy and openhandedness he seemed like a friendly torical studies a guarantor of probity and chers he had the same kind ation as c TF Tout He encouraged Cntlc1zed but never quenc bed the spirit For honours and preferment he cared not at all save for one dignity of WhICh he spoke with delight when at length it came membership of the Acad mie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres And he was please 1 and had himself photographed When Oxfordeanchester was to follow made him an honorary graduate It was natural that English learned Secreties should honour him for his writings and his outlook 0f heartening discrimin The Elements of Moral Philosophy SIXTH EDITION JAMES RACHELS Sixth Edition by STUART RACHELS M rim Higher Education 5 HIquot Boston Burr Ridge IL Dubuque IA New York San Francisco 39St Louis Bangkok Bogota Caracas Kuala Lumpur Lisbon London Madrid Mexico City Milan Montreal New Delhi Santiago Seoui Singapore Sydney Taipei Toronto CHAPTER 2 The Challenge of Cultural Relativism Morality differs in every society and is a convenient term for soc1ally a roved habits pp RUTH BENEDICT PATTERNS OF CULTURE 1934 21 Different Cultures Have Different Moral Codes Darius a king of ancient Persia was intrigued by the variety of cultures he met in his travels He had found for example that the Callatians who lived in India ate the bodies of then dead fathers The Greeks of course did not do that the Greeks practiced cremation and regarded the funeral pyre as the natural and tting way to dispose of the dead Darius thought that a sophisticated outlook should apprec1ate the differences between cultures One day to teach this lesson he summoned some Greeks who happened to be at his court and asked what it would take for them to eat the bodies of their dead fathers They were shocked as Darius knew they would be and replied that no amount of money could persuade them to do such a thing Then Darius called in some Callatians and whlle the Greeks listened asked them what it would take for them to burn their dead fathers bodies The Callatians were horrified and told Darius not to speak of such things I o This story recounted by Herodotus in his History lllus trates a recurring theme in the literature of soc1al science le ferent cultures have different moral codes What IS thought right within one group may horrify the members of another grOup and vice versa Should we eat the bodies of the dead or burn them If you were a Greek one answer would seem 14 THE CHALLENGE 0F CULTURAL RELATIVISM 15 obviously correct but if you were a Callatian the other answer would seem certain There are many such examples Consider the Eskimos of the early and mid 20th century The Eskimos are the native pe0ple of Alaska northern Canada Greenland and northeast ern Siberia in Asiatic Russia Today none of these groups call themselves Eskimos but the term has historically referred to that scattered Arctic population Prior to the 20th century the outside world knew little about them Then explorers began to bring back strange tales The Eskimos lived in small settlements separated by great distances and their customs turned out to be very different from ours The men often had more than one wife and they would share their wives with guests lending them out for the night as a sign of hospitality Moreover within a community a dominant male might demand and get regular sexual access to other men s wives The women however were free to break these arrangements simply by leaving their husbands and taking up with new partners free that is so long as their former husbands chose not to make too much trouble All in all the Eskimo custom of marriage was a volatile practice that bore little resemblance to our custom But it was not only their marriages and sexual practices that were different The Eskimos also seemed to have less regard for human life Infanticide for example was common Knud Rasmussen an early explorer reported that he met one woman who had borne 20 children but had killed 10 of them at birth Female babies he found were especially likely to be killed and this was permitted at the parents discretion with no social stigma attached Moreover when elderly family members became too feeble they were left out in the snow to die In Eskimo society there seemed to be remarkably little respect for life Most of us would nd these Eskimo customs completely immoral Our own way of living seems so natural and right that we can hardly conceive of living so differently When we hear of such things we tend to categorize the other people as back ward or primitive But to anthropologists the Eskimos did not seem unusual Since the time of Herodotus enlightened observers have known that conceptions of right and wrong dif fer from culture to culture If we assume that our ethical ideas will be shared by all cultures we are merely being naive 16 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY 22 Cultural Relativism To many people this observation Different cultures have different moral codes seems like the key to understanding morality The idea of universal truth in ethics they say is a myth The customs of different societies are all that exist To say that a custom is correct or incorrect would imply that we can judge that custom by some independent standard of right and wrong But no such standard exists they say every stan dard is culturebound The sociologist William Graham Sum ner writing in 1906 put it like this The right way is the way which the ancestors used and which has been handed down The notion of right is in the folkways It is not outside of them of independent origin and brought to test them In the folkways whatever is is right This is because they are traditional and there fore contain in themselves the authority of the ancestral ghosts When we come to the folkways we are at the end of our analysis This line of thought more than any other has persuaded peo ple to be skeptical about ethics Cultural Relativism as it has been called challenges our belief in the objectivity and univer sality of moral truth It says in effect that there is no such thing as universal truth in ethics there are only the various cultural codes and nothing more The following claims have all been made by cultural relativists 1 Different societies have different moral codes 2 The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society that is if the moral code of a soci ety says that a certain action is right then that action is right at least within that society 3 There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one society s code as better than another s There are no moral truths that hold for all peeple at all times 4 The moral code of our own society has no special sta tus it is but one among many 5 It is arrogant for us to judge other cultures We should always be tolerant of them THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 17 These ve propositions may seem to go together but they are independent of one another some may be true while others are false Indeed two of the propositions appear to be incon sistent with each other The second says that right and wrong are determined by the norms of a society the fth says that we should always be tolerant of other cultures But what if the norms of a society favor intolerance For example when the Nazi army invaded Poland on September 1 1939 thus begin ning World War II this was an intolerant action of the rst order But what if it was in line with Nazi ideals A cultural rela tivist it seems cannot criticize the Nazis for being intolerant if all they re doing is following their own moral code Given that cultural relativists take pride in their toler ance it would be ironic if their theory actually supported the intolerance of warlike societies However it need not do that Properly understood Cultural Relativism holds that the norms of a culture reign supreme within the bounds of the culture itself Thus once the German soldiers entered Poland they became bound by the norms of Polish society norms that obviously excluded the mass slaughter of innocent Poles When in Rome the old saying goes do as the Romans do Cultural relativists agree 23 The Cultural Differences Argument Cultural Relativists often employ a certain form of argument They begin with facts about cultures and end up drawing a conclusion about morality Thus they invite us to accept this reasonlng l The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead whereas the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead 2 Therefore eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong It is merely a matter of opin ion which varies from culture to culture 1 The Eskimos saw nothing wrong with infanticide whereas Americans believe infanticide is immoral 18 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY 2 Therefore infanticide is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong It is merely a matter of opinion which varies from culture to culture Clearly these arguments are variations of one fundamental idea They are both examples of a more general argument which says 1 Different cultures have different moral codes 2 Therefore there is no objective truth in morality Right and wrong are only matters of opinion and opinions vary from culture to culture We may call this the Cultural Differences Argument To many people it is persuasive But is it a good argument is it sound It is not For an argument to be sound its premises must all be true and the conclusion must follow logically from them Here the problem is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise that is even if the premise is true the conclusion might still be false The premise concerns what people believe in some societies people believe one thing in other socie ties people believe something else The conclusion however concerns what really is the case This sort of conclusion does not follow logically from that sort of premise In philosophical ter minology this means that the argument is invalid Consider again the example of the Greeks and Callatians The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead the Calla tians believed it was right Does it follow om the mere fact that they disagreed that there is no objective truth in the matter No it does not follow it could be that the practice was objectively right or wrong and that one of them was simply mistaken To make the point clearer consider a different matter In some societies people believe the earth is at In other socie ties such as our own people believe that the earth is spherical Does it follow from the mere fact that people disagree that there is no objective truth in geography Of course not we would never draw such a conclusion because we realize that the members of some societies might simply be wrong There is no reason to think that if the world is round everyone must know it Similarly there is no reason to think that if there is moral truth everyone must know it The Cultural Differences Argu ment tries to derive a substantive conclusion about a subject from the mere fact that people disagree But this is impossible THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 19 This point should not be misunderstood We are not say ing that the conclusion of the argument is false Cultural Rela tivism could still be true The point is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise This means that the Cultural Dif ferences Argument is invalid Thus the argument fails 24 What Follows from Cultural Relativism Even if the Cultural Differences Argument is unsound Cul tural Relativism might still be true What would follow if it were true In the passage quoted earlier William Graham Sumner states the essence of Cultural Relativism He says that there is no measure of right and wrong other than the standards of one s society The notion of right is in the folkways It is not outside of them of independent origin and brought to test them In the folkways whatever is is right Suppose we took this seriously What would be some of the consequences 1 We could no longer say that the customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own This of course is one of the main points stressed by Cultural Relativism We would have to stop condemning other societies merely because they are differ ent So long as we concentrate on certain examples such as the funerary practices of the Greeks and Callatians this atti tude may seem to be enlightened However we would also be barred from criticizing other less benign practices For example the Chinese government has a long history of repressing political dissent within its own borders At any given time thousands of political prisoners in China are doing hard labor and in the Tiananmen Square episode of 1989 Chinese troops slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of peaceful protesters Cultural Relativism would preclude us from saying that the Chinese government s poli cies of oppression are wrong We could not even say that a soci ety that respects free speech is better than Chinese society for that would also imply a universal standard of comparison The failure to condemn these practices does not seem enlightened on the contrary political oppression seems wrong wherever it occurs Nevertheless if we accept Cultural Relativism we have to regard such social practices as immune from criticism 2 We could no longer criticize the code of our own society Cul tural Relativism suggests a simple test for determining what is 20 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY right and what is wrong All we need to do is ask whether the action is in line with the code of the society in question Sup pose a resident of India wonders whether her country s caste system a system of rigid social hierarchy is morally correct All she has to do is ask whether this system conforms to her society s moral code If it does there is nothing to worry about at least from a moral point of view This implication of Cultural Relativism is disturbing because few of us think that our society s code is perfect we can think of ways in which it might be improved Moreover we can think of ways in which we might learn from other cul tures Yet Cultural Relativism stops us from criticizing our own society s code and it bars us from seeing ways in which other cultures might be better After all if right and wrong are rela tive to culture this must be true for our culture just as it is for other cultures 3 The idea of moral progress is called into doubt We think that at least some social changes are for the better Throughout most of Western history the place of women in society was nar rowly de ned Women could not own property they could not vote or hold political of ce and they were under the almost absolute control of their husbands or fathers Recently much of this has changed and most people think of it as progress But if Cultural Relativism is correct can we legitimately view this as progress Progress means replacing the old ways with new and improved ways But by what standard do we judge the new ways as better If the old ways conformed to the stan dards of their time then Cultural Relativism would not judge them by our standards Sexist 19th century society was a differ ent society from the one we have now To say that we have made progress implies that presentday society is better just the sort of transcultural judgment that Cultural Relativism forbids Our ideas about social reform will also have to be reconsid ered Reformers such as Martin Luther Kingr have sought to change their societies for the better But according to Cultural Relativism there is only one way to improve a society to make it better match its own ideals After all the society s ideals are the standard by which reform is assessed No one however may challenge the ideals themselves for they are by de nition cor rect According to Cultural Relativism then the idea of social reform makes sense only in this limited way i THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 21 These three consequences of Cultural Relativism have led many thinkers to reject it Slavery they say is wrong wherever it occurs and one s own society can make fundamental moral progress Because Cultural Relativism implies that these judg ments make no sense it cannot be right 25 Why There Is Less Disagreement Than It Seems 39 Cultural Relativism starts by observing that cultures differ dra matically in their views of right and wrong But how much do they really differ It is true that there are differences but it is easy to exaggerate them Often when we examine what seems to be a big difference we find that the cultures differ less than we thought Consider a culture in which people believe it is wrong to eat cows This may even be a poor culture in which there is not enough food still the cows are not to be touched Such a soci ety would appear to have values very different from our own But does it We have not yet asked why these people will not eat cows Suppose they believe that after death the souls of humans inhabit the bodies of animals especially cows so that a cow may be someone s grandmother Shall we say that their values are different from ours No the difference lies elsewhere The dif ference is in our belief systems not in our values We agree that we shouldn t eat Grandma we disagree about whether the cow could be Grandma The point is that many factors work together to produce the customs of a society Not only are the society s values impor tant but so are its religious beliefs its factual beliefs and its physical environment We cannot conclude that because cus toms differ values differ The difference in customs may be due to something else Thus there may be less disagreement about values than there appears39to be Consider again the Eskimos who killed perfectly healthy infants especially girls We do not approve of such things in our society a parent who kills a baby will be locked up Thus there appears to be a great difference in the values of our two cultures But suppose we ask why the Eskimos did this The explanation is not that they lacked respect for human life or 22 THE ELEMENTS OFMORAL PHILOSOPHY did not love their children An Eskimo family would always pro tect its babies if conditions permitted But the Eskimos lived in a harsh environment where food was in short supply To quote an old Eskimo saying Life is hard and the margin of safety small A family may want to nourish its babies but be unable to do so As in many traditional societies Eskimo mothers would nurse their infants over a much longer period than mothers in our culture for four years and perhaps even longer So even in the best of times one mother could sustain very few children Moreover the Eskimos were nomadic unable to farm in the harsh northern climate they had to move about in search of food Infants had to be carried and a mother could carry only one baby in her parka as she traveled and went about her outdoor work Finally the Eskimos lacked birth control so unwanted pregnancies were common Infant girls were more readily disposed of for two reasons First in Eskimo society the males were the primary food pro viders they were the hunters and food was scarce Infant boys were thus better protected Second the hunters suffered a high casualty rate so the men who died prematurely far out numbered the women who died young If male and female infants had survived in equal numbers then the female adult population would have greatly outnumbered the male adult population Examining the available statistics one writer con cluded that were it not for female infanticide there would be approximately oneand a half times as many females in the average Eskimo local group as there are foodproducing males So among the Eskimos infanticide did not signal a fun damentally different attitude toward children Instead it arose from the recognition that drastic measures were needed to ensure the family s survival Even then however killing the baby was not the first option considered Adoption was com mon childless couples were especially happy to take a fertile couple s surplus Killing was the last resort I emphasize this in order to show that the raw data of anthropology can be mis leading it can make the differences in values between cultures appear greater than they are The Eskimos values were not all that different from our own It is only that life forced choices upon them that we do not have to make THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 23 26 Some Values Are Shared by All Cultures It should not be surprising that the Eskimos were protective of their children How could they not be Babies are helpless and cannot survive without extensive care If a group did not protect its young the young would not survive and the older members of the group would not be replaced After a while the group would die out This means that any culture that contin ues to emst must care for its young Infants who are not cared for must be the exception rather than the rule Similar reasoning shows that other values must be more or less universal Imagine what it would be like for a society to place no value on truth telling When one person spoke to another there would be no presumption that she was telling the truth for she could just as easily be lying Within that soci ety there would be no reason to pay attention to what anyone says If I want to know what time it is why should I bother ask mg anyone if lying is commonplace Communication would be extremely dif cult if not impossible in such a society And because societies cannot exist without communication among their members society would become impossible It follows that every society must value truthfulness There may of course be Situations in which lying is thought to be okay No matter The society will still value honesty Consider another example Could a society exist in which there was no prohibition against murder What would this be like Suppose people were free to kill one another at will and no one disapproved In such a society no one could feel safe Everyone would have to be constantly on guard and to survive they would have to avoid other people as much as possible This would result in individuals tfying to become self sufficient after all associating with others would be dangerous Society on any large scale would collapse Of course people might band together in smaller groups where they could feel safe But notice what this means They would be forming smaller socie ties that did acknowledge a rule against murder The prohibi tlon against murder then is a necessary feature of society There is a general point here namely that there are some moral rules that all societies must embrace because those rules are nec essmy for society to exist The rules against lying and murder are two examples And in fact we do nd these rules in force in all 24 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY cultures Cultures may differ in what they regard as legitimate exceptions to the rules but this disagreement exists against a broad background of agreement Therefore it is a mistake to overestimate the amount of difference between cultures Not every moral rule can vary from society to society 27 Judging a Cultural Practice to Be Undesirable In 1996 a 17yearold named F auziya Kassindja arrived at N ew ark International Airport in New Jersey and asked for asylum She had ed her native country of Togo in West Africa to escape what people there call excision Excision is a perma nently dis guring procedure It is sometimes called female circumcision but it bears little resemblance to male circumci sion In the Western media it is often referred to as female genital mutilation According to the World Health Organization excision is practiced in 28 African nations and about 120 million females have been painfully excised Sometimes excision is part of an elaborate tribal ritual performed in small villages and girls look forward to it because it signals their acceptance into the adult world Other times the practice is carried out in cities on young women who desperately resist Fauziya Kassindja was the youngest of five daughters Her father who owned a successful trucking business was opposed to excision and he was able to defy the tradition because of his wealth His first four daughters were married without being mutilated But when Fauziya was 16 he suddenly died She then came under the authority of her aunt who arranged a marriage for her and prepared to have her excised Fauziya was terri ed and her mother and oldest sister helped her escape In America F auziya was imprisoned for nearly 18 months while the authorities decided what to do with her During this time she was subjected to humiliating strip searches denied medical treatment for her asthma and generally treated like a criminal Finally she was granted asylum but not before her case aroused a great controversy The controversy was not about her treatment in America but about how we should regard the cultural practices of other peoples A series of articles in The ww a THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 25 New York Times encouraged the idea that excision is barbaric and should be condemned Other observers were reluctant to be so judgmental Live and let live they said after all our cul ture probably seems just as strange to other peOples Suppose we are inclined to say that excision is bad Would we merely be imposing the standards of our own culture If Cultural Relativism is correct that is all we can do for there is no cultureindependent moral standard to appeal to But is that true Is There a CultureIndependent Standard of Right and Wrong Excision is bad in many ways Itis painful and results in the permanent loss of sexual pleasure Its shortterm effects can include hemorrhage tetanus and septicemia Sometimes the woman dies Its longterm effects can include chronic infec tion scars that hinder walking and continuing pain Why then has it become a widespread social practice It is not easy to say The practice has no obvious social bene ts Unlike Eskimo infanticide it is not necessary for group survival Nor is it a matter of religion Excision is practiced by groups from various religions including Islam and Christianity Nevertheless a number of reasons are given in its defense Women who are incapable of sexual pleasure are less likely to be promiscuous thus there will be fewer unwanted pregnan cies in unmarried women Moreover wives for whom sex is only a duty are less likely to cheat on their husbands and because they are not thinking about sex they will be more attentive to the needs of their husbands and children Husbands for their part are said to enjoy sex more with wives who have been excised Unexcised womenuthe men feel are unclean and immature It would be easy and perhaps a bit arrogant to ridicule these arguments But notice an important feature of them They try to justify excision by showing that excision is beneficial men women and their families are said to be better off when women are excised Thus we might approach the issue by ask ing whether this is true Is excision on the whole helpful or harmful In fact this is a standard that might reasonably be used in thinking about any social practice Does the practice promote or 26 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY hinder the welfare of the people re ected by it But this looks like just the sort of independent moral standard that Cultural Relativ ism says cannot exist It is a single standard that may be brought to bear in judging the practices of any culture at any time including our own Of course people will not usually see this principle as being brought in from the outside to judge them because all cultures value human happiness Why Despite All This Thoughtful People May Be Reluctant to Criticize Other Cultures Many people who are horri ed by excision are nevertheless reluctant to condemn it for three reasons First there is an understandable nervousness about interfering in the social customs of other peoples Europeans and their cultural descendants in America have a shameful his tory of destroying native cultures in the name of Christianity and enlightenment Because of this some people refuse to criticize other cultures especially cultures that resemble those that were wronged in the past There is a difference however between a judging a cultural practice to be de cient and b thinking that we should announce that fact apply diplo matic pressure and send in the troops The rst is just a matter of trying to see the world clearly from a moral point of view The second is something else entirely Sometimes it may be right to do something about it but often it will not be Second people may feel rightly enough that they should be tolerant of other cultures Tolerance is no doubt a virtue a tolerant person can live in peace with those who see things differently But nothing about tolerance requires us to say that all beliefs all religions and all social practices are equally admirable On the contrary if we did not think that some things were better than others there would be nothing for us to tolerate Finally people may be reluctant to judge because they do not want to express contempt for the society being criticized But again this is misguided To condemn a particular practice is not to say that the culture on the whole is contemptible or is inferior to any other culture The culture could have many admi rable features In fact we should expect this to be true of most human societies they are mixtures of good and bad practices Excision happens to be one of the bad ones 53 I THE CHALLENGE 39OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 27 28 Back to the Five Claims Let us now return to the ve tenets of Cultural Relativism that were listed earlier How have they fared in our discussion 1 Different societies have different moral codes This is certainly true although there are some values that all cultures share such asthe value of truth telling the impor tance of caring for the young and the prohibition against murder Also when customs differ the underlying reason will often have more to do with the factual beliefs of the cultures than with their values 2 The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society that is if the moral code of a soci ety says that a certain action is right then that action is right at least within that society Here we must bear in mind the difference between what a soci ety believes about morals and what is really true The moral code of a society is closely tied to what people in that society believe to be right However that code and those people can be in error Earlier we considered the example of excision a bar baric practice endorsed by many societies Consider three more examples all of which involve the mistreatment of women In 2002 an unwed mother in Nigeria was sentenced to be stoned to death for having had sex out of wedlock It is unclear whether Nigerian values on the whole approved of this verdict since it was later overturned by a higher court However it was overturned partly to appease the international community When the Nigerians themselves heard the verdict being read out in the courtroom the crowd shouted out their approval In 2005 a woman from Australia was convicted of trying to smuggle nine pounds of marijuana into Indonesia For that crime she was sentenced to 20 years in prison an excessive punishment Under Indonesian law she might even have received a death sentence 0 In 2007 a woman was gangraped in Saudi Arabia When she complained to the police the police discovered in the course of their investigation that she had recently 28 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY been alone with a man she was not related to For this crime she was sentenced to ninety lashes When she appealed the conviction this angered the judges and they increased her sentence to 200 lashes plus a six month prison term Eventually the Saudi king pardoned her though he said that he supported the sentence she had received Cultural Relativism holds in effect that societies are morally infallible in other words that the morals of a culture can never be wrong But when we see that societies can and do endorse grave injustices we see that societies like their members can be in need of moral improvement 3 There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one society s code as better than another s There are no moral truths that hold for all people at all times It is difficult to think of ethical principles that hold for all peo ple at all times However if we are to criticize the practice of slavery or stoning or genital mutilation and if such practices are really and truly wrong then we must appeal to principles that are not tethered to one society s peculiar outlook Earlier I suggested one such principle that it always matters whether a practice promotes or hinders the welfare of the people affected by it 4 The moral code of our own society has no special sta tus it is but one among many It is true that the moral code of our society has no special sta tus After all our society has no heavenly halo around its bor ders our values do not have any special standing just because we happen to believe them However to say that the moral code of one s own society is merely one among many seems to deny the possibility that one moral code might be better or worse than some others Whether the moral code of one s own society is merely one among many is in fact an open ques tion That code might be one of the best it might be one of the worst 5 It is arrogant for us to judge other cultures We should always be tolerant of them THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 29 There is much truth in this but the point is overstated We are often arrogant when we criticize other cultures and toler ance is generally a good thing However we shouldn t tolerate everything Human societies have done terrible things audit is a mark of progress when we can say that those things are in the past 29 What We Can Learn from Cultural Relativism So far in discussing Cultural Relativism I have dwelt mostly on its shortcomings I have said that it rests on an unsound argu ment that it has implausible consequences and that it suggests greater moral disagreement than exists This all adds up to a rather thorough repudiation of the theory Nevertheless you may have the feeling that all this is a little unfair The theory must have something going for it why else has it been so in u ential In fact I think there is something right about Cultural Relativism and there are two lessons we should learn from it First Cultural Relativisrn warns us quite rightly about the danger of assuming that all our preferences are based on some absolute rational standard They are not Many but not all of our practices are merely peculiar to our society and it is easy to lose sight of that fact In reminding us of it the theory does us a service Funerary practices are one example The Callatians according to Herodotus were men who eat their fathers a shocking idea to us at least But eating the esh of the dead could be understood as a sign of respect It could be taken as a symbolic act that says We wish this person s spirit to dwell within us Perhaps this is how the Callatians saw it On 1118 way of thinking burying the dead could be seen as an act of rejec tion and burning the corpse as positively scornful Of course we may feel a visceral repugnance at the idea of eating human esh But so what This repugnance may be as the relativists say only a re ection of our own society 39 There are many other matters that we tend to think of 1n terms of right and wrong that are really nothing more than social conventions Consider monogamous marriage Why must we lock ourselves into just one romantic relationship Some people 30 THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY practice polyamory which is having more than one loving part ner with the consent of everyone involved Polyamory includes group marriages such as quads involving four people open relationships networks of interconnecting relationships and so on Some of these arrangements might work better than others but this is not really a matter of morality If four people want to live together and function as a single family with love owing from each to each there is nothing morally wrong with that But most people in our society would be horrified by it Or consider modesty of dress During the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show Justin Timberlake ripped off part ofjanet jackson s costume thus exposing one of her breasts to the audience CBS quickly cut to an aerial view of the stadium but it was too late Half a million viewers complained and the fed eral government ned CBS 550000 In America a publicly exposed breast is considered scandalous In other cultures however such displays are common Objectively speaking the display of a woman s breast is neither right nor wrong Cultural Relativism begins with the valuable insight that many of our practices are like this they are only cultural products Then it goes wrong by inferring that because some practices are like this all of them must be The second lesson has to do with keeping an open mind In the course of growing up each of us has acquired some strong feelings We have learned to think of some types of con duct as acceptable and we have learned to reject others Occa sionally we may nd those feelings challenged For example we may have been taught that homosexuality is immoral and we may feel uncomfortable around gay people and see them as alien and perverted But then someone suggests that this may be prejudice that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality that gay people are just people like anyone else who happen to be attracted to members of the same sex Because we feel so strongly about this we may nd it hard to take this line of rea soning seriously Cultural Relativism provides an antidote for this kind of dogmatism When he tells the story of the Greeks and Calla tians Herodotus adds For if anyone no matter who were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations of the world is 5 g THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 31 the set of beliefs which he thought best he would inevi tably after careful consideration of their relative merits choose that of his own country Everyone without excep tion believes his own native customs and the religion he was brought up in to be the best Realizing this can help broaden our minds We can see that our feelings are not necessarily perceptions of the truth they may be nothing more than the result of cultural conditioning Thus when we hear it suggested that some element of our social code is not really the best and we nd ourselves resisting the sugges tion we might stop and remember this Then we will be more open to discovering the truth whatever it might be We can understand the appeal of Cultural Relativism then despite its shortcomings It is an attractive theory because it is based on a genuine insight that many of the practices and attitudes we nd natural are really only cultural products Moreover keeping this thought rmly in View is important if we want to avoid arrogance and keep an open mind These are important points not to be taken lightly But we can accept them without accepting the whole theory EUTHYPHRO EYGYGPDN PLATO HAATDN EUTHYPHRO EYGY PQN PLATO HAATQN Translated by Cathal Woods and Ryan Pack 2010 2007 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 30 License To view a copy of this license visit http creativecornInonsorg licenses byncnd 30 or send a letter to Creative Commons 171 Second Street Suite 300 San Francisco California 94105 USA 2a 3a Euthyphro 1 Euthyphro Euth What new thing has happened Socrates that you have abandoned your stomping grounds in the Lyceum and are now spending your time here around the porch of the king For surely you too are not involved in some suit before the king as I am Socrates So No Euthyphro the Athenians don39t just call it a suit but a public indictment Euth What do you mean Someone has indicted you I suppose since I certainly wouldn39t accuse you of the opposite you indicting someone else So Certainly not Euth So someone else is indicting you So Absolutely Euth Who is this person So I don39t know the man very well myself Euthyphro I think he is a young and unknown person Anyway I believe they call him Meletos He is from the Pitthean deme if you know of a Meletos from Pitthos with straight hair not much of a beard and with a slightly hooked nose Euth I don39t know him Socrates But what charge has he indicted you on So On what charge It39s no minor charge I think as it39s no small thing for a young man to be knowledgeable about so important an issue For he he says knows how the young are corrupted and who their corruptors are He39s probably somebody wise and having seen how I in my ignorance corrupt the people of his generation he is coming to tattle on me to the city as though it were his mother And he alone seems to me to be starting out in politics correctly because the correct way is to first gives one39s attention to how our young people will be the best possible just as a good farmer probably cares first for his young plants and after this to the others as well And so Meletos too is presumably first weeding out we who corrupt the sprouting young people as he puts it Then after this it39s clear that having turned his attention to the older people he will become a source of many great goods for the city as is likely to happen to him when he starts off in this way Euth I wish it were so Socrates but I39m terrified that the opposite might happen Because it seems to me that by trying to wrong you he is starting out by recklessly harming the hearth of the city Do tell me just what does he say you39re doing to corrupt the young So Terrible things you remarkable man at least to hear him describe them since he says I am a maker of gods and because I make novel gods and do not acknowledge the old ones he indicts me for their sake he says Euth I understand Socrates It39s because you say that divine sign comes to you occasionally He has lodged this indictment because of your innovative religious ideas And he is therefore coming to the court intending to slander you knowing that such things are easily misrepresented to the many Indeed in my case too whenever I say something in the assembly about religious matters foretelling the future for them they ridicule me as a madman and yet I said nothing that was not true in what I foretold Even so they envy all of us who are like this 4a Euthyphro 2 We should think nothing of them but fight them on their own ground So But my dear Euthyphro being ridiculed is probably no big deal indeed it seems to me that it doesn39t matter much to the Athenians if they think someone is clever provided that he is not capable of teaching his wisdom But they become outraged with anyone they suspect of also trying to shape others in some way whether because they are envious as you claim or for some other reason Euth Which is why I have no great desire to have it put to the test how they feel about me So It39s probably because you seem to rarely make yourself available and appear unwilling to teach your wisdom whereas I fear that because of my love of people I strike them as someone who is bursting to talk to everybody and not just without demanding payment but would even be glad to compensate anyone who was willing to listen to me So as l was saying if they intend to laugh at me as you said happened to you there would be nothing unpleasant about spending time in court playing around and laughing But if they are going to be serious in that case it39s unclear how things will turn out except to you prophets Euth Well it will probably be nothing Socrates and you will fight your case satisfactorily as I think I will fight mine too So Yes what exactly is your suit Euthyphro Are you defending or prosecuting it Euth I am prosecuting So Whom Euth A man whom by pursuing I will again appear crazy So But why You39re pursuing someone who ies Euth He is long way from flying since he happens to be well advanced in years So Who is he Euth My own father So Your father you fantastic fellow Euth Absolutely So But what is the charge and what are the circumstances Euth Murder Socrates So Heracles I think most people wouldn39t know how to act properly in such a case since I don39t think that just anyone could take care of this correctly but only someone I suspect who has progressed a long way in wisdom Euth By Zeus a long way indeed Socrates So Surely the person killed by your father is one of your relatives It must be since you would not prosecute him for murder on behalf of a stranger Euth It39s ridiculous Socrates that you think that it makes a difference whether the man killed is a stranger or a relative and don39t think it is necessary to watch only for this whether the killer killed legally or not and if it was legal to let him go and if not to prosecute him if the killer that is shares one39s hearth and eats at the same table Because the pollution is the same if you are aware that you share the guilt and do not both purify yourself and prosecute him in law 5a Euthyphro 3 The victim as a matter of fact was one of my laborers and when we were farming in Naxos he was employed by us there When he was drunk and had been provoked by another one of our household he slit this man39s throat So my father bound his feet and hands threw him into some ditch and sent a man here to inquire of the interpreter of religious law about what should be done But during that time he paid no attention to the bound man and neglected him as a murderer and thought nothing of it if he died as well which is in fact what happened since he died of hunger and cold and confinement before the messenger returned from the interpreter That39s why both my father and my other relatives are angry because I am prosecuting my father on behalf of a murderer when he didn39t kill him they say or if he did in fact kill him well since the man he killed was a murderer one should not be concerned about such people because they say it39s unholy for a son to prosecute his father for murder not really knowing Socrates how the religious law stands with respect to holiness and unholiness So But before Zeus Euthyphro do you think you have such accurate knowledge about how the religious laws stand about both piety and impiety that with these things having taken place in the way you describe you are not afraid that by prosecuting your father you in turn might be committing an impiety Euth I would be of no use Socrates and neither would Euthyphro be better than the majority of men if I did not have accurate knowledge of all such matters So In that case it would be excellent for me to become a student of yours marvelous Euthyphro and prior to this dispute with Meletos I will challenge him in this very way saying that while even in the past I used to make knowledge of religious law my top priority now because he says I err by judging rashly and innovating with respect to the religious laws I have also become your student And I would say quotIf you agree Meletos that Euthyphro is wise in such matters then believe that I too worship properly and do not charge me If not see about bringing a charge against him my teacher rather than me since he corrupts the elderly me and his father by teaching me and by rebuking and chastising himquot And if he is not convinced by me and doesn39t withdraw the charge or indict you in my place shouldn39t I say the exact same thing in court as I said in challenging him Euth Yes by Zeus Socrates If he tried to indict me I think I would uncover in what way he is unsound and we would find that the discussion in court would be about him long before it was about me So And indeed my dear Euthyphro I recognize this and want to become a student of yours seeing how practically everyone else and this person Meletos pretends not to notice you but he sees through me so clearly and easily that he indicts me for impiety So now by Zeus explain to me what you were just now affirming to know clearly what sort of thing do you say holiness is and unholiness with respect to both murder and everything else Or isn39t the pious the same as itself in every action and the impious in turn is the complete opposite of the pious but the same 6a Euthyphro 4 as itself and everything that in fact turns out to be impious has a single form with respect to its impiousness Euth It certainly is Socrates So So tell me what do you say the pious is and what is the impious Euth Well now I claim that the pious is what I am doing now prosecuting someone who is guilty of wrongdoing either of murder or temple robbery or anything else of the sort whether it happens to be one39s father or mother or whoever else and the impious is failing to prosecute For observe Socrates how great a proof I will give you that this is how the law stands one I have already given to others as well which shows such actions to be correct not yielding to impious people that is no matter who they happen to be Because these very people also happen to worship Zeus as the best and most just of the gods and agree that he put his own father in bonds because he unjustly swallowed his sons and the father too castrated his own father for other similar reasons Yet they are sore at me because I am prosecuting my father for his injustice And so they contradict themselves concerning the gods and me So Maybe this Euthyphro is why I am being prosecuted for this crime that whenever someone says such things about the gods for some reason I find them hard to accept On account of which I suppose someone will claim I misbehave So now if you with your expertise in such matters also share these beliefs with us it39s surely necessary I suppose that we too must agree for indeed what can we say we who admit openly that we know nothing about these matters But before the god of friendship tell me do you truly believe these things happened like this Euth These and still more amazing things Socrates that the many are unaware of So And do you believe there is really a war amongst the gods with terrible feuds even and battles and many other such things such as are recounted by the poets and the holy artists and that have been elaborately decorated for us on sacred objects too and especially the robe covered with such designs which is brought up to the acropolis at the great Panathenaea Are we to say that these things are true Euthyphro Euth Not only these Socrates but as I said just now I could describe many other things about the divine laws to you in addition if you want which I am sure you will be astounded to hear So I wouldn39t be surprised But you can describe these to me at leisure some other time For the time being however try to describe more clearly what I asked you just now since previously my friend you did not teach me well enough when I asked what the pious was but you told me that what you39re doing is something pious prosecuting your father for murder Euth And I spoke the truth too Socrates So Perhaps But in fact Euthyphro you say there are many other pious things Euth Indeed there are So So do you remember that I did not request this from you to 7a Euthyphro 5 teach me one or two of the many pious things but to teach me the form itself by which everything pious is pious For you said that it39s by one form that impious things are somehow impious and pious things pious Or don39t you remember Euth I certainly do So So then tell me whatever this form itself is so that by looking at it and using it as a paradigm I can declare anything of that kind that you or anyone else might do to be pious and if it is not of that kind that it is not Euth Well if that39s what you want Socrates that39s what I39ll tell you So That39s exactly what I want Euth Well what is beloved by the gods is pious and what is not beloved by them is impious So Excellent Euthyphro With this you have answered in the way I was looking for you to answer Whether truly or not that I don39t quite know but it39s clear that you will spell out how what you say is true Euth Absolutely So Come then let39s look at what we said An action or a person that is beloved by the gods is pious while an action or person that is despised by the gods is impious It is not the same but the complete opposite the pious to the impious Isn39t that so Euth Indeed it is So And this seems right Euth I think so Socrates So But wasn39t it also said that that gods are at odds with each other and disagree with one another and that there are feuds among them Euth Yes it was So Disagreement about what is the cause of the hatred and anger my good man Let39s look at it this way If we disagree you and I about quantity over which of two groups is greater would our disagreement over this make us enemies and angry with each other or wouldn39t we quickly resolve the issue by resorting to counting Euth Certainly So And again if we disagreed about bigger and smaller we would quickly put an end to the disagreement by resorting to measurement Euth That39s right So And we would weigh with scales I presume to reach a decision about heavier and lighter Euth How else So Then what topic exactly would divide us and what decision would we be unable to reach such that we would be enemies and angry with one another Perhaps you don39t have an answer at hand so see while I39m talking whether it39s the just and the unjust and the noble and shameful and the good and the bad Isn39t it these things that divide us and about which we39re not able to come to a satisfactory decision and so become enemies of one another whenever that happens whether it39s me and you or any other men Euth It is indeed this disagreement Socrates and over these things So And what about the gods Euthyphro If they indeed disagree 8a Euthyphro 6 over something don39t they disagree over these very things Euth It39s undoubtedly necessary So Then some of the gods think different things to be just according to you worthy Euthyphro and noble and shameful and good and bad since they surely wouldn39t be at odds with one another unless they were disagreeing about these things Right Euth You39re right So And so what each group thinks is noble and good and just they also love these thing and they hate the things that are the opposites of these Euth Certainly So Then according to you some of them think that these things are just while others think they are unjust the things that because there39s a dispute they are at odds about and are at war over Isn39t this so Euth It is So The same things it seems are both hated by the gods and loved and so would be both despised and beloved by them Euth It seems so So And the same things would be both pious and impious Euthyphro according to this argument Euth I39m afraid so So So you haven39t answered what I was asking you remarkable man Because I didn39t ask you for what is both pious and impious at once and as it appears both beloved and despised by the gods As a result Euthyphro it wouldn39t be surprising if in doing what you39re doing now punishing your father you were doing something beloved by Zeus but despised by Kronos and Ouranos and while it is dear to Hephaistos it is despised by Hera and if any other god disagrees with another on the subject your action will also appear the same way to them Euth But I believe Socrates that on this matter at least none of the gods will disagree with any other that any man who has killed another person unjustly need not pay the penalty So What39s that Have you never heard any man arguing that someone who killed unjustly or did something else unjustly should not pay the penalty Euth There39s no end to these arguments both outside and inside the courts since people commit so many injustices and do and say anything to escape the punishment So Do they actually agree that they are guilty Euthyphro and despite agreeing they nonetheless say that they shouldn39t pay the penalty Euth They don39t agree on that at all So So they don39t do or say everything since I think they don39t dare to make this claim nor do they argue that if they in fact are guilty they should not pay the penalty but I think they claim that they39re not guilty Ri ht g Euth That39s true So So they don39t argue at least that the guilty person shouldn39t pay the penalty but perhaps they argue about who the guilty party is and what he did and when 9a Euthyphro 7 Euth That39s true So Doesn39t the very same thing happen to the gods too if indeed as you said they are at odds about just and unjust things some saying that a god commits an injustice against another one while others deny it But absolutely no one at all you remarkable man either god or human dares to say that the guilty person need not pay the penalty Euth Yes What you say is true Socrates for the most part So But I think that those who quarrel Euthyphro both men and gods if the gods actually quarrel argue over the particulars of what was done Differing over a certain action some say that it was done justly others that it was done unjustly Isn39t that so Euth Certainly So Come now my dear Euthyphro So that I can become wiser teach me too what evidence you have that all gods think the man was killed unjustly the one who committed murder while he was working for you and was bound by the master of the man he killed and died from his bonds before the servant could learn from the interpreters what ought to be done in his case and is the sort of person on whose behalf it is proper for a son to prosecute his father and make an allegation of murder Come try to give me a clear indication of how in this case all gods believe beyond doubt that this action is proper If you could point this out to me satisfactorily I would never stop praising you for your wisdom Euth But this is probably quite a task Socrates though I could explain it to you very clearly even so So I understand It39s because you think I39m a slower learner than the judges since you could make it clear to them in what way these actions are unjust and how the gods all hate such things Euth Very clear indeed Socrates if only they would listen to me when I talk So Of course they39ll listen so long as they think you speak well But while you were speaking the following occurred to me I39m thinking to myself quotEven if Euthyphro convincingly shows me that every god thinks this kind of death is unjust what more will I have learned from Euthyphro about what the pious and the impious are Because while this particular deed might by despised by the gods as is likely it was already apparent just a moment ago that the pious and impious aren39t defined this way since we saw that what is despised by the gods is also beloved by themquot So I acquit you of this Euthyphro If you want let us allow that all gods think this is unjust and that all of them despise it But this current correction to the definition that what all the gods despise is impious while what they love is pious and what some love and some hate is neither or both do you want us to now define the pious and the impious in this way Euth Well what is stopping us Socrates So For my part nothing Euthyphro but see whether you will teach me what you promised as easily as possible by adopting this definition Euth l for my part affirm the claim that the pious is what all the gods love and the opposite what all gods hate is impious So Let39s see again Euthyphro whether it39s well stated Or will we 10a Euthyphro 8 be content to simply accept our own definition or the definition of others agreeing that it is right just because somebody says it is Or must we examine what the speaker is saying Euth We must examine it But I39m quite confident that what we have now is well put So We39ll soon know better my good man Think about this Is the pious loved by the gods because it39s pious or it is pious because it is loved Euth I don39t know what you mean Socrates So I39ll try to express myself more clearly We speak of something being carried and of carrying and being led and leading and being seen and seeing and so you understand that all of these are different from one another and in why way they are different Euth I think I understand So So there39s a thing loved and different from this there39s the thing that loves Euth How could there not be So Then tell me whether what is carried is a carried thing because it is carried or because of something else Euth No it39s because of this So And also what is led because it is led and what is seen because it is seen Euth Absolutely So So it is not that because it is something seen it is seen but the opposite that because it is seen it is something seen And it is not because it is something led that it is led but because it is led it is something led And it is not because it is something carried that it is carried but because it is carried it is something carried Is it becoming clear what I39m trying to say Euthyphro I mean this that if something becomes or is affected by something it39s not because it is a thing coming to be that it comes to be but because it comes to be it is a thing coming into being Nor is it affected by something because it is a thing that is affected but because it is affected it is a thing that is being affected Or don39t you agree Euth I do So And is a loved thing either a thing that comes to be or is affected by some thing Euth Certainly So And does the same apply to this as the previous ones it is not because it is a loved thing that it is loved by those who love it but it is a loved thing because it is loved Euth Necessarily So So what do we say about the pious Euthyphro Precisely that is it loved by all the gods according to your statement Euth Yes So Is it because of this that it is pious or because of something else Euth No it39s because of this So Isn39t it because it is pious that it is loved and it39s not because it is loved that it is pious Euth It seems so 11a Euthyphro 9 So It must be that it39s because it is loved by the gods that it is a loved thing and what is beloved by the gods is beloved Euth How could it not So So the beloved is not pious Euthyphro nor is the pious beloved by the gods as you claim but the one is different from the other Euth How so Socrates So Because we agree that the pious is loved because of this that is because it39s pious and we don39t agree that it is pious because it is loved Right Euth Yes So The beloved on the other hand because it is loved by gods is beloved due to this very act of being loved and it is not because it is beloved that it is being loved Euth That39s true So But if the beloved and the pious were in fact the same my dear Euthyphro then if the pious were loved because of being the pious then the beloved would be loved because of being the beloved and again if the beloved was beloved because of being loved by gods the pious would also be pious by being loved But as it is you see that the two are opposites and are completely different from one another since the one is lovable because it is loved while the other is loved because it is lovable So I39m afraid Euthyphro that when you were asked what in the world the pious is you did not want to reveal its nature to me but wanted to tell me some one of its qualities that the pious has this quality it is loved by all the gods but as for what it is you did not say at all So if I am dear to you don39t keep me in the dark but tell me again from the beginning what in the world the pious is And we won39t differ over whether it is loved by the gods or whatever else happens to it but tell me without delay what is the pious and the impious Euth But Socrates l have no way of telling you what I39m thinking because somehow whatever I put forward for us always wanders off and doesn39t want to stay where we put it So The things you say Euthyphro seem to belong to my ancestor Daidalos And if I were saying them and putting them forward perhaps you would be joking about how my works made of words run away even on me on account of my relationship to him and don39t want to stay wherever a person might put them But at present these propositions are yours and so we have to find some other joke since they don39t want to stay put for you as even you yourself admit Euth It seems to me that pretty much the same joke applies to what was said Socrates since I am not the inspiration for their wandering off and their refusal to stay in the same place Rather it seems to me that you are Daidalos since they would stay in place just fine for me at least So Then I39m afraid my friend that I39ve become more skilled than the man himself in the craft to the extent that while he could only make his own works move I can do so to others39 works as well as my own And to my mind this is the most exquisite thing about my skill that I am unintentionally clever since I wanted the words to stay put for me and to be fixed motionless more than to have the money of Tantalos and the skill 12a Euthyphro 10 of Daidalos combined But enough of this Since I think you are spoiled I myself will help you educate me about the pious So don39t give up the task See whether you believe that everything pious is necessarily just Euth I do So And is everything just pious Or is every part of piety just but the just is not the whole of piety but some part of it is pious and some other part is different Euth I can39t keep up with what you39re saying Socrates So And yet you are younger than me by at least as much as you are wiser than me But as I say you are spoiled by your abundance of wisdom Pull yourself together you blessed man since what I39m saying is not difficult to get your head around I mean of course the opposite of what the poet meant when he wrote Zeus who created it and who produced all of these You do not want to revile for where there is fear there is also reverence I disagree with this statement of the poet Shall I tell you how Euth Yes indeed So I don39t think that quotwhere there is fear there is also reverence quot since I think many people who fear sickness poverty and many other things feel fear but they feel no reverence at these things they fear Don39t you think so too Euth Certainly So Where there is reverence though there is also fear for is there anyone who feels reverence and is ashamed at something who doesn39t also feel fear and dread a reputation for cowardice Euth He does indeed dread it So So it39s not right to claim that quotwhere there is fear there is also reverencequot but where there is reverence there is also fear for reverence is not in fact everywhere fear is I think fear covers more than reverence reverence is a part of fear just as oddness is a part of number so that it39s not the case that where there is number there is also oddness but where there is oddness there is also number Do you follow now at least Euth I certainly do So This is the kind of thing I was talking about earlier when I was questioning you where there is justice is there also piety Or is it that where there is piety there is also justice but piety is not everywhere justice is since piety is a part of justice Do you think we should speak in this way or in some other Euth No in this way I think you39re speaking properly So Then see what follows this if the pious is a part of the just we must it seems discover what part of the just the pious might be If you now asked me something about what we were discussing just now such as what part of number the even is and what number it happens to be I would say that it would be the number that can be divided into two equal and not unequal parts Doesn39t it seem so to you Euth It does So So try to teach me in this way Euthyphro what sort of part of the just piety is so that we can also tell Meletos not to do us wrong and 13a Euthyphro 11 charge me with impiety since I have already learned enough from you about what is holy and what is pious and what is not Euth It seems to me now Socrates that holiness and piety is the part of justice concerned with attending to the gods while the remaining part of justice is concerned with attending to human beings So I think you put that well Euthyphro But I still need just one small thing I don39t know quite what you mean by quotattendingquot Surely you don39t mean that attending to the gods is like the other kinds of attending even though we do say so such as when we say that not everybody knows how to attend to a horse except the horsetrainer Right Euth Certainly So Horsetraining is attending to horses Euth Yes So And no one but the dogtrainer knows how to attend to dogs Euth Right So And dogtraining is attending to dogs Euth Yes So And cattleherding is of cattle Euth Absolutely So Naturally then piety and holiness are of the gods Euthyphro That39s what you say Euth I do So Then does all attending bring about the same effect Something of the following sort the good and benefit of what is attended to in just the way you see that horses being attended to by horsetrainers are benefited and become better Or don39t you think they are Euth They are So And dogs by the dogtrainer somehow and cattle by the cattle herder and all the others similarly Or do you think the attending is aimed at harming what is attended to Euth By Zeus I do not So But at benefiting them Euth How could it not be So And since piousness is attending to the gods does it benefit the gods and make the gods better Do you agree to this that whenever one does something pious it results in some improvement of the gods Euth By Zeus no I don39t So Nor did I think that that39s what you meant Euthyphro far from it in fact and so that39s why I was asking what in the world you meant by quotattending to the godsquot because I didn39t think you mean this kind of thing Euth And you39re right Socrates Because I mean no such thing So Alright then But what kind of attending to the gods would piousness be then Euth The kind Socrates when slaves attend to their masters So I understand It would be a kind of service to gods it seems Euth Certainly So Can you tell me about service to doctors what end result is it a service aimed at Don39t you think it39s at health 14a Euthyphro 12 Euth I do So And what about service to shipbuilders What end result is it a service aimed at Euth Clearly it39s at aimed at sailing Socrates So And service to housebuilders I suppose is aimed at houses Euth Yes So Tell me then best of men what end result is service to the gods a service aimed at It39s obvious that you know since you claim to have the finest religious knowledge at least of any human Euth And as a matter of fact Socrates I speak the truth So So tell me by Zeus what in the world is that magnificent task which the gods accomplish by using us as servants Euth Many fine tasks Socrates So Well and so do the generals my friend But nevertheless one could easily say what their key purpose is that they achieve victory in war Or not Euth How else could it be So And I think the farmers accomplish many fine tasks And yet their key purpose is nourishment from the soil Euth Very much so So So what then about the many fine things that the gods accomplish What is the key purpose of their labor Euth I said a little earlier Socrates that it is a great task to learn exactly how all these things are But I will put it for you generally if a man knows how to speak and act pleasingly to the gods in his prayers and sacrifices those are pious and such things preserve both his own home and the common good of the city But the opposites of these pleasing things are unholy which obviously overturn and destroy everything So If you were willing Euthyphro you could have told me the heart of what I was asking much more briefly But in fact you are not eager to teach me that much is clear Since now when you were just about to do so you turned away If you had stated your answer I would already have gotten a satisfactory understanding of piousness from you But for the present the lover must follow his beloved wherever he might lead So what do say the pious and piousness are again Don39t you say it39s a certain kind of knowledge of how to sacrifice and pray Euth I do So And sacrificing is giving to the gods while praying is making a request of the gods Euth Very much so Socrates So Based on this piousness would be knowledge of making requests and giving things to the gods Euth You have understood my meaning very well Socrates So It39s because I am eager for your wisdom my friend and pay close attention to it so that nothing you might say falls to the ground But tell me what is this service to the gods You say it is making requests of them and giving to them Euth I do So And proper requests would be requests for what we need from 15a Euthyphro 13 them asking them for these things Euth What else So And again giving properly would be giving what they happen to want from us to give these things to them in return Since to give a gift by giving someone what he has no need of would not be too skillful I suppose Euth That39s true Socrates So So piousness for gods and humans Euthyphro would be some skill of trading with one another Euth If naming it that way is sweeter for you call it quottradingquot So As far as I39m concerned nothing is sweeter unless it is true Tell me how do the gods benefit from the gifts they receive from us What they give us is clear to everyone since every good we have was given by them But what they receive from us what good is it Or do we fare so much better than them in the trade that we get everything that39s good from them while they get nothing from us Euth But do you think Socrates that they gods are benefited by what they receive from us So Well then what in the world would they be Euthyphro these gifts from us to the gods Euth What else do you think but honor and admiration and as I said just now gratitude So So being shown gratitude is what39s pious Euthyphro but it is neither beneficial to the gods nor dear to them Euth I think it is dear to them above everything else So So the pious is once again it seems what is dear to gods Euth Very much so So Are you at all surprised when you say such things that your words seem not to stand still but to move around And you accuse me of making them move around like a Daidalos when you yourself are much more skilled than Daidalos even making things go around in circles Or don39t you see that our discussion has gone around and arrived back at the same place You remember no doubt that previously the pious and the beloved by the gods seemed to us not to be the same but different from one another Or don39t you remember Euth I certainly do So Well don39t you realize now that you39re saying that what is dear to the gods is pious But is this anything other than what is beloved by the gods Or not Euth It certainly is So So either what we decided then was wrong or if we were right then we are wrong to think it now Euth So it seems So We must begin again from the beginning to examine what the pious is since as far as I am concerned I am determined not to give up until I understand it Do not scorn me but applying your mind in every way tell me the truth now more than ever Because you know it if anybody does and like Proteus you cannot be released until you tell me because unless you knew clearly about the pious and impious there is no 16a 2a 2a 2a 2a 2b 3b 6a 6c Euthyphro 14 way you would ever have tried to pursue your aging father for murder on behalf of a hired laborer but instead you would have been afraid before the gods and ashamed before men to run the risk of conducting this matter improperly But as it is I am sure that you think that you have clear knowledge of the pious and the impious So tell me great Euthyphro and do not conceal what you think it is Euth Well some other time then Socrates because I39m in a hurry to get somewhere and it39s time for me to go So What a thing to do my friend By leaving you have cast me down from a great hope I had that I would learn from you what is pious and what is not and most of all would free myself from Meletos39 charge by showing him that thanks to Euthyphro I had already become wise in religious matters and that I would no longer speak carelessly and innovate about these things due to ignorance and in particular that I would live better for the rest of my life NOTES Lyceum A gymnasium outside the walls of Athens the porch of the king The quotporchquot is a covered walkway in the Athenian agora marketplace or forum See the quotStoa Basileiosquot on the map at http enwikipediaorg wiki Ancient Agora of Athens before the king The 39king39 was one of nine archons or magistrates At this stage of the proceedings accusations would be lodged and testimony recorded from those involved and from witnesses The king archon was in charge of religious matters Socrates is there because he has been charged with a religious crime of not acknowledging the gods of the city Euthyphro is there because he believes that his father as a murderer is polluting the religious spaces of the city which then needs to be purified See 4c and Athenian Constitution 57 Online at http wwwyaleedu lawweb avalon medieval athe6htm57 a public indictment It was up to individuals in Socrates39 case Meletos along with Anytos and Lycon to bring cases on behalf of the city deme An administrative region of Attica divine sign See Socrates39 Defense 31b and 41ac Zeus his father his father For the stories of Zeus Kronos and Ouranos see Hesiod39s Theogony lines 154182 and 453506 Online at http wwwsacredtextscom cla hesiod theogonyhtm robe great Panathanaea The Panathanaea was a celebration of Athena39s birthday held annually with a larger quotgreatquot celebration every four years A new robe would be presented to the statue of the goddess Athena 11c 12ab 12d 15d Euthyphro 15 Daidalos The statues of the mythical Daidalos were said to be so lifelike that they appeared to move Daidalos is most famous for making wings for himself and his son lcaros to use to escape from Crete The quote is from Cypria perhaps by Stanisos a collection of tales describing the events prior to where the Iliad begins Not available on line divided into two equal and not unequal parts Literally quotisosceles and not scalenequot Presumably because isosceles triangles have two equal legs Proteus A mythical sea god who could change shape Menelaus had to hold on to Proteus as he changed shape in order to get him to prophesy See Odyssey 4398463 For an online version see wwwtonylltlinecoullt PITBR Greek Odyssey4htm Toc90267397 Homework 1 CHEM1040 following chemical species i Bail 239 P1304313 1 33 11 P205 N20 CaSOs NaHgPOn Mgtcmog HES K203 82 identity the chemicals that are salts and those are molecular compounds Find the van t Hoff factor i for ethanol CHgCIHani I 03 RbOH and 3150 t all the compounds listed in problem iii 3 or the following Pairs of liquids which are miscible or immisiclblg Uquot CH3C1 and COL 4 The of 0 dissolved in 500 c1113 of water is 050202 g when the partial pressure of oxygen is equal to 1 Calculate the solubility of oxygen in water exposed to air Where the of 03 is 172 l Et171139 5760 5 Thercompound molar mass 161969 gfntol is available a solution in water having a of L D lgmL mat contains 49 of this chemical by weight the rnolaritjgmolality mole fraction of in this solution aqueous solhiion of Mng contains this chemical at a Incl fraction of 39 112 x 310 Find concentration of MgClg in terms of molarity ppm percent mass Also evaluate Caracas the expected vapor pressure at room temperature 25 0C for a solution made by iss olving 158 g of sugar molar mass 3413 glmol in 6415 mL of waten The density of H20 is 03997 gr cm3 and the vapor pressure of the solvent is 23 36 torr at that thronetattoo solution madeth ailing 20 g of urea to 125 g of water has a vapor pressure at room of 2267 torn whereas the vapor pressure of pure water at 25 DC is 23 76 torn molar mass of urea Check your result using the fonnula of urea l NIHZhCOl ofpropanol CHgCHECZHzOH are dissolved in aqueous solution 7 CH3CH2CH20H 0079 M in IL I M39Hq J quot WMGNH39r I 726 a g 1 I FWE Nih quot 396 PDUWD LL 1 039 5 P39HDQWS WHEN 9 C w mm are 1 1 Wig if 39 s Wremgr 391203Dr QM OI FEWEDEL e PHDquot 1 3 JD Ma 9 6 OE r 1 LE H Fmquot quot quot ma Wat 2 E quot TH e H 3 THE 02 f i E a Ev f 1 I V HOW 5 gig m 03 1 Le ESL 39 3T 171 2 Lsz 0 Mm 0225 new I 31 15 L H it 1 rm 0 I gitc W M if 1 6F quot quot b QM JQCL or Clvf twb to g 39 WHEEL Mquot Emma A kw 39 m Hammad M HEB Ha Err4 1 3w a Wig Ea NuE H39 M 103 2 139 M m 239 IMM t a 7 210 ML H lIemewnrle 1040 L Selminne containing one of the fellnwing eelntee had e enneentretinn 0f 1339 n 10quot3 mole P V39A in long chain elenhnl Bali FeCClOglgi enlnilen exhibit the largest Tr39 DO WE EmaGt Tb t0 Eh nge when 1ng an ineluble materiel added in water Explain the bailing temperature nf an aqueous solution eenteining 0359 d L02 gil nL is the 051110th pressure at 25 ElC nf such a snlutien Calculate 39 for melting of 5700 nf lee at 0 QC l elm an msl IEO 5amp0 klfmnli 4 Calculate new assuming illswIr 25 fer Sb s 39 S39Fel s 3EeSfls ESblfs nH E 4215 kilfmnl e1 1 atm 5 Predict if as is larger or less zero nt i CaHzmo al JH S 21 M g q neeMg 21120 70mg ii Pb mq 211an r FEMS Evaluate eGquot for 23mg ngg zen g nH r Mfmnl SQquot Eng 243 song J 257 7 At temperature is the fellean process spnnmnenue 31121 SF Brgfg Hl 3l mun ASE 93 Lime 8 Fur the following reeetinn calculate nG m the date on Appendix page A96 nf yen bank using nil1 SJ well the N values 8112an Hie Cue men Evaluate for the reaetinn 4quot S z ig aquot 2HEOFCE mderthe font51mg conditiens 25 11 10 13302 1 10quot an r l x 10 H if 2 W Le m l1 gwn j THE L WILL mm THE WHE Cowad L ND WED a quotHE 4B J Pg 4 a an 4 HEDQE a x s r quot S m wig v 1L 1 7M 1 m Haw PD wm H7 mLLqiwg w Tki smug7 Z 519 L 1 I H SGLu m L f f HM g Ma a I 3 MEL H30 E L11 MILK i E 615263037 K 5 3 4 2965 I HE EUNEQI is Em T 11 swims f a t 2 7 35 Qamp 12 TD E 2 1H No1 PCCJQ 1 3 quotquot It ML 2 559 I matey 4r 2 9r q Pb E k M H osz db E cf j a 56 I v I 2 jigF T 5N mudg xx 3 E 15 1 5729 Hob T 1 I Lflj jjclaas 51 f gre x mm Mme i g I a I 39 L W I 393 1 q 39 v a w o r042 AH F 5 E J fig Homework 3 CHEMmI39U lD ll For the equilibrium PCl ijg 5 3613ng Clglfg 1126 ii Wquot2 et lgl QC Evaluate KP ei this iempereiure 2r The ebeve equilihrium has he value of 15 1 l 0 2 at DC How mo of PCB present at equilibrium if PCil gq and Ciqu are both in e 57 L vessel 3 For Naifng Eligig S KP e1 40 Find Q for we system containing l mol N2 mol mole Nit13 in e 1421 L reaction vessei Will more er lees be present when the mixture eeeehes equilibrium 4a Predict if low or high temperatures are nEeCled to fever formation of C0 Vi i So e Cerahhite 5 more ei I lies idea We H a 2 Lee e e e mm mm M L m V r e mej he 5 For equilibrium i Z39lfg 2 53 3 mi igmwgf 1h 3 a e Coleuiete for equilibrium ii Zigig elm d em wen gt 1in the eheelliquothrhim concentration ef the reactant for reaction i if 131 is 2 1095 2 Fffquot 3 o rquot F M e Fredriot diree tien in equilibrium will move if added to the mixture er equilihriv For the reeetion H3013 CHOKE ZHDCll g KP we a or whichrof tlrlefollowing sets of eondiiione is the reaction at i FEED 200 torn plelgO 493 torn pEHOClJ tori ii parlgCl v 296 tern 21301 15 h Fertile set of conditions given in e that eorreeponcls to e nonaeqnilibrium which direction will the system Shift to reeeh equilibriumquot From the following equilibrium information Imam imamg3 Neill mie 1e 2 x10 ii N g g 2mm Ogre Ki 5 10729 determina for ZINe fg S NQEOZQ reaction Hzfg 1235 oeeure Kr 1 x First Zorrole ere eel moi E2 a vessel V llL allowed to xehuilihrate a er 05 mol are added Calculate the equilibrium ciene39enhatiene if all speoiee then for the reee en ZHESCE Slit 335 EHED39EE Under the 39fohowing conditione at QC leZSJ 1 x 104 mm PCS02 a 1 x 1mquot aim and 1 e 10 L I h E 603 i q1 IO 239 395 Mm HM H3 Nat a 3H2L 114ng KP 339 0 m T i 1233 L 2 149 am 14 Kg Cmya KP b a gt l SINCE 5 PM E16 21931 9 233g ti RIC 1 Qua 3 r f E ic E He i a x wg7me m 015714 THE x Ho w LLL 133 1 THrm n I V Tm 2 Ga 22 fuohm 5t M1203 i195 1 t H m 9RD 151371 2M H Egg Zyc max a ltA PEIFU E u gt 1 Wine 1 E IUD h Hngi an E C57 2 2H Fag WM D 35 4w o w 39 7 n ML15 THM We J B k t lt x V Wm I mommwe WW g 31mmxw Practice Test 2 Which answer would best describe the Arabian Peninsula in the 17th century a Strategic location for trade b Sparsely populated due to its lack of resources c Located on the edge of the Byzantine and Persian Empires d All of the above e Only a and c This person grew up in the Quraysh tribe gained a reputation as a merchant for being honestfair and became known as being the Seal of the Prophets a Khadija b Allah c Muhammad Ibn Abdullah d Gabriel e AlGhazali Name the three Abrahamic religions Christianity Judaism Islam Christianity Zoroastrianism Islam Islam Sufism Zoroastrianism Judaism Sufism Zoroastrianism Christianity Sufism Islam 99062 Which of these is not one of the Five Pillars of Islam a Alms Zakat b Fasting c Profession of faith d Hijra e Pilgimage People of the book can also be called a Dhimmis b Protected peoples c Christians d Judeans e All of the above Followers of Islam are called a Muslims b Dhimmis c Mu min d A and c e All of the above How can we explain the rapid spread of Islam starting in 632 a Islam is a simple accessible faith b Islam isn t a new religion it is a believer s movement c It is easy to obtain salvation 10 ll 12 13 d e Islam creates a sense of community All of the above What problems did the early Islamic community encounter as a result of the rapid spread of Islam 99062 The growth of an imperial mindset among Muslim leaders Islamic conquest and in result an Islamic identity crisis A problem of political and spiritual leadership of the umma A and b but not c Only a b and c What occurs due to the death of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah a DPno5 A succession crisis The Kaaba is rededicated as a holy site of Allah Abu Bakr is appointed as caliph All of Muhammad s former followers revert back to polytheism A and c but not b or d Which of these is not of the four sources of Islamic law 99062 Sunna Quran Consensus of the umma Torah Reason What is a group of Islamic scholars called a b c d e Umma Sunni Ulama None of the above Sharia Double shahada states that a b c d e Islam is corrupted Christianity and Judaism are wrong in their beliefs There is no god but god and Muhammad is his prophet Quranic law only applies to Muslims B and c but not a or d Which answer is a characteristic or belief of Sunni Islam a b Strict interpretation of Muhammad as the seal of the prophets Believe that Muhammad will be followed by a line of divinely appointed and infallible imams Believe that the last imam will return one day to rule True sources of religious authority lie in the Quran Sunna and pronouncementsexamples of the imams None of the above 14 15 16 17 18 19 The Supreme Leader rules in place of the 9999 First imam Seal of the prophets Madhi None of the above A and c but not b or d What is the difference between Twelver Shi a and Fiver Shi a 9999 s The belief in how many descendants of Ali there are When the madhi will return to earth to rule The belief in the right to claim absolute spiritual authority A and b but not c None of the above Where was the capital of the Fatimid dynasty a 9906 Damascus Cordoba Baghdad Cairo None of the above Which period of time was characterized by a host of new crops and advancement in agricultural technology and better management of scarce water resources 9999 s Arabization Islamic Green Revolution Islamic Technology Revolution Islamization All of the above Which of these was not typical of your average Northern European in the 400 s CE 99062 Relied on agriculture and pastoralism Bingedrinking Nomadic Less developed than Romans None of the above What is wergild a DPno0quot The victim of a crime has the right to seek revenge against the criminal or a monetary payment The most popular Pagan tribe god The name of a Germanic tribe One of the romance languages The idea that if you commit a crime you ll be judged and disciplined according to the law of your tribe and not where the crime was committed 20 Why did the Pope look to King Clovis as an important ally a b Clovis wife was a Roman Catholic Clovis was a powerful Frankish king c d e Clovis eventually converted from Paganism to Christianity All of the above None of the above 21 What is the system of a person providing security and safety in exchange for another person s work and taxes 99062 Serfdom Slavery Feudalism All of the above None of the above 22 What is investiture 99062 Spiritual leadership The act of being excommunicated The idea that there should be no warfare on spiritual days The appointment of church officials None of the above 23 Which two men were most involved in the Investiture Crisis 99062 Pope Urban II and Pope Gregory VII Pope Gregory VII and King Henry VI King Henry VI and Pope Urban II St Boniface and King Henry VI Otto the Great and King Henry VI 24 Why was there such a huge response to Pope Urban II s speech at the Council of Claremont a 9906 He promised to pay those who volunteered to fight He promised a triumph for the Christians against Charlemagne St Boniface went on tours among the villages and towns to recruit people All of the above None of the above 25 How does the Third Crusade end 99062 26 During the Crusades we see the creation of In a truce between King Richard I and Saladin King Richard I captures Jerusalem and pushes out the Muslims Saladin captures and kills all of the Christian crusaders Zengi wipes out Jerusalem None of the above groups or organizations that provide shelter and security for Christians 99062 Templars Military orders Tithes A and b but not c None of the above 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 What was the period of time in which Spanish rulers forced the people to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain a Reconquista Northern Crusades Inquisition B and c but not a None of the above DPno5 Who breaks up Mongol tribes and reorganizes them into tiimen a Ong Khan b Temujin c Khwarazmshah d Chinggis Khan e B and d but not a or c The is made up of elite member of the Mongol army protect Genghis Khan and are sons of the tiimen leaders a Khuriltai b Keshing c Nokers d Temujin e None of the above Which dynasty was founded by the Khitans a Tang b Xia c Liao d Song e None of the above Who was mistaken for the legend of Pester John a devout Christian who will destroy the Muslims a Temujin b Chinggis Khan c Genghis Khan d Khwarazmshah e All of the above Who is named the second great Khan of the Mongols a Subotai b Yelu Chucai c Ogodei d Yogodei e Tubotai What is a Timar Grant and who gives them out a A land grant and tax revenue given by the Ottomans b A select number of horses given by the Notables 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 c A land grant and tax revenue given by the Byzantines d A select number of horses given by the Byzantines e None of the above What do the Ottomans use to rule over their diverse population a Hagia Sophia b Orban Canon c Millet system d Tax farming e None of the above What event ends the Ottoman expansion The creation of Sultanic law The Siege of Vienna The Siege of Venice The creation of the Devshirme system The revolt of the Phoenicians 99062 Who rules over the Christian millet system a Roman Catholic Church b The Ottoman sultan c Greek Othodox Church d The Elder of Islam e None of the above Who is in charge of the Muslim millet system a Greek Orthodox church b The Elder of Islam c The Ottoman sultan d The Imperial Council e Allah What is the Grand Vizer a The sultan s main advisor b The sultan s private household c The most prestigious Islamic scholar d The sultan s most powerful Wife e The sultan s law code What does the sultan often use to enhance his power over the people Imperial Council Grand vizer Sultanic law Harem The Elder of Islam 99062 Where is the center of the Ottoman government a Hagia Sophia b Topkapi Palace 0 Venice 1 Greek Orthodox Church e None of the above
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