By John Locke
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46 Trfling Propositions. Book 4. tions that do this are instructive; but they are far from such as affirm the same term of itself: which is no way to advance one's self or others in any sort of knowledge. It no more helps to that, than it would help any one, in his learning t o read, to have such propositions as these inculcated to him. An A is an A, and a B is a B ; which a man may know as well as any schoolmaster, and yet never be able t o read a word as long as he lives. Nor do these, or any such identical propositions, help him one jot forwards in the skill of reading, let him make what use of them he can.
If those who blame my calling them trifling propositions had but read, and been a t the pains to understand, what I had above writ in very plain English, they could not but have seen that by identical propositions I mean only such, wherein the same term, importing the same idea, is affirmed of itself: which I take t o be the proper signification of identical propositions : and concerning all such, I think I may continue safely t o say, that to propose t,hem as instructive is no better than trifling.
Knowledge of the Existence of a God. 67 fj 19. But you will eay, is it not impossible to admit of the making any thing out of nothing, since we cannot possibly conceive it ? I answer, No : 1 , Because it is not reasonable t o deny the power of an infinite being, because we cannot comprehend its operations. W e do not deny other effects upon this ground, b e cause we cannot possibly conceive the manner of their production. W e cannot conceive how any thing but impulse of body can move body ; and yet that is not a reason sufficient to make us deny it impossible, against the constant experience we have of it in ourselves, in all our voluntary motions, which are produced in us only by the free action or thought of our own minds ; and are not, nor can be the effects of the impulse or determination of the motion of blind matter in or upon our own bodies ; for then it could not be in our power or choice to alter it.