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It is proper that we should •in general indulge our inclination in the most elaborate philosophical researches, notwithstanding our sceptical principles, and also that we should •give rein to our inclination to be positive and certain about particular points, according to how we see them at any particular instant. It is easier •to give up examination and enquiry altogether than •to restrain such a natural disposition in ourselves and guard against the confidence that always arises from an exact and full survey of an object. At those moments we are apt to forget not only our scepticism but even our modesty, and make use of such expressions as ‘it is evident’, ‘it is certain’, ‘it is undeniable’, which a due deference to the public ought perhaps to prevent. I may have followed others into committing this fault, but in face of any objections that may be made against me on that account I declare that such expressions were dragged out of me by my view of the object at that moment; they don’t imply any dogmatic spirit or conceited idea of my own judgment—attitudes that I am aware are not suitable for anybody, least of all a sceptic.

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