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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


Matter, say they, is in itself entirely unactive, and deprived of any power, by which it may produce, or continue, or communicate motion: But since these effects are evident to our senses, and since the power, that produces them, must be placed somewhere, it must lie in the DEITY, or that divine being, who contains in his nature all excellency and perfection.

 For whence should it be derived? Does it arise from an impression of sensation or of reflection? Point it out distinctly to us, that we may know its nature and qualities. See what you're missing! Its success is thus great, because it can support all its conceptions by a priori intuitions and, in this way, make itself a master, as it were, over nature; while pure philosophy, with its a priori discursive conceptions, bungles about in the world of nature, and cannot accredit or show any a priori evidence of the reality of these conceptions. Their nature and principles have been supposed the same, because their sensations are not evidently different. We may have discovered the spirituality and immortality of the soul, but we cannot employ this knowledge to explain the phenomena of this life, nor the peculiar nature of the future, because our conception of an incorporeal nature is purely negative and does not add anything to our knowledge, and the only inferences to be drawn from it are purely fictitious. In order then to discover more fully the nature of belief, or the qualities of those ideas we assent to, let us weigh the following considerations. It is not our business to inquire here into the utility of this principle in the investigation of nature.