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The imagination naturally thinks along the following lines:
•Our perceptions are our only objects. •Resembling perceptions are the same, however broken or uninterrupted in their appearance. •This apparent interruption is contrary to the identity. •So it is only an apparent interruption, and the perception or object really continues to exist even when absent from us. •So our sensory perceptions have a continued and
uninterrupted existence. But as a little reflection destroys this conclusion that our perceptions have a continued existence by showing that they have a dependent one—·and I have shown that they couldn’t be continuous unless they were independent·—it would naturally be expected that we should altogether reject the opinion that Nature contains any such thing as a continued existence that is preserved even when it no longer appears to the senses. But that is not what has happened! Philosophers don’t in general infer from but the moment we relax our thoughts, Nature will display herself and pull us back to our former ·instinctive or natural· opinion. Indeed, Nature sometimes has so much influence that she can stop us in our tracks, even in the middle of our deepest reflections, and keep us from running on into all the consequences of some philosophical opinion. Thus, though we clearly perceive the dependence and interruption of our perceptions, we come to an abrupt halt and don’t infer that there is nothing independent and continuous. The opinion that there are such things has taken such deep root in the imagination that it is impossible ever to eradicate it; no tenuous metaphysical conviction of the dependence of our perceptions is sufficient for that purpose.
But though our natural and obvious drives here prevail over our studied reflections, there must surely be some struggle and opposition over this, at least so long as these reflections retain any force or liveliness. In order to set ourselves at ease in this respect, we contrive a new hypothesis that seems to take in both these influences—of reason and of imagination. This is the philosophical hypothesis of the double existence of perceptions and objects: it pleases our reason by allowing that our dependent perceptions are interrupted and different, and it is also agreeable to the imagination because it attributes a continued existence to something else that we call ‘objects’. This philosophical system, therefore, is the misshaped offspring of two principles that are •contrary to each other, are •both at once embraced by the mind, and are •unable mutually to destroy each other. The imagination tells us that our resembling perceptions
•have a continued and uninterrupted existence, and
are not annihilated by being absent from us. Reflection tells us that even our resembling perceptions
•are interrupted in their existence, and are different from each other.
Our sensory perceptions are dependent and not continuous
Nothing has a continued existence ·through gaps in
our perceptions·. Indeed, they are so far from making that inference that although all philosophical sects agree with the former view, the latter—which is in a way its necessary consequence—has been the property only of a few extravagant sceptics; and even they have maintained it in words only, and were never able to bring themselves sincerely to believe it.

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