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The Soul thinks not always; for this wants Proofs.       §10. But whether the Soul be supposed to exist antecedent to, or
coeval with, or some time after the first Rudiments of Organisation,
or the beginnings of Life in the Body, I leave to be disputed by
those, who have better thought of that matter. I confess my self, to
have one of those dull Souls, that doth not perceive it self always to
contemplate Ideas, nor can conceive it any more necessary for the
Soul always to think, than for the Body always to move; the perception
of Ideas being (as I conceive) to the Soul, what motion is to the
Body, not its Essence, but one of its Operations: And therefore,
though thinking be supposed never so much the proper Action of
the Soul; yet it is not necessary, to suppose, that it should be always
thinking, always in Action. That, perhaps, is the Privilege of the
infinite Author and Preserver of things, who never slumbers nor sleeps; Ps. 121: 4.
but is not competent to any finite Being, at least not to the Soul of
Man. We know certainly by Experience, that we sometimes think,
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and thence draw this infallible Consequence, That there is some-
thing in us, that has a Power to think: But whether that Substance
perpetually thinks, or no, we can be no farther assured, than
Experience informs us For to say, that actual thinking is essential
to the Soul, and inseparable from it, is to beg, what is in Question,
and not to prove it by Reason; which is necessary to be done, if it
be not a self-evident Proposition. But whether this, That the Soul
always thinks, be a self-evident Proposition, that every Body assents
to at first hearing, I appeal to Mankind. ’Tis doubted whether I
thought all last night, or no; the Question being about a matter of
fact, ’tis begging it, to bring, as a proof for it, an Hypothesis, which
is the very thing in dispute: by which way one may prove any thing,
and ’tis but supposing that all watches, whilst the balance beats,
think, and ’tis sufficiently proved, and past doubt, that my watch
thought all last night. But he, that would not deceive himself,
ought to build his Hypothesis on matter of fact, and make it out by
sensible experience, and not presume on matter of fact, because of
his Hypothesis, that is, because he supposes it to be so: which way
of proving, amounts to this, That I must necessarily think all last
night, because another supposes I always think, though I my self
cannot perceive, that I always do so.
      But Men in love with their Opinions, may not only suppose what
is in question, but alledge wrong matter of fact. How else could any
one make it an inference of mine, that a thing is not, because we are not
sensible of it in our sleep. I do not say there is no Soul in a Man, because
he is not sensible of it in his sleep; But I do say, he cannot think at
any time waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it. Our being
sensible of it is not necessary to any thing, but to our thoughts; and
to them it is; and to them it will always be necessary, till we can
think without being conscious of it.
Locke Hum II, 1, §10, pp. 108-109