By Erasmus Desiderius
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Additional resources for A Very Pleasaunt and Fruitful Diolog Called the Epicure
The natural philosopher should take due INTRODUCTION 25 note of these stages, inasmuch as they range from "certainly true," through "doubtful whether true or not," to "certainly not true" (Bacon, 1875c, p. 260). Observation lays the foundation for scientific knowledge: ... if in any statement there be anything doubtful or questionable, I would by no means have it surpressed or passed in silence, but plainly and perspicuously set down by way of note or admonition. For I want this primary history to be compiled with a most religious care, as if every particular were stated upon oath; seeing that it is the book of God's works, and (so far as the majesty of heavenly may be compared with the humbleness of earthly things) a kind of second Scripture (Bacon, 1875c, p.
Tis certain, that sympathy is not always limited to the present moment, but that we often feel by conmiunication the pains and pleasures of INTRODUCTION 35 Others, which are not in being, and which we only anticipate by the force of imagination. For supposing I saw a person perfectly unknown to me, who, while asleep in the fields, was in danger of being trod under foot by horses, I shou'd immediately run to his assistance; and in this I shou'd be actuated by the same principle of sympathy, which makes me concern'd for the present sorrows of a stranger.
Hence, Hume and the other philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment are known as "moral sense" philosophers. No quality of human nature is more remarkable, both in itself and in its consequences, than that propensity we have to sympathize with others, and to receive by communication their inclinations and sentiments, however different from, or even contrary to our own (Hume, 1978, p. 316). Sympathy "communicates" or acts at a distance, just as the physiological principle described by Digby does.