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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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5140. MATERIALISM, Views on.—[continued].
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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5140. MATERIALISM, Views on.—[continued].

The crowd of scepticisms
in your puzzling letter on matter, spirit,
motion, &c., kept me from sleep. I read it and
laid it down; read it, and laid it down, again
and again; and to give rest to my mind, I was
obliged to recur ultimately to my habitual
anodyne, “I feel, therefore I exist”. I feel
bodies which are not myself: there are other
existences then. I call them matter. I feel
them changing place. This gives me motion. Where there is an absence of matter, I call it
void, or nothing, or immaterial space. On the
basis of sensation, of matter, and motion, we
may erect the fabric of all the certainties we
can have or need. I can conceive thought to be
an action of a particular organization of matter,
formed for that purpose by its creator, as
well as that attraction is an action of matter,
or magnetism of loadstone. When he who denies
to the Creator the power of endowing matter
with the mode of action called thinking, shall show how He could endow the sun with
the mode of action called attraction, which
reins the planets in the track of their orbits,
or how an absence of matter can have a will,
and by that will put matter into motion, then
the materialist may be lawfully required to explain
the process by which matter exercises the
faculty of thinking. When once we quit the
basis of sensation, all is in the wind. To talk
of immaterial existences, is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are
immaterial, is to say, they are nothings, or that
there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot
reason otherwise; but I believe I am supported
in my creed of materialism by the Lockes, the
Tracys, and the Stewarts.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 175.
(M. 1820)