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Chapter II

Of the Degrees of our Knowledge.

      §1. All our Knowledge consisting, as I have said, in the view the
Mind has of its own Ideas, which is the utmost Light and greatest
Certainty, we with our Faculties, and in our way of Knowledge are
capable of, it may not be amiss, to consider a little the degrees of
its Evidence. The different clearness of our Knowledge seems to me
to lie in the different way of Perception, the Mind has of the Agree-
ment, or Disagreement of any of its Ideas. For if we will reflect on
our own ways of Thinking, we shall find, that sometimes the Mind
perceives the Agreement or Disagreement of two Ideas immediately
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by themselves, without the intervention of any other: And this,
I think, we may call intuitive Knowledge. For in this, the Mind is at no
pains of proving or examining, but perceives the Truth, as the Eye
doth light, only by being directed toward it. Thus the Mind per-
ceives, that White is not Black, That a Circle is not a Triangle, That
Three are more than Two, and equal to One and Two. Such kind of
Truths, the Mind perceives at the first sight of the Ideas together,
by bare Intuition, without the intervention of any other Idea; and
this kind of Knowledge is the clearest, and most certain, that
humane Frailty is capable of. This part of Knowledge is irresistible,
and like the bright Sun-shine, forces it self immediately to be per-
ceived, as soon as ever the Mind turns its view that way; and leaves
no room for Hesitation, Doubt, or Examination, but the Mind is
presently filled with the clear Light of it. ’Tis on this Intuition, that
depends all the Certainty and Evidence of all our Knowledge, which
Certainty every one finds to be so great, that he cannot imagine,
and therefore not require a greater: For a Man cannot conceive
himself capable of a greater Certainty, than to know that any Idea
in his Mind is such, as he perceives it to be; and that two Ideas,
wherein he perceives a difference, are different, and not precisely
the same. He that demands a greater Certainty than this, demands
he knows not what, and shews only that he has a Mind to be a
Sceptick, without being able to be so. Certainty depends so wholly
on this Intuition, that in the next degree of Knowledge, which I call
Demonstrative, this intuition is necessary in all the Connexions of the
intermediate Ideas, without which we cannot attain Knowledge and
Locke Hum IV, 2, §1, pp. 530-531