But it will be objected that, if there is no idea signified by the terms soul, spirit, and substance, they are wholly insignif- icant, or have no meaning in them. I answer, those words do mean or signify a real thing, which is neither an idea nor like an idea, but that which perceives ideas, and wills, and reasons about them. What I am myself, that which I denote by the term I, is the same with what is meant by soul or spiritual substance. If it be said that this is only quarreling at a word, and that, since the immediately significations of other names are by common consent called ideas, no reason can be assigned why that which is signified by the name spirit or soul may not partake in the same appellation. I answer, all the unthinking objects of the mind agree in that they are entirely passive, and their existence consists only inbeing perceived; whereas a soul or spirit is an active being, whose existence consists, not in being perceived, but in perceiving ideas and thinking. It is therefore necessary, in order to prevent equivocation and confounding natures perfectly dis- agreeing and unlike, that we distinguish between spirit and idea. See Part One, Section Twenty-seven.
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Home » Modern Philosophy » George Berkeley (1685–1753) » A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710)
Part One, Section One Hundred and Thirty-nine
- Front Matter
- Body Matter
- Back Matter