Preface to the 4to edition of the Letters concerning Toleration.

§ 12. Thus the mind has three sorts of abstract ideas or nominal essences:

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§ 2. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience; in all that our knowledge is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.

§ 17. And thus much for the relation of human actions to a law, which therefore I call moral relation.

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§ 3. The infinitely wise author of our being having given us the power over several parts of our bodies, to move or keep them at rest as we think fit; and also, by the motion of them, to move ourselves and other contiguous bodies, in which consist all the actions of our body; having also given a power to our minds in several instances, to choose, amongst its ideas, which it will think on, and to pursue the inquiry of this or that subject with consideration and attention, to excite us to these actions of thinking and motion that we are capable of; has been pleased to join to several thoughts, and several sensations, a perception of delight. If this were wholly separated from all our outward sensations and inward thoughts, we should have no reason to prefer one thought or action to another; negligence to attention; or motion to rest. And so we should neither stir our bodies nor employ our minds, but let our thoughts (if I may so call it) run a-drift, without any direction or design; and suffer the ideas of our minds, like unregarded shadows, to make their appearances there, as it happened, without attending to them. In which state man, however furnished with the faculties of understanding and will, would be a very idle unactive creature, and pass his time only in a lazy, lethargic dream. It has therefore pleased our wise Creator to annex to several objects, and the ideas which we receive from them, as also to several of our thoughts, a concomitant pleasure, and that in several objects, to several degrees; that those faculties which he had endowed us with might not remain wholly idle and unemployed by us.

John Locke, The Works of John Locke, vol. 1 (An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 1) [1689]

§ 1. common names of substances, as well as other general terms, stand for sorts; which is nothing else but the being made signs of such complex ideas, wherein several particular substances do, or might agree, by virtue of which they are capable of being comprehended in one common conception, and signified by one name. I say, do or might agree: for though there be but one sun existing in the world, yet the idea of it being abstracted, so that more substances (if there were several) might each agree in it; it is as much a sort, as if there were as many suns as there are stars. They want not their reasons who think there are, and that each fixed star would answer the idea the name sun stands for, to one who was placed in a due distance; which, by the way, may show us how much the sorts, or, if you please, genera and species of things (for those Latin terms signify to me no more than the English word sort) depend on such collections of ideas as men have made, and not on the real nature of things; since it is not impossible but that, in propriety of speech, that might be a sun to one, which is a star to another.

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Toleration And Other Essays By Voltaire

§ 40. But we being in this world beset with sundry uneasinesses, distracted with different desires, the next inquiry naturally will be, which of them has the precedency in determining the will to the next action? and to that the answer is, that ordinarily, which is the most pressing of those that are judged capable of being then removed. For the will being the power of directing our operative faculties to some action, for some end, cannot at any time be moved towards what is judged at that time unattainable: that would be to suppose an intelligent being designedly to act for an end, only to lose its labour, for so it is to act for what is judged not attainable; and therefore very great uneasinesses move not the will, when they are judged not capable of a cure; they, in that case, put us not upon endeavours. But these set apart, the most important and urgent uneasiness we at that time feel, is that which ordinarily determines the will successively, in that train of voluntary actions which makes up our lives. The greatest present uneasiness is the spur to action, that is constantly felt, and for the most part determines the will in its choice of the next action. For this we must carry along with us, that the proper and only object of the will is some action of ours, and nothing else: for we producing nothing by our willing it, but some action in our power, it is there the will terminates, and reaches no farther.

John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration and Other ..

§ 44. This, I think, any one may observe in himself and others, that the greater visible good does not always raise men’s desires, in proportion to the greatness it appears, and is acknowledged to have: though every little trouble moves us, and sets us on work to get rid of it. The reason whereof is evident, from the nature of our happiness and misery itself. All present pain, whatever it be, makes a part of our present misery; but all absent good does not at any time make a necessary part of our present happiness, nor the absence of it make a part of our misery. If it did, we should be constantly and infinitely miserable; there being infinite degrees of happiness, which are not in our possession. All uneasiness therefore being removed, a moderate portion of good serves at present to content men; and some few degrees of pleasure in a succession of ordinary enjoyments make up a happiness, wherein they can be satisfied. If this were not so, there could be no room for those indifferent and visibly trifling actions, to which our wills are so often determined, and wherein we voluntarily waste so much of our lives; which remissness could by no means consist with a constant determination of will or desire to the greatest apparent good. That this is so, I think few people need go far from home to be convinced. And indeed in this life there are not many whose happiness reaches so far as to afford them a constant train of moderate mean pleasures, without any mixture of uneasiness; and yet they could be content to stay here for ever: though they cannot deny, but that it is possible there may be a state of eternal durable joys after this life, far surpassing all the good that is to be found here. Nay, they cannot but see, that it is more possible than the attainment and continuation of that pittance of honour, riches, or pleasure, which they pursue, and for which they neglect that eternal state; but yet in full view of this difference, satisfied of the possibility of a perfect, secure, and lasting happiness in a future state, and under a clear conviction, that it is not to be had here, whilst they bound their happiness within some little enjoyment, or aim of this life, and exclude the joys of heaven from making any necessary part of it; their desires are not moved by this greater apparent good, nor their wills determined to any action, or endeavour for its attainment.