— 68 —
Moral Rules need a Proof, ergo not innate.       §4. Another Reason that makes me doubt of any innate practical
Principles, is, That I think, there cannot any one moral Rule be propos’d,
whereof a Man may not justly demand a Reason: which would be perfect-
ly ridiculous and absurd, if they were innate, or so much as self-
evident; which every innate Principle must needs be, and not need
any Proof to ascertain its Truth, nor want any Reason to gain it
Approbation. He would be thought void of common Sense, who
asked on the one side, or on the other side went about to give a
Reason, Why it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be. It
carries its own Light and Evidence with it, and needs no other
Proof: He that understands the Terms, assents to it for its own sake,
or else nothing will ever be able to prevail with him to do it. But
should that most unshaken Rule of Morality, and Foundation of all
social Virtue, That one should do as he would be done unto, be propos’d to
one, who never heard it before, but yet is of capacity to understand
its meaning; Might he not without any absurdity ask a Reason
why? And were not he that propos’d it, bound to make out the
Truth and Reasonableness of it to him? Which plainly shews it not
to be innate; for if it were, it could neither want nor receive any
Proof: but must needs (at least, as soon as heard and understood)
be received and assented to, as an unquestionable Truth, which a
Man can by no means doubt of. So that the truth of all these moral
Rules, plainly depends upon some other antecedent to them, and
from which they must be deduced, which could not be, if either
they were innate, or so much as self-evident.
Locke Hum I, 3, §4, p. 68