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and cannot but be adequate, since it ought only to answer that power; and so all simple ideas are adequate. It is true, the things producing in us these simple ideas are but few of them denominated by us as if they were only the causes of them, but as if those ideas were real beings in them. For though fire be called painful to the touch, whereby is signified the power of producing in us the idea of pain, yet it is denominated also light and hot; as if light and heat were really something in the fire more than a power to excite these ideas in us; and therefore are called qualities in, or of the fire. But these being nothing, in truth, but powers to excite such ideas in us, I must in that sense be understood, when I speak of secondary qualities, as being in things; or of their ideas, as being the objects that excite them in us. Such ways of speaking, though accommodated to the vulgar notions, without which one cannot be well understood, yet truly signify nothing but those powers which are in things to excite certain sensations or ideas in us since were there no fit organs to receive the impressions fire makes on the sight and touch, nor a mind joined to those organs to receive the ideas of light and heat by those impressions from the fire or sun, there would yet be no more light or heat in the world, than there would be pain, if there were no sensible creature to feel it, though the sun should continue just as it is now, and mount Etna flame higher than ever it did. Solidity and extension, and the termination of it, figure, with motion and rest, whereof we have the ideas, would be really in the world as they are, whether there were any sensible being to perceive them or no; and therefore we have reason to look on those as the real modifications of matter, and such are the exciting causes of all our various sensations from bodies. But this being an inquiry not belonging to this place, I shall enter no farther into it, but proceed to show what complex ideas are adequate, and what not.
§ 3. Secondly, our complex ideas of modes, being voluntary collections of simple ideas which the mind puts together without reference to any real archetypes or standing patterns existing anywhere, are and cannot but be adequate ideas. Because they not being intended for copies of things really existing, but for archetypes made by the mind to rank and denominate things by, cannot want any thing; they having each of them that combination of ideas, and thereby that perfection which the mind intended they should: so that the mind acquiesces in them, and can find nothing wanting. Thus by having the idea of a figure, with three sides meeting at three angles, I have a complete idea, wherein I require nothing else to make it perfect. That the mind is satisfied with the perfection of this its idea, is plain in that it does not conceive, that any understanding hath, or can have a more complete or perfect idea of that thing it signifies by the word triangle, supposing it to exist, than itself has in that complex idea of three sides and three angles; in which is contained all that is or can be essential to it, or necessary to complete it, wherever or however it exists. But in our ideas of substances it is otherwise. For there desiring to copy things as they really do exist, and to represent to ourselves that constitution on which all their properties depend, we perceive our ideas attain not that perfection we intend: we find they still want something we should be glad were in them; and so are all inadequate. But mixed modes and relations, being archetypes without patterns, and so having nothing to represent but themselves, cannot but be adequate, every thing being so to itself. He that at first put together the idea of danger, perceived absence of disorder from fear, sedate consideration of what was justly to be done, and executing that without disturbance, or being deterred by the danger of it, had certainly in his mind that complex idea made up of that combina
Modes are all adequate.
tion; and intending it to be nothing else, but what is, nor to have in it any other simple ideas, but what it hath, it could not also but be an adequate idea: and laying this up in his memory, with the name courage annexed to it, to signify to others, and denominate from thence any action he should observe to agree with it, had hereby a standard to measure and denominate actions by, as they agreed to it. This idea thus made, and laid up for a pattern, must necessarily be adequate, being referred to nothing else but itself, nor made by any other original, but the good-liking and will of him that first made this combination. § 4. Indeed another coming after, and in conversation learning from him the word courage, may make an idea, to which he gives the name courage, different from what the first author applied it to, and has in his mind, when he uses it. And in this case, if he designs that his idea in thinking should be conformable to the other's idea, as the name he uses in speaking is conformable in sound to his, from whom he learned it, his idea may be very wrong and inadequate: because in this case, making the other man's idea the pattern of his idea in thinking, as the other man's word or sound is the pattern of his in speaking, his idea is so far defective and inadequate, as it is distant from the archetype and pattern he refers it to, and intends to express and signify by the name he uses for it; which name he would have to be a sign of the other man's idea (to which, in its proper use, it is primarily annexed) and of his own, as agreeing to it: to which, if his own does not exactly correspond, it is faulty and inadequate.
§ 5. Therefore these complex ideas of modes, when they are referred by the mind, and intended to correspond to the ideas in the mind of some other intelligent being, expressed by the names we apply to them, they may be very deficient, wrong, and inade
Modes, in reference to
names, may be inade
quate; because they agree not to that which the mind designs to be their archetype and pattern: in which respect only any idea of modes can be wrong, imperfect, or inadequate. And on this account our ideas of mixed modes are the most liable to be faulty of any other; but this refers more to proper speaking than knowing right.
§ 6. Thirdly, what ideas we have of
substances I have above showed. Now those ideas have in the mind a double reference: 1. Sometimes they are referred to a supposed real essence of each species of things. 2. Sometimes they are only designed to be pictures and representations in the mind of things that do exist by ideas of those qualities that are discoverable in them. In both which ways these copies of those originals and archetypes are imperfect and inadequate.
First, it is usual for men to make the names of substances stand for things, as supposed to have certain real essences, whereby they are of this or that species: and names standing for nothing but the ideas that are in men's minds, they must constantly refer their ideas to such real essences, as to their archetypes. That men (especially such as have been bred up in the learning taught in this part of the world) do suppose certain specific essences of substances, which each individual, in its several kinds, is made conformable to, and partakes of, is so far from needing proof, that it will be thought strange if any one should do otherwise. And thus they ordinarily apply the specific names they rank particular substances under to things, as distinguished by such specific real essences. Who is there almost who would not take it amiss if it should be doubted whether he called himself a man, with any other meaning than as having the real essence of a man? And yet if you demand what those real essences are, it is plain men are ignorant, and know them not. From whence it
Ideas of sub
stances, as referred to
real essences, not adequate.
follows, that the ideas they have in their minds, being referred to real essences, as to archetypes which are unknown, must be so far from being adequate, that they cannot be supposed to be any representation of them at all. The complex ideas we have of substances are, as it has been shown, certain collections of simple ideas that have been observed or supposed constantly to exist together. But such a complex idea cannot be the real essence of any substance; for then the properties we discover in that body would depend on that complex idea, and be deducible from it, and their necessary connexion with it be known; as all properties of a triangle depend on, and, as far as they are discoverable, are deducible from, the complex idea of three lines, including a space. But it is plain that in our complex ideas of substances are not contained such ideas, on which all the other qualities that are to be found in them do depend. The common idea men have of iron, is a body of a certain colour, weight, and hardness; and a property that they look on as belonging to it is malleableness. But yet this property has no necessary connexion with that complex idea, or any part of it: and there is no more reason to think that malleableness depends on that colour, weight, and hardness, than that colour, or that weight, depends on its malleableness. And yet, though we know nothing of these real essences, there is nothing more ordinary than that men should attribute the sorts of things to such essences. The particular parcel of matter which makes the ring I have on my finger is forwardly, by most men, supposed to have a real essence, whereby it is gold; and from whence those qualities flow, which I find in it, viz. its peculiar colour, weight, hardness, fusibility, fixedness, and change of colour upon a slight touch of mercury, &c. This essence, from which all these properties flow, when I inquire into it, and search after it, I plainly perceive I cannot discover: the farthest I can go is only to presume, that it being no