An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome.

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An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome.
Le Grand, Antoine, d. 1699.
London :: Printed by Samuel Roycroft, and sold by the undertaker Richard Blome [and 10 others],

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Descartes, René, 1596-1650.
Philosophy -- Early works to 1800.
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"An entire body of philosophy according to the principles of the famous Renate Des Cartes in three books, (I) the institution ... (II) the history of nature ... (III) a dissertation of the want of sense and knowledge in brute animals ... / written originally in Latin by the learned Anthony Le Grand ; now carefully translated from the last corrections, alterations, and large additions of the author, never yet published ... by Richard Blome." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 25, 2024.


CHAP. I. Of the Nature of Human Mind, and that it is more Evidently perceived than Bedy.

I. That too much Cre∣dit is not to be given to our fal∣lacious Senses. SINCE we have often been deceived by our Senses, and the Images of things have been impos'd upon us, which diffe∣red from the Objects whence they pro∣ceeded, or whence we imagined they proceeded; and since in our Dreams we have seem'd to behold some things, which never∣theless were far enough off from us; and to hear things which in no wise smote the Organs of our Hearing: We have hereupon sufficient Cause to suspect that Corporeal things are not always such as we apprehend them to be, and consequently that we have sufficient reason to doubt of their Existence, forasmuch as Natural Reason dictates to us, that we are not to trust those things which have at some time or other deceiv'd us. Where∣fore we may doubt whether there be a Heaven, Sun, or Stars; whether those Bodies which are about us are real; whether we have Body, Feet, or Arms, in regard we have oftentimes in our Dreams seem'd to make use of them, whenas at the same time, deep Sleep hath bound us fast, and rendred us immoveable.

II. The Exi∣stence of Human Mind is in∣ferr'd from hence, That we are. But though we may doubt of the verity of Cor∣poreal Things, yet we cannot doubt but that we have an Existence, so long as it is certain we doubt; for it is impossible that any one should doubt or think, and at the same time not be. Whence this Proposition, I think therefore I am, is the first certain Conclusion we can possibly make, when we muster up our thoughts in Order; whence it is inferred, that our Mind is more known to us than our Body, in regard whatever doubt we make of other things, we cannot but Be so long as we Doubt.

III. The Soul is not any thing be∣longing to the Body. For if I attentively weigh and examin who I am, who write these things, who see, who hold the Pen, who draw the Lines; I know for certain, that were the use of my Hands taken away, my Eyes digg'd out, and my Fingers cut off, I could neither write, see not touch; but nevertheless should find it apparent that I yet Exist; and sup∣pose I were depriv'd of all Exterior Senses, yet still I am, so long as I think: For my Body may be dissevered into divers parts, and none of those parts be remaining with which I am encompass'd, since I am not all Heart, nor Brain, nor Liver, nor any other of those parts which constitute the Body; yet nevertheless something of me may be remaining, which makes use of those parts, and with which it is surrounded as with a Garment.

IV. What it is to think. The Existence of Human Mind being thus ex∣plain'd, we are now to inspect what it is, or rather, who that I is, who have a clear conception, that I am, and do doubt of the Existence of others. For am I any thing? surely I am. What then, I am a Thinking, Knowing, Imagining, Perceiving, Willing, Affirm∣ing, Denying Thing; for I know that I Perceive, I imagine that I Behold many things, I am sensible


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Book. 1. Part. 9. Chap. 1.

To the Worship∣full John Hervey of Jckworthin the County of Suffolke Esq.

This Plate is humbly Dedicated by Rich: Blome

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that many things are conveyed from their Objects to my Senses, I affirm that I am a Thinking thing, I deny that Corporeal things do certainly Exist, and am conscious to my self of them all; but I am more certain that I am, since it may come to pass, that all those things of which I Think, may be no where Existent; but it cannot be otherwise, but that I must needs be, who appear to Behold, to Affirm, to Deny, to Will, &c.

V. A Defini∣tion of Hu∣man Mind. Human Mind therefore may rightly be defi∣ned a Thing thinking by a certain peculiar way, finite, and as it were, by mutual Covenant joyned to a Body well disposed. And herein it differs from an Angel, or Spiritual intelligence, which is indeed apt to assume a Body; but not so firmly inclining to it, as to desire, as the Human Mind doth, to have it intimately united.

VI. Why a Thinking thing is said to be finite. But it is called Finite, because tho' a Human Mind always Thinks, yet it Thinks not of all things, nor penetrates immediately into those things of which it Thinks. Moreover it Wills many things which it attains not to, all which are Arguments of imperfection, from which the infinite Mind, that is to say, God Almighty is absolutely free.

VII. What is to be under∣stood by the name of Cogitation. By the name of Thought is understood that interiour Sense and Conscience by which we are certain of all those things, which we Act or Suf∣fer; so that to say that Human Mind is a Think∣ing substance, is no other thing than to say, that there is in it a Conscience, or Co▪discerning of all Cogitations, Wills, Appetites and Sensations which are found therein; whether it be their Principle, or suffers from others: For certain it is, that what∣soever is in us which depends not upon the Cogi∣tations of the said Mind, belongs not to it. Whence the simple Cogitation of Human Mind may aptly be defined to be, an implanted Action of Human Mind: Whereof the said Mind by its own testimony is conscious. In the first place, Cogitation is said to be something implanted in the Mind, because it is indeed the very Essence of the Mind. Secondly, It is said to be by its own testi∣mony conscious, in regard every Mind hath its own Cogitation so known, that tho' there should be a doubt concerning other things, yet the Cogitation, it self can never be called into doubt; since the doubting, nay the very Erring person must of ne∣cessity Think.

VIII. The Soul Thinks e∣ven in Sleep. Some difficulty may haply arise from the fore∣said definition of the Mind, as if Human Mind be a Thinking substance, that is, Willing, Nilling, Doubting, Perceiving, &c. it should always Think, which seems a thing impossible to any one that is asleep, since then we cannot be conscious that we do Think. To this I answer, that nothing occurs to us in Sleep, which directly or indirectly pro∣ceeds from the Soul, whereof we are not consci∣ous; and tho' our Soul in the midst of Sleep may Think, but negligently, yet it is not to be thought totally destitute of all Cogitation: By the same reason almost as when it is said, that there is no part of the World which is at any time totally void of all Motion, tho' some parts may be said to Rest, by reason of the more slow and insensi∣ble Motion, and may seem as it were deprived of all Motion.

IX. Why we remember not our Co∣gitations. It may haply be urged, if this were true, we could not but remember at least some of those Co∣gitations, but we dayly experience the contrary. I answer: It is one thing to be conscious of our Thoughts, and another thing to remember them; for there is more required to the remembring of any thing, than to the being conscious thereof; for to remember a thing so long as the Mind is joyned to the Body, it is requisite that the Species or Image thereof should have its Vestigia or Foot∣steps in our Brain, upon which we afterwards reflecting should remember; but to Think, it is sufficient that we are conscious of our Perception or Cogitation, which happens not only to persons Sleeping, but even to Infants in the Mothers Womb. Since doubtless those very Infants have many Co∣gitations, and their Minds taken up with Idea's of Heat, Cold, Titillation, Pain, &c. which pro∣ceed from the Union of the said Mind with the Body; however they remember not afterwards what they Thought, or suffered at that time.

X. Whether the Power of Think∣ing sufficeth for the Mind to be called Cogitant. If it be alledged that it is sufficient for Human Mind to be called Cogitant, for that it hath the power to Think, and not for that it always actu∣ally Thinks: As a Potter hath a faculty always of forming Pots, Pitchers, &c. yet nevertheless for want of Clay, or the Potters Wheel, cannot always reduce his Power into Act; so it suffices, that there be implanted in the Mind a Power to Think, tho' it do not always actually exercise that Power for want of Matter which should occur, or through the defect of Organs which are hinder'd in Sleep.

XI. The An∣swer. The Answer is easie; for there is no necessity that the Potter should always actually Operate, by reason he Acts ad extra, or Externally, and requires External Matter for those things he is to form; but Human Soul in its Operations wants no Object to tend unto: For if all things which are to smite the Senses of the Body were removed, it would yet have the Idea of it self, and of all those Verities which we term Nota per se, or known of themselves, and consequently Human Mind cannot but always Think; and certainly it seems to imply a contradiction, that that Spiritual Part of ours, so long as it hath an Existence, should not Think, since it is no other than a Thinking thing, and we can conceive nothing in it besides Cogitation or Thought.

XII. Soul is opposed to Body as Act to Power. For the difference between Matter and Soul is, that that is the Potentia or Power, this the Act; so that Cogitation must needs be always present in every Intellectual thing, but actual motion is not always requisite in Body or Matter, in regard its Nature is Sluggish and Idle, that it comprehends Potentiality or Power, and not Act; but for a Soul to be without Act or Cogitation implies a Contra∣diction, since if you take away Cogitation from it, there will remain nothing in it of positive and ab∣solute, by which it may be said to Exist.

XIII. Human Mind can∣not be with∣out Cogita∣tion. I know that some will object, that Human Mind may be without all Cogitation; but this we absolutely deny: For if it should so happen, it would either so happen, because it hath not a Power or Faculty of thinking, or because it will not have such a Faculty or Power. If it hath not such a power, its Essence is destroy'd, in regard it consists in Cogitation; but if it will not, that very thing is an inference that it doth think, since to Will and Nill are Modes of perceiving, for we undergo no greater difficulty in conceiving that the Soul must needs always think, than in conceiving the Light must needs always Shine; and that Heat

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cannot but be always Hot, for as much as it belongs to the Essence of the Soul to Think, as it belongs to Light to Shine, and Heat to Warm or make Hot; for a Faculty supposes something real, and Existing in Nature; or if we well attend to our Conception, it is no other than a thing really mu∣table and capable of divers Modes; So that as the faculty of receiving Figures in the Body, is meer Extension, so the faculty of Thinking in the Mind is meer Cogitation, so far as it may be applied to divers things, and by divers ways.

XIV. To think is no less Essential to Human Mind, than to be Ex∣pended is to the Body. Moreover the Actual Cogitation of the Soul may be proved by comparing it to the Body; for as it cannot be granted to be a Body which is not ex∣tended; that is, which hath not an actual and de∣terminate Figure; In like manner Human Mind must of necessity have some Cogitation, which in a manner is its Life; but that Children and In∣fants in the Mothers Womb, should not afterwards remember their Cogitations in that State, need not be any matter of wonder, since in Persons of more adult Age, there may possibily sometimes remain no memory, not only of things which were re∣presented in Sleep, but also even of those things which have been acted or thought on Waking.

XV. Cogitation is either taken for the thing Thinking, or for the Modes of Thinking. It will yet more clearly appear, that Cogitation belongs to the nature of Human Mind, if Cogi∣tation be in a twofold acceptation considered, first as it is that which constitutes the Nature of an im∣material thing, and then it is no other than that thing which Thinks; in another sense Cogitation may be taken for divers Modes of Thinking, in as much as Substance is capable of Exciting divers Cogitations, for the Thinking Nature hath power from it self to draw forth such or such Acts; ne∣vertheless it is not thence to be inferr'd, that a Thinking Substance is something universal, contain∣ing all the Modes of Perceiving: No more than it can be said, that a Body is something common con∣taining all Figure; because Cogitation is not a Universal, but a particular Nature which admits all those Modes, as Extension is a Nature recei∣ving all Figures; for we may very well conceive a Cogitant Nature, tho' all its Modes are not known, yet they cannot be understood without the said Cogitant Nature. For if I Imagin, if I Will, if I Remember, Cogitation appears in all these things; yet on the contrary, if I think, there is no necessity that there should be any one of these in particular, and consequently Imagination, Remembrance, Volition are only divers Modes of Thinking, even as Figure, Motion, Site, &c. are divers Modes of Extension, or of a thing Ex∣tended.

XVI. Mind is Cogitant as Matter is Extense. Wherefore we must conclude, that the Essence of Mind is placed in Cogitation in the same man∣ner, as the Essence of Matter consists in Extensi∣on, and according to the various Modifications of Cogitation, Mind is always Willing, Imaginant or Sentient; in like manner, as according to divers Modifications of Extension, Matter assumes the Form sometimes of Water, sometimes of Fire, sometimes of Fewel, or infinite other particular Forms; and consequently as a piece of Wax may be changed into divers Figures, and be Round or Square, not without varying its Nature; so Human Mind remains one and unvaried, although it may be altered divers ways, and may be mutable by a different Application of it self to Heaven, for example sake, Earth, God, Angels, &c. be∣cause tho' it be limited and finite, yet it is not de∣termined to any thing certain, and consequently Thinks or perceives all things which are deeply inherent in it.

XVII. The Soul or Mind is the cause of indivi∣duation to the whole Man. I have heretofore in several places said enough to shew, that the Soul or Mind is a certain substan∣tial Form, when as all other Forms are nothing else but certain rangings and dispositions of Parts. Nor must I now omit to declare openly, and in most express Terms, that it is that which indi∣viduates a Human Body, or rather Man himself, and does principally and essentially make one to differ from another. For as the whole Essence of a Human Body in general, consists in a certain disposition to receive a Human Soul; and the par∣ticular Essence of each Body, as for instance the Body of Peter, is founded in a particular disposi∣tion it hath to receive its own proper Soul; suppo∣sing that in some part or portion of Matter, should be found the same essential disposition, which that Body had wherewith Peter was Born, it cannot be otherwise, but that it must be a Human Body, even the Body of Peter himself, and the very same in number wherewith he was Born; forasmuch as it hath the same essential Form, or principle of Individuation: And also if the same Scul, to wit Peters, were actually united thereto, it is necessary for the same reason that there must be a Man, yea, Peter, and the same numerical Peter that was be∣fore.

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