05 Apr Read the assigned reading from the chapter. Then choose ONE of the questions below to answer. Answer the question you chose in a response that is a minimum of 1-2 paragraphs. Be sur
Read the assigned reading from the chapter. Then choose ONE of the questions below to answer. Answer the question you chose in a response that is a minimum of 1-2 paragraphs.
Be sure to explain your answers and give reasons for your views. You should cite the textbook and use brief quotations and summaries from the textbook in your response. Do NOT use any other sources besides the textbook.
- Explain Locke's view that we can have knowledge of an external world despite our being directly aware only of sense data. Do you agree with him, or do you side with his critics who say that we can know only the contents of our minds?
- Why does Berkeley deny the existence of material objects? Explain his view of subjective idealism. Do you accept or reject his theory? Why or why not?
- Suppose someone claims that he can easily refute Berkeley's idealism by simply kicking a rock or eating an apple. Does this demonstration show that Berkeley's view is false? Explain.
- Hume thinks that all knowledge must be traced back to perceptions; otherwise, assertions of knowledge are meaningless. From this, he concludes that all theological and metaphysical speculations are worthless. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
- What does Kant mean by "Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind?" Do you agree that at least some of your perceptions are conceptualized?
Most empiricists have rejected skepticism while denying rationalist claims (such as the doctrine of innate ideas), building their theories of knowledge on the supposed firmer ground of sense experience. But the differences among the greatest empiricists are stark. Locke argues that we can know much about things external to our minds; Berkeley agrees that we can have knowledge but denies the reality of material objects; and Hume insists that the scope of our knowledge is much narrower than most 302 Chapter 6 Knowledge and Skepticism people realize, raising skeptical doubts about the existence of the external world and the inductive methodology of science. Locke In Locke’s philosophical masterwork, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), he builds a case against rationalism and for a thoroughgoing empiricism. First, he contends that the rationalist notion that we are born with knowledge (“innate principles,” as he says) already imprinted on our minds is unfounded. The rationalist argues, says Locke, that since all people seem to possess knowledge of certain universal principles (such as truths of logic), this knowledge must be inborn. How else could everyone have come by this knowledge? Locke replies that there are no such universal principles, and even if there were, they could have easily arisen through sense experience. They need not be present at birth. Here is Locke’s critique of innate ideas: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 1. The way shown how we come by any knowledge, sufficient to prove it not innate. It is an established opinion amongst some men, that there are in the understanding certain innate principles; some primary notions, characters, as it were, stamped upon the mind of man, which the soul receives in its very first being; and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition, if I should only shew (as I hope I shall in the following parts of this discourse) how men, barely by the use of their natural faculties, may attain to all the knowledge they have, without the help of any innate impressions; and may arrive at certainty, without any such original notions or principles. For I imagine any one will easily grant, that it would be impertinent to suppose, the ideas of colours innate in a creature, to whom God hath given sight, and a power to receive them by the eyes, from external objects: And no less unreasonable would it be to attribute several truths to the impressions of nature, and innate characters, when we may observe in ourselves faculties, fit to attain as easy and certain knowledge of them, as if they were originally imprinted on the mind. But because a man is not permitted without censure to follow his own thoughts in the search of truth, when they lead him ever so little out of the common road; I shall set down the reasons that made me doubt of the truth of that opinion, as an excuse Figure 6.7 John Locke (1632–1704). 6.3 The Empiricist Turn 303 for my mistake, if I be in one; which I leave to be considered by those who, with me, dispose themselves to embrace truth, wherever they find it. 2. General assent, the great argument. There is nothing more commonly taken for granted, than that there are certain principles, both speculative and practical, (for they speak of both), universally agreed upon by all mankind: Which therefore, they argue, must needs be the constant impressions, which the souls of men receive in their first beings, and which they bring into the world with them, as necessarily and really as they do any of their inherent faculties. 3. Universal consent proves nothing. This argument, drawn from universal consent, has this misfortune in it, that if it were true in matter of fact, that there were certain truths wherein all mankind agreed, it would not prove them innate, if there can be any other way shewn how men may come to that universal agreement, in the things they do consent in, which I presume may be done. 4. What is, is; and it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be; not universally assented to. But, which is worse, this argument of universal consent, which is made use of to prove innate principles, seems to me a demonstration that there are none such; because there are none to which all mankind give an universal assent. I shall begin with the speculative, and instance in those magnified principles of demonstration; “Whatsoever is, is;” and “It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be;” which, of all others, I think have the most allowed title to innate. These have so settled a reputation of maxims universally received, that it will, no doubt, be thought strange, if any one should seem to question it. But yet I take liberty to say, that these propositions are so far from having an universal assent, that there are a great part of mankind to whom they are not so much as known. 5. Not on the mind naturally imprinted, because not known to children, idiots, etc. For, first, it is evident, that all children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of them; and the want of that is enough to destroy that universal assent, which must needs be the necessary concomitant of all innate truths: It seeming to me near a contradiction, to say, that there are truths imprinted on the soul, which it perceives or understands not; imprinting if it signify any thing, being nothing else, but the making certain truths to be perceived. For to imprint any thing on the mind, without the mind’s perceiving it seems to me hardly intelligible. If therefore children and idiots have souls, have minds, with those impressions upon them, they must unavoidably perceive them, and necessarily know and assent to these truths: Which since they do not, it is evident that there are no such impressions. For if they are not notions naturally imprinted, how can they be innate? and if they are notions imprinted, how can they be unknown? To say a notion is imprinted on the mind, and yet at the same time to say, that the mind is ignorant of it, and never yet took notice of it, is to make this impression nothing. No proposition can be said to be in the mind which it never yet knew, which it was never yet conscious of. For if any one may, then, by the same reason, all propositions that are true, and the mind is capable ever of assenting to, may be said to be in the mind, and to be imprinted: Since, if any one can be said to be in the mind, which it never yet knew, it must be only, because it is capable of knowing it, and so the mind is of all truths it ever shall know. Nay, thus truths may be imprinted on the mind, which it never did, nor ever shall know: For a man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty. So that if the capacity of knowing, be the natural impression contended for, all the truths a man ever comes to know, will, by this account, be every one of them innate; and this great point will amount to no more, but only to a very improper way of speaking; which, whilst it pretends to assert the contrary, says nothing different from those, who deny innate principles. For nobody, I think, ever 10 Locke says that universal agreement on principles does not prove that they are innate. Why does he say this? Is he right? 11 In response to Locke’s point about children, suppose a rationalist insists that children’s minds are not fully developed and so cannot yet have knowledge of innate principles—therefore, their lack of innate knowledge does not prove anything. Is this a good argument? 304 Chapter 6 Knowledge and Skepticism denied that the mind was capable of knowing several truths. The capacity, they say, is innate, the knowledge acquired. But then to what end such contest for certain innate maxims? If truths can be imprinted on the understanding without being perceived, I can see no difference there can be, between any truths the mind is capable of knowing in respect of their original: They must all be innate, or all adventitious: In vain shall a man go about to distinguish them. He therefore that talks of innate notions in the understanding, cannot (if he intend thereby any distinct sort of truths) mean such truths to be in the understanding as it never perceived, and is yet wholly ignorant of. For if these words (to be in the understanding) have any propriety, they signify to be understood: So that to be in the understanding, and not to be understood; to be in the mind, and never to be perceived; is all one, as to say any thing is, and is not in the mind or understanding. If therefore these two propositions, “Whatsoever is, is,” and “It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be,” are by nature imprinted, children cannot be ignorant of them; infants, and all that have souls, must necessarily have them in their understandings, know the truth of them, and assent to it.10 For Locke, the mind does not come into the world already inscribed with ideas or knowledge. On the contrary, he says, the mind is unmarked “white paper” void of any ideas until sense experience gives it content. From where does the mind obtain “all the materials of reason and knowledge”? he asks. “To this I answer, in one word, from experience. In that all our knowledge is founded.”11 Rationalists like Descartes would say that our most important items of knowledge must be innate because they could not possibly have come from sense experience. They would maintain, for example, that our knowledge of the concept “infinity” and of the proposition “Every event has a cause” must be prenatally imprinted on our minds because we can never observe instances of these in reality. Through sense experience we can become acquainted only with finite things, not an infinity of things; and we can observe only a limited number of events, not all events. Locke, however, holds that we can grasp such ideas by first having sense experience related to them and then extrapolating the ideas from the sense data. We can, for example, have the concept of infinity by experiencing finite things and multiplying and extending them in our imagination until we approach the idea of the infinite. Locke tries to defeat the skeptic by showing how our sense experience can reveal the existence of an external world. He says we must distinguish between the objects of our experience (external objects) and the experience of those objects (sensations, or sense data). Physical objects cause sensations in us, and we are directly aware only of those sensations (or ideas, as Locke calls them). So we have direct knowledge not of external objects, but of the sense data related to those objects. But if all we ever really know are sense data, how can we be sure they give us an accurate picture of the external world? Locke’s answer is that sensations caused by external objects somehow represent those objects and thereby give us knowledge of them. Sensations are, Locke says, “resemblances” of external things. But he points out that not all of our sensations No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience. —John Locke 12 Evaluate Locke’s point about extrapolating ideas from sense data. Is it plausible? Is it a good response to the rationalist? All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions. —Leonardo da Vinci John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 6.3 The Empiricist Turn 305 faithfully reflect reality. He distinguishes between two kinds of properties that external objects can have. Primary qualities are objective properties such as size, solidity, and mobility. They are in material objects, independent of our senses, and would be possessed by the objects even if no one was around to sense anything. Secondary qualities are subjective properties such as the color red or the smell of roses. They are in the mind, in that they depend on the operation of the senses. They exist only when someone experiences them. For Locke, we can have objective knowledge of material objects because some of our sense data represent the objects’ primary qualities, which are objective characteristics of them. Locke’s theory of knowledge, however, has been sharply criticized by both rationalists and empiricists. The main criticism is that Locke has not given us any good reason to think that our sense data are proof of the existence of an external reality. After all, according to Locke, we directly experience only our sensations, or ideas; we only indirectly perceive external objects. We have no way of jumping out of our subjective point of view to compare our sense experience with the objective world. For all we know, our sense data present a radically distorted or thoroughly false picture of reality. Here is Locke’s answer to this charge: 1. Is to be had only by sensation. The knowledge of our own being we have by intuition. The existence of a God reason clearly makes known to us, as has been shown. The knowledge of the existence of any other thing, we can have only by sensation: For there being no necessary connexion of real existence with any idea a man hath in his memory, nor of any other existence but that of God, with the existence of any particular man; no particular man can know the existence of any other being, but only when by actual operating upon him, it makes itself perceived by him. For the having the idea of any thing in our mind, no more proves the existence of that thing, than the picture of a man evidences his being in the world, or the visions of a dream make thereby a true history. 2. Instance, whiteness of this paper. It is therefore the actual receiving of ideas from without [outside], that gives us notice of the existence of other things, and makes us know that something doth exist at that time without us, which causes that idea in us, though perhaps we neither know nor consider how it does it. For it takes not from the certainty of our senses, the ideas we receive by them, that we know not the manner wherein they are produced: V. g. whilst I write this, I have, by the paper affecting my eyes, that idea produced in my mind, which whatever object causes, I call white; by which I know that that quality or accident (i.e. whose appearance before my eyes always causes that idea) doth really exist, and hath a being without me. And of this, the greatest assurance I can possibly have, and to which my faculties can attain, is the testimony of my eyes, which are the proper and sole judges of this thing, whose testimony I have reason to rely on as so certain, that I can no more doubt, whilst I write this, that I see white and black, and that something really exists, that causes that sensation in me, than that I write or move my hand; which is a certainty as great as human nature is capable of, concerning the existence of any thing, but a man’s self alone, and of God. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 306 Chapter 6 Knowledge and Skepticism 3. This, though not so certain as demonstration, yet may be called knowledge, and proves the existence of things without us. The notice we have by our senses, of the existing of things without us, though it be not altogether so certain as our intuitive knowledge, or the deductions of our reason employed about the clear abstract ideas of our own minds; yet it is an assurance that deserves the name of knowledge. If we persuade ourselves, that our faculties act and inform us right, concerning the existence of those objects that affect them, it cannot pass for an illgrounded confidence: For I think nobody can, in earnest, be so sceptical, as to be uncertain of the existence of those things which he sees and feels. At least, he that can doubt so far (whatever he may have with his own thoughts) will never have any controversy with me; since he can never be sure I say any thing contrary to his own opinion. As to myself, I think God has given me assurance enough of the existence of things without me; since by their different application I can produce in myself both pleasure and pain, which is one great concernment of my present state. This is certain; the confidence that our faculties do not herein deceive us is the greatest assurance we are capable of, concerning the existence of material beings. For we cannot act any thing but by our faculties; nor talk of knowledge itself, but by the help of those faculties, which are fitted to apprehend even what knowledge is. But besides the assurance we have from our senses themselves, that they do not err in the information they give us, of the existence of things without us, when they are affected by them, we are farther confirmed in this assurance by other concurrent reasons. 4. Because we cannot have them but by the inlets of the senses. First, it is plain those perceptions are produced in us by exterior causes affecting our senses; because those that want [lack] the organs of any sense, never can have the ideas belonging to that sense produced in their minds. This is too evident to be doubted: And therefore we cannot but be assured, that they come in by the organs of that sense, and no other way. The organs themselves, it is plain, do not produce them, for then the eyes of a man in the dark would produce colors, and his nose smell roses in the winter: But we see nobody gets the relish of a pine-apple, till he goes to the Indies, where it is, and tastes it. 5. Because an idea from actual sensation, and another from memory, are very distinct perceptions. Secondly, because sometimes I find, that I cannot avoid the having those ideas produced in my mind. For though when my eyes are shut, or windows fast, I can at pleasure recall to my mind the ideas of light, or the sun, which former sensations had lodged in my memory; so I can at pleasure lay by that idea, and take into my view that of the smell of a rose, or taste of sugar. But, if I turn my eyes at noon towards the sun, I cannot avoid the ideas, which the light, or sun, then produces in me. So that there is a manifest difference between the ideas laid up in my memory, (over which, if they were there only, I should have constantly the same power to dispose of them, and lay them by at pleasure) and those which force themselves upon me, and I cannot avoid having. And therefore it must needs be some exterior cause, and the brisk acting of some objects without me, whose efficacy I cannot resist, that produces those ideas in my mind, whether I will or no. Besides, there is nobody who doth not perceive the difference in himself between contemplating the sun, as he hath the idea of it in his memory, and actually looking upon it: Of which two, his perception is so distinct, that few of his ideas are more distinguishable one from another. And therefore he hath certain knowledge that they are not both memory, or the actions of his mind, and fancies only within him; but that actual seeing hath a cause without. 6. Pleasure and Pain, which accompanies actual sensation, accompanies not the returning of those ideas, without the external objects. Thirdly, add to this, that many of those ideas are produced in us with pain, which afterwards we remember 13 Has Locke provided good reasons to think that our sense data prove the existence of an external world? Evaluate his attempt to answer his critics on this point. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 6.3 The Empiricist Turn 307 without the least offence. Thus the pain of heat or cold, when the idea of it is revived in our minds, gives us no disturbance; which, when felt, was very troublesome, and is again, when actually repeated; which is occasioned by the disorder the external object causes in our bodies when applied to it. And we remember the pains of hunger, thirst, or the headache, without any pain at all; which would either never disturb us, or else constantly do it, as often as we thought of it, were there nothing more but ideas floating in our minds, and appearances entertaining our fancies, without the real existence of things affecting us from abroad. The same may be said of pleasure, accompanying several actual sensations: And though mathematical demonstration depends not upon sense, yet the examining them by diagrams gives great credit to the evidence of our sight, and seems to give it a certainty approaching to that of demonstration itself. For it would be very strange, that a man should allow it for an undeniable truth, that two angles of a figure, which he measures by lines and angles of a diagram, should be bigger one than the other; and yet doubt of the existence of those lines and angles, which by looking on he makes use of to measure that by. 7. Our senses assist one another’s testimony of the existence of outward things. Fourthly, our senses in many cases bear witness to the truth of each other’s report, concerning the existence of sensible things without us. He that sees a fire, may, if he doubt whether it be any thing more than a bare fancy, feel it too; and be convinced by putting his hand in it. Which certainly could never be put into such exquisite pain, by a bare idea or phantom, unless that the pain be a fancy too: Which yet he cannot, when the burn is well, by raising the idea of it, bring upon himself again. Thus I see, whilst I write this, I can change the appearance of the paper: And by designing the letters tell before-hand what new idea it shall exhibit the very next moment, by barely drawing my pen over it: Which will neither appear (let me fancy as much as I will) if my hands stand still; or though I move my pen, if my eyes be shut: Nor when those characters are once made on the paper, can I choose afterwards but see them as they are; that is, have the ideas of such letters as I have made. Whence it is manifest, that they are not barely the sport and play of my own imagination, when I find that the characters, that were made at the pleasure of my own thoughts, do not obey them; nor yet cease to be, whenever I shall fancy it; but continue to affect my senses constantly and regularly, according to the figures I made them. To which if we will add, that the sight of those shall, from another man, draw such sounds, as I beforehand design they shall stand for; there will be little reason left to doubt, that those words I write do really exist without me, when they cause a long series of regular sounds to affect my ears, which could not be the effect of my imagination, nor could my memory retain them in that order. 8. This certainty is as great as our condition needs. But yet, if after all this any one will be so sceptical, as to distrust his senses, and to affirm that all we see and hear, feel and taste, think and do, during our whole being, is but the series and deluding appearances of a long dream, whereof there is reality; and therefore will question the existence of all things, or our knowledge of any thing; I must desire him to consider, that if all be a dream, then he doth but dream, that he makes the question; and so it is not much matter, that a waking man should answer him. But yet, if he pleases, he may dream that I make him this answer, that the certainty of things existing in rerum natura, when we have the testimony of our senses for it, is not only as great as our frame can attain to, but as our condition needs. For our faculties being suited not to the full extent of being, nor to a perfect, clear, comprehensive knowledge of things free from all doubt and scruple; but to the preservation of us, in whom they are; and accommodated to the use of life; they serve to our purpose well enough, if they will but give us certain notice of those things, which are convenient or inconvenient to us. 308 Chapter 6 Knowledge and Skepticism For he that sees a candle burning, and hath experimented the force of its flame, by putting his finger in it, will little doubt that this is something existing without him, which does him harm, and puts him to great pain: Which is assurance enough, when no man requires greater certainty to govern his actions by, than what is as certain as his actions themselves. And if our dreamer pleases to try, whether the glowing heat of a glass furnace be barely a wandering imagination in a drowsy man’s fancy; by putting his hand into it, he may perhaps be wakened into a certainty greater than he could wish, that it is something more than bare imagination. So that this evidence is as great as we can desire, being as certain to us as our pleasure or pain, i.e. happiness or misery; beyond which we have no concernment, either of knowing or being. Such an assurance of the existence of things without us is sufficient to direct us in the attaining the good, and avoiding the evil, which is caused by them; which is the important concernment we have of being made acquainted with them. 9. But reaches no farther than actual sensation. In fine then, when our senses do actually convey into our understandings any idea, we cannot but be satisfied that there doth something at that time really exist without us, which doth affect our senses, and by them give notice of itself to our apprehensive faculties, and actually produce that idea which we then perceive: And we cannot so far distrust their testimony, as to doubt, that such collections of simple ideas, as we have observed by our senses to be united together, do really exist together.12 Locke asks, in effect, what could possibly cause our sense experience if not external objects? His answer is that we know that external objects are real (and not a dream or delusion) because the theory that they exist is the best explanation for the sensations we have. External objects cause our sensations, and this is a much better explanation for our experience than that an evil genius or our own minds create a fantasy world that we take to be real. Berkeley Like Locke, George Berkeley is an empiricist who rejects skepticism. He believes that we can indeed acquire knowledge, and that the only path to it is through sense experience. But beyond these points of agreement, Berkeley veers sharply away from Locke’s view and from the theories of most other empiricists. (Caution: At first glance, you may think Berkeley’s theory of knowledge is both bizarre and wrong. But he provides plausible, and unsettling, arguments for his view, and generations of philosophers—whether they have agreed with Berkeley or not— have been forced to take his theory seriously.) For Berkeley, there are no material objects, no things that exist in the external world. There are objects to be sure, but they exist only as sensations (what Berkeley calls ideas) in some mind. They are real only because they are perceived by someone. Thus he declares in his famous phrase, esse est percipi, “to be is to be perceived.” What we usually call physical objects, then, are simply compilations of sense data, and reality consists only of ideas and the minds that perceive them. Our sense experience does not represent an external reality as Locke thought; our sense experience is reality. Locke’s view is vulnerable to skeptical criticism because he admits that there is a gap between our sensations and 14 Is Locke’s argument (an inference to the best explanation) successful? Evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. We are drowning in information and starved for knowledge. —Unknown Figure 6.8 George Berkeley (1685–1753). John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 6.3 The Empiricist Turn 309 reality. Berkeley, however, tries to defeat skepticism by doing away with the gap entirely. He contends that there is no gap because material objects do not exist; only ideas exist along with the minds that perceive them. Let’s allow Berkeley to make his case: George Berkeley, Of the Principles of Human Knowledge I. It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the senses, or else such as are perceived by attending to the passions and operations of the mind, or lastly, ideas formed by help of memory and imagination, either compounding, dividing, or barely representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways. By sight I have the ideas of light and colours with their several degrees and variations. By touch I perceive, for example, hard and soft, heat and cold, motion and resistance, and of all these more and less either as to quantity or degree. Smelling furnishes me with odours; the palate with tastes; and hearing conveys sounds to the mind in all their variety of tone and composition. And as several of these are observed to accompany each other, they come to be marked by one name, and so to be reputed as one thing. Thus, for example, a certain colour, taste, smell, figure, and consistence having been observed to go together, are accounted one distinct thing, signified by the name apple. Other collections of ideas constitute a stone, a tree, a book, and the like sensible things; which, as they are pleasing or disagreeable, excite the passions of love, hatred, joy, grief, and so forth. II. But besides all that endless variety of ideas or objects of knowledge, there is likewise something which knows or perceives them, and exercises divers operations, as willing, imagining, remembering about them. This perceiving, active being is what I call mind, spirit, soul, or myself. By which words I do not denote any one of my ideas, but a thing entirely distinct from them, wherein they exist, or, which is the same thing, whereby they are perceived; for the existence of an idea consists in being perceived. III. That neither our thoughts, nor passions, nor ideas formed by the imagination, exist without the mind, is what every body will allow. And (to me) it seems no less evident that the various sensations or ideas imprinted on the sense, however blended or combined together (that is, whatever objects they compose), cannot exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving them. I think an intuitive knowledge may be obtained of this, by any one that shall attend to what is meant by the term exist, when applied to sensible things. The table I write on, I say, exists, that is, I see and feel it; and if I were out of my study I should say it existed, meaning thereby that if I was in my study I might perceive it, or that some other spirit actually does perceive it. There was an odour, that is, it was smelled; there was a sound, that is to say, it was heard; a colour or figure, and it was perceived by sight or touch. This is all that I can understand by these and the like expressions. For as to what is said of the absolute existence of unthinking things without any relation to their being perceived, that seems perfectly unintelligible. Their esse is percipi, nor is it possible they should have any existence, out of the minds or thinking things which perceive them. IV. It is indeed an opinion strangely prevailing amongst men, that houses, mountains, rivers, and in a word sensible objects have an existence natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding. But with how great an assurance 15 Is Berkeley right that belief in material objects involves a logical contradiction? Explain. 310 Chapter 6 Knowledge and Skepticism and acquiescence soever this principle may be entertained in the world; yet whoever shall find in his heart to call it in question, may, if I mistake not, perceive it to involve a manifest contradiction. For what are the forementioned objects but the things we perceive by sense, and what do we perceive besides our own ideas or sensations; and is it not plainly repugnant that any one of these or any combination of them should exist unperceived? . . . VI. Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind, that a man need only open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be, to wit, that all the choir of heaven and furniture of the earth, in a word all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being (esse) is to be perceived or known; that consequently so long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some eternal spirit: it being perfectly unintelligible and i
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