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The phrases in their context!


It is certain, that this idea arises only from a relation to a present impression.
It is certain, that the belief super-adds nothing to the idea, but only changes our manner of conceiving it, and renders it more strong and lively.
The present conclusion concerning the influence of relation is the immediate consequence of all these steps; and every step appears to me sure end infallible.
There enters nothing into this operation of the mind but a present impression, a lively idea, and a relation or association in the fancy betwixt the impression and idea; so that there can be no suspicion of mistake.
In order to put this whole affair in a fuller light, let us consider it as a question in natural philosophy, which we must determine by experience and observation.
I suppose there is an object presented, from which I draw a certain conclusion, and form to myself ideas, which I am said to believe or assent to.
Here it is evident, that however that object, which is present to my senses, and that other, whose existence I infer by reasoning, may be thought to influence each other by their particular powers or qualities; yet as the phenomenon of belief, which we at present examine, is merely internal, these powers and qualities, being entirely unknown, can have no hand in producing it.
It is the present impression, which is to be considered as the true and real cause of the idea, and of the belief which attends it.
We must therefore endeavour to discover by experiments the particular qualities, by which it is enabled to produce so extraordinary an effect.
First then I observe, that the present impression has not this effect by its own proper power and efficacy, and when considered alone, as a single perception, limited to the present moment.
I find, that an impression, from which, on its first appearance, I can draw no conclusion, may afterwards become the foundation of belief, when I have had experience of its usual consequences.
We must in every case have observed the same impression in past instances, and have found it to be constantly conjoined with some other impression.
This is confirmed by such a multitude of experiments, that it admits not of the smallest doubt.
From a second observation I conclude, that the belief, which attends the present impression, and is produced by a number of past impressions and conjunctions; that this belief, I say, arises immediately, without any new operation of the reason or imagination.
Of this I can be certain, because I never am conscious of any such operation, and find nothing in the subject, on which it can be founded.
Now as we call every thing CUSTOM, which proceeds from a past repetition, without any new reasoning or conclusion, we-may establish it as a certain truth, that all the belief, which follows upon any present impression, is derived solely from that origin.
When we are accustomed to see two impressions conjoined together, the appearance or idea of the one immediately carries us to the idea of the other.
Being fully satisfyed on this head, I make a third set of experiments, in order to know, whether any thing be requisite, beside the customary transition, towards the production of this phaenomenon of belief.
I therefore change the first impression into an idea; and observe, that though the customary transition to the correlative idea still remains, yet there is in reality no belief nor perswasion.
A present impression, then, is absolutely requisite to this whole operation; and when after this I compare an impression with an idea, and find that their only difference consists in their different degrees of force and vivacity, I conclude upon the whole, that belief is a more vivid and intense conception of an idea, proceeding from its relation to a present impression.
Thus all probable reasoning is nothing but a species of sensation.