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that he was again upon the verge of an in
fenfible state *.
Now it is evident, from what has been already faid, that the degree of probability must be intuitively perceived, or the degree of affurance fpontaneously and inftinctively excited in the mind, upon the bare confideration of the instances on either fide; and that without any medium of argument to connect the future event with the past experience. Reafoning may be employed in bringing the instances into view; but when that is done, it is no longer neceffary. And if you were to argue with a man, in order to convince him that a certain future event is not fo improbable as he seems to think, you would only make him take notice of fome favourable instance which he had overlooked, or endeavour to render him fufpicious of the reality of fome of the unfavourable inftances; leaving it to himself to estimate the degree of probability. If he continue refractory, notwithstanding that his view of the fubject is the fame with yours, he can be reasoned with in no other way, than by your appealing to the common fenfe of mankind.
"Several things (fays Butler) greatly affect all our "living powers, and at length fufpend the exercife of "them; as, for inftance, droufinefs, increasing till it "ends in found fleep: and from hence we might have imagined it would destroy them, till we found by ex"perience the weakness of this way of judging."
Butler's Analogy, part 1. ch. 1.
To the fupreme intelligence all knowledge is intuitive and certain. But it is not unreafonable to fuppofe, that probabilities of one fort or other may fometimes employ the understanding of all created beings. To man, probability (as an excellent author * obferves) is the very guide of life.
Of Analogical Reasoning.
REafoning from analogy, when traced up
to its fource, will be found in like manner to terminate in a certain instinctive propenfity, implanted in us by our Maker, which leads us to expect, that fimilar caufes, in fimilar circumstances, do probably produce, or will probably produce, fimilar effects. The probability which this kind of evidence is fitted to illuftrate, does, like the former, admit of a vast variety of degrees, from abfolute doubting up to moral certainty. When the ancient philofopher, who was fhipwrecked in a strange country, difcovered certain geometrical figures drawn upon the fand by the fea-fhore, he was naturally led to believe, with a degree of affurance not inferior to
* Butler's Analogy. Introduction.
moral certainty, that the country was inhabited by men, fome of whom were men of ftudy and fcience, like himself. Had these figures been lefs regular, and liker chancework, the prefumption from analogy, of the country being inhabited, would have been weaker; and had they been of fuch a nature as left it altogether dubious, whether they were the work of accident or of design, the evidence would have been too ambiguous to ferve as a foundation for any opinion.
In reafoning from analogy, we argue from fact or thing experienced to fomething fimilar not experienced; and from our view of the former arifes an opinion with regard to the latter; which opinion will be found to imply a greater or lefs degree of affurance, according as the inftance from which we argue is more or lefs fimilar to the inftance to which we argue. Why the degree of our affurance is determined by the degree of likenefs, we cannot tell; but we know by experience, that this is the cafe and by experience alfo we know, that our affurance, fuch as it is, arifes immediately in the mind, whenever we fix our attention on the circumftances in which the probable event is expected, fo as to trace their refemblance to thofe circumstances in which we have known a fimilar event to take place. A child who has been burnt with a red-hot coal, is careful to avoid touching the flame of a candle; for as the visible qualities of the latter are like
to those of the former, he expects, with a very high degree of affurance, that the efects produced by the candle operating on his fingers, will be fimilar to thofe produced by the burning coal. And it deferves to be remarked, that the judgement a child forms on thefe occafions may arife, and often doth arife, previous to education and reafoning, and while experience is very limited. Knowing that a lighted candle is a dangerous object, he will be fhy of touching a glow-worm, or a piece of wet fifh fhining in the dark, because of their resemblance to the flame of a candle: but as this refemblance is but imperfect, his judgement, with regard to the confequences of touching thefe objects, will probably be more inclined to doubt, than in the former cafe, where the inftances were more fimilar.
Those who are acquainted with astronomy, think it probable, that the planets are inhabited by living creatures, on account of their being in all other refpects fo like our earth. A man who thinks them not much bigger than they appear to the eye, never dreams of fuch a notion; for to him they seem in every refpect unlike our earth: and there is no other way of bringing him over to the aftronomer's opinion, than by explaining to him those particulars in which the planets and our earth refemble one another. As foon as he comprehends thefe particulars, and this refemblance, his mind of its own accord ad
mits the probability of the new opinion, without being led to it by any medium of proof, connecting the facts he hath experienced with other fimilar and probable facts lying beyond the reach of his experience. Such a proof indeed could not be given. If he were not convinced of the probability by the bare view of the facts, you would impute his feverance in his old opinion, either to obstinacy, or to want of common fenfe; two mental disorders for which logic provides no remedy.
THe Here are in the world many men, whofe declaration concerning any fact which they have feen, and of which they are competent judges, would engage my belief as effectually as the evidence of my own fenfes. A metaphyfician may tell me, that this implicit confidence in teftimony is unworthy of a philofopher, and that my faith ought to be more rational. It may be fo; but I believe as before notwithstanding. And I find that all men have the fame confidence in the teftimony of certain perfons; and that if a man fhould refufe to think as other men do