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Notice that when people attribute a distinct continued existence to sounds and colours, they do this without ever consulting reason or testing our opinions by any philosophical principles. Indeed, whatever convincing arguments philosophers may think they can produce to establish the belief in objects that are independent of the mind, these arguments are known to only a very few; it is not by them that children, peasants, and most of mankind are induced to attribute ·independent· objects to some impressions and deny them to others. Thus, we find that all the conclusions that common people arrive at about this are directly contrary to those that are confirmed by philosophy! For philosophy informs us that everything that appears to the mind is nothing but a perception, and is interrupted and dependent on the mind; whereas common people confuse •perceptions with •objects, and attribute a •distinct continued existence (·objects·) to the very things they feel or see (·perceptions·). This opinion is entirely unreasonable, therefore, and so it must come from some faculty other than the understanding, ·i.e. other than reason·. To which I would add this: As long as we take our perceptions and objects to be the same, we can’t infer the existence of the objects from the existence of the perceptions, or form any argument from the relation of cause and effect, which is the only one that can assure us of any matter of fact. And even after we distinguish perceptions from objects, it will soon appear that we still can’t reason from the existence of one to the existence of the other. All this shows that our reason doesn’t and couldn’t possibly, on any supposition, give us an assurance of the continued and distinct existence of body. That opinion must be entirely owing to the imagination, which must now be the subject of our enquiry. ·The discussion of the imagination’s role in producing the belief in continued bodies that are distinct from us will occupy more than half of the length of this section·.

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