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|| INTRODUCTION | 001 ||

Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth , it may with reason be expected , that those who have spent the most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of mind , a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge , and be less disturbed with doubts and difficulties than other people .

Yet so it is we see the illiterate bulk of humanity that walk the high-road of plain , common sense , and are governed by the dictates of nature , for the most part easy and undisturbed . To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend . They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses , and are out of all danger of becoming skeptics .

But no sooner do we depart from sense and instinct to follow the light of a superior principle , to reason , meditate , and reflect on the nature of things , but a thousand scruples spring up in our minds , concerning those things which before we seemed fully to comprehend .

Prejudices and errors of sense do from all parts discover themselves to our view ; and endeavoring to correct these by reason we are insensibly drawn into uncouth paradoxes , difficulties , and inconsistencies , which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation ; till at length , having wandered through many intricate mazes , we find our selves just where we were , or , which is worse , sit down in a forlorn skepticism .