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of apart upon any occasion: and there is nothing more evident, than that the greatest part of different names are supposed to stand for different things. Now every idea a man has being visibly what it is, and distinct from all other ideas but itself, that which makes it confused is, when it is such, that it may as well be called by another name as that which it is expressed by: the difference which keeps the things (to be ranked under those two different names) distinct, and makes some of them belong rather to the one, and some of them to the other of those names, being left out; and so the distinction, which was intended to be kept up by those different names is quite lost.
$ 7. The defaults which usually occa- Defaults sion this confusion, I think, are chiefly which make these following:
confusion. First, When any complex idea (for it first, comis complex ideas that are most liable to plex ideas confusion) is made up of too small a num
too few simber of simple ideas, and such only as are
ple ones. common to other things, whereby the differences that make it deserve a different name are left out. Thus he that has an idea made up of barely the simple ones of a beast with spots, has but à confused idea of a leopard; it not being thereby sufficiently distinguished from a lynx, and several other sorts of beasts that are spotted. So that such an idea, though it hath the peculiar name leopard, is not distinguishable from those designed by the names lynx or panther, and may as well come under the name lynx as leopard. How much the custom of defining of words by general terms contributes to make the ideas we would express by them confused and undetermined, I leave others to consider. This is evident, that confused ideas are such as render the use of words uncertain, and take away the benefit of distinct names. When the ideas, for which we use different terms, have not a difference answerable to their distinct names,
and so cannot be distinguished by them, there it is that they are truly confused. Secondly, or
§ 8. Secondly, Another fault which its simple
makes our ideas confused is, when though ones jumbled the particulars that make up any idea are disorderly in number enough; yet they are so together.
jumbled together, that it is not easily discernible whether it more belongs to the name that is given it than to any other. There is nothing properer to make us conceive this confusion, than a sort of pictures usually shown as surprising pieces of art, wherein the colours, as they are laid by the pencil on the table itself, mark out very odd and unusual figures, and have no discernible order in their position. This draught, thus made up of parts wherein no symmetry nor order appears, is in itself no more a confused thing than the picture of a cloudy sky; wherein though there be as little order of colours or figures to be found, yet nobody thinks it a confused picture. What is it then that makes it be thought confused, since the want of symmetry does not ? as it is plain it does not; for another draught made, barely in imitation of this, could not be called confused. I answer, that which makes it be thought confused is the applying it to some name to which it does no more discernibly belong than to some other: v.g. when it is said to be the picture of a man, or Cæsar, then any one with reason counts it confused: because it is not discernible in that state to belong more to the name man, or Cæsar, than to the name baboon, or Pompey; which are supposed to stand for different ideas from those signified by man or Cæsar. But when a cylindrical mirror, placed right, hath reduced those irregular lines on the table into their due order and proportion, then the confusion ceases, and the eye presently sees that it is a man, or Cæsar, i.e. that it belongs to those names; and that it is sufficiently distinguishable from a baboon, or Pompey, i. e. from
the ideas signified by those names. Just thus it is with our ideas, which are as it were the pictures of things. No one of these mental draughts, however the parts are put together, can be called confused (for they are plainly discernible as they are) till it be ranked under some ordinary name to which it cannot be discerned to belong, any more than it does to some other name of an allowed different signification.
$ 9. Thirdly, A third defect that fre- Thirdly, or quently gives the name of confused to are mutable
and undeour ideas, is when any one of them is uncertain and undetermined. Thus we may
termined. observe men, who not forbearing to use the ordinary words of their language till they have learned their precise signification, change the idea they make this or that term stand for, almost as often as they use it. He that does this, out of uncertainty of what he should leave out, or put into his idea of church or idolatry, every time he thinks of either, and holds not steady to any one precise combination of ideas that makes it up, is said to have a confused idea of idolatry or the church : though this be still for the same reason as the former, viz. because a mutable idea (if we will allow it to be one idea) cannot belong to one name rather than another; and so loses the distinction that distinct names are designed for.
§ 10. By what has been said, we may Confusion, observe how much names, as supposed without resteady signs of things, and by their dif- ference to ference to stand for and keep things di- names,
hardstinct that in themselves are different, are
ble. the occasion of denominating ideas distinct or confused, by a secret and unobserved reference the mind makes of its ideas to such names. This perhaps will be fuller understood after what I say of words, in the third book, has been read and considered. But without taking notice of such a reference of ideas to distinct names, as the signs of distinct things, it will be hard to say what a confused idea is. And there
fore when a man designs, by any name, a sort of
to separate two things that should be
separated, concerns always two ideas; and ideas.
those most, which most approach one another. Whenever therefore we suspect any idea to be confused, we must examine what other it is in danger to be confounded with, or which it cannot easily be separated from; and that will always be found an idea belonging to another name, and so should be a different thing, from which yet it is not sufficiently distinct; being either the same with it, or making a part of it, or at least as properly called by that name, as the other it is ranked under; and so keeps not that difference from that other idea, which the different names import. Causes of § 12. This, I think, is the confusion confusion.
proper to ideas, which still carries with it a secret reference to names. At least, if there be any other confusion of ideas, this is that which most of all disorders men's thoughts and discourses: ideas, as ranked under names, being those that for the most part men reason of within themselves, and always those which they commune about with others. And therefore where there are supposed two different ideas marked by two different names, which are not as distinguishable as the sounds that stand for them, there never fails to be confusion; and where any ideas are distinct, as the ideas of those two sounds they are
marked by, there can be between them no confusion The way to prevent it is to collect and unite into our complex idea, as precisely as is possible, all those ingredients whereby it is differenced from others; and to them, so united in a determinate number and order, apply steadily the same name. But this neither accommodating men's ease or vanity, or serving any design but that of naked truth, which is not always the thing aimed at, such exactness is rather to be wished than hoped for. And since the loose application of names to undetermined, variable, and almost no ideas, serves both to cover our own ignorance, as well as to perplex and confound others, which goes for learning and superiority in knowledge, it is no wonder that most men should use it themselves, whilst they complain of it in others. Though, I think, no small part of the confusion to be found in the notions of men might by care and ingenuity be avoided, yet I am far from concluding it every where wilful. Some ideas are so complex, and made up of so many parts, that the memory does not easily retain the very same precise combination of simple ideas under one name; much less are we able constantly to divine for what precise complex idea such a name stands in another man's use of it. From the first of these, follows confusion in a man's own reasonings and opinions within himself; from the latter, frequent confusion in discoursing and arguing with others. But having more at large treated of words, their defects and abuses, in the following book, I shall here say no more of it.
$ 13. Our complex ideas being made up of collections, and so variety of simple ideas may be
Complex ones, may accordingly be very clear and
distinct in distinct in one part, and very obscure and one part, and confused in another. In a man who confused in
another. speaks of a chiliædron, or a body of a thousand sides, the ideas of the figure may be very confused, though that of the number be very distinct; so that he being able to discourse and demonstrate