By Frederick Charles Copleston
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III of Harrison's edition of The True Intellectual System of the Universe. And references are given according to pagination in this edition. • 4. J. 7: III. p. 582. • 4. 2. 2; IJI. p. 587. • 4. 3. J; JJJ. pp. 60[-2. 1 62 A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY-V THE CAMBRIDGE PLATONISTS material world save by the activity of the mind producing 'con_ ceptions' from within itself by virtue of its God-given power. '1 Cudworth accepts, therefore, the Cartesian criterion of truth, clarity and distinction of idea; but he rejects the use of the hypothesis of the 'evil genius' and Descartes' device to escape from the possibility of error and deception.
In other words, their attitude was different from the attitude insisted on by Francis Bacon and summed up in the aphorism 'Knowledge is power'. They had little sympathy with the subordination of knowledge to its scientific and practical exploitation. For one thing, they believed, whereas Bacon had riot, that rational knowledge of supersensible reality is attainable; and this knowledge cannot be exploited scientifically. Nor, for the matter of that, had they much sympathy with the Puritan subordination of knowledge of religious truth to 'practical' purposes.
One or two commentators have objected against over-emphasizing Locke's 'common sense'. And it is true, for example, that his theory of an ~ccult substrate in material things is not a commonsense view, if by this one means a view spontaneously held by a man who is innocent of all philosophy. But when one speaks of Locke's common sense, one does not mean to imply that his philosophy is no more than an expression of the spontaneously held views of the ordinary man. One means rather that he endeavoured to reflect on and analyse common experience, that he did not strive after originality by producing far-fetched theories and one-sided, if brilliant, interpretations of reality, and that the theories which he did produce were, in his opinion, required by rational reflection on common experience.