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there are no things so remote, nor so contrary, which the mind cannot, by this art of composition, bring into one idea; as is visible in that signified by the name universe.


Of Relation.

§ 1. BESIDES the ideas, whether simple or complex, that the mind has of things, as they are in themselves, there are others it gets from their comparison one with another. The understanding, in the consideration of any thing, is not confined to that precise object: it can carry any idea as it were beyond itself, or at least look beyond it, to see how it stands in conformity to any other. When the mind so considers one thing, that it does as it were bring it to and set it by another, and carry its view from one to the other: this is, as the words import, relation and respect; and the denominations given to positive things, intimating that respect, and serving as marks to lead the thoughts beyond the subject itself denominated to something distinct from it, are what we call relatives; and the things, so brought together, related. Thus, when the mind considers Caius as such a positive being, it takes nothing into that idea but what really exists in Caius; v.g. when I consider him as a man, I have nothing in my mind but the complex idea of the species, man. So likewise, when I say Caius is a white man, I have nothing but the bare consideration of a man who hath that white colour. But when I give Caius the name husband, I intimate some other person; and when I give him the name whiter, I intimate some other thing in both cases my thought is led to something beyond Caius, and there are two things brought into consideration. And since any idea, whether sim




ple or complex, may be the occasion why the mind thus brings two things together, and as it were takes a view of them at once, though still considered as distinct; therefore any of our ideas may be the foundation of relation. As in the above-mentioned instance, the contract and ceremony of marriage with Sempronia is the occasion of the denomination or relation of husband; and the colour white the occasion why he is said to be whiter than freestone.

§ 2. These, and the like relations, expressed by relative terms, that have others answering them, with a reciprocal intimation, as father and son, bigger and less, cause and effect, are very obvious to every one, and every body at first sight perceives the relation. For father and son, husband and wife, and such other correlative terms, seem so nearly to belong one to another, and through custom do so readily chime and answer one another in people's memories, that, upon the naming of either of them, the thoughts are presently carried beyond the thing so named; and nobody overlooks or doubts of a relation, where it is so plainly intimated. plainly intimated. But where languages have failed to give correlative names, there the relation is not always so easily taken notice of. Concubine is, no doubt, a relative name, as well as wife but in languages where this, and the like words, have not a correlative term, there people are not so apt to take them to be so, as wanting that evident mark of relation which is between correlatives, which seem to explain one another, and not to be able to exist but together. Hence it is, that many of those names which, duly considered, do include evident relations, have been called external denominations. But all names, that are more than empty sounds, must signify some idea, which is either in the thing to which the name is applied;-and then it is positive, and is looked on as united to, and existing in the thing to which the denomination is given ;-or else it


without correlative

terms not

easily perceived.

arises from the respect the mind finds in it to something distinct from it, with which it considers it; and then it includes a relation.

§ 3. Another sort of relative terms there is, which are not looked on to be either relative, or so much as external denominations; which yet, under the form and appearance of signifying something absolute in the subject, do conceal a tacit, though less observable relation. Such are the seemingly positive terms of old, great, imperfect, &c. whereof I shall have occasion to speak more at large in the following chapters.

Some seemingly absolute terms

contain rela


§ 4. This farther may be observed, that the ideas of relation may be the same in men, who have far different ideas of the things that are related, or that are thus compared; v. g. those who have far different ideas of a man, may yet agree in the notion of a father; which is a notion superinduced to the substance, or man, and refers only to an act of that thing called man, whereby he contributed to the generation of one of his own kind, let man be what it will.

Relation dif

ferent from the things related.

§ 5. The nature therefore of relation consists in the referring or comparing two things one to another; from which comparison one or both comes to be denominated. And if either of those things be removed or cease to be, the relation ceases, and the denomination consequent to it, though the other receive in itself no alteration at all; v. g. Caius, whom I consider to-day as a father, ceases to be so to-morrow, only by the death of his son, without any alteration made in himself. Nay, barely by the mind's changing the object to which it compares any thing, the same thing is capable of having contrary denominations at the same time: v. g. Caius, compared to several persons, may truly be said to be older and younger, stronger and weaker, &c.

Change of relation may be without any change in the sub



§ 6. Whatsoever doth or can exist, or be considered as one thing, is positive; only betwixt and so not only simple ideas and sub- two things. stances, but modes also, are positive beings: though the parts of which they consist are very often relative one to another; but the whole together considered as one thing, and producing in us the complex idea of one thing, which idea is in our minds as one picture, though an aggregate of divers parts, and under one name, it is a positive or absolute thing or idea. Thus a triangle, though the parts thereof compared one to another be relative, yet the idea of the whole is a positive absolute idea. The same may be said of a family, a tune, &c. for there can be no relation but betwixt two things considered as two things. There must always be in relation two ideas, or things, either in themselves really separate, or considered as distinct, and then a ground or occasion for their comparison. § 7. Concerning relation in general, All things these things may be considered:

capable of

First, That there is no one thing, whe- relation. ther simple idea, substance, mode, or relation, or name of either of them, which is not capable of almost an infinite number of considerations, in reference to other things; and therefore this makes no small part of men's thoughts and words: v. g. one single man may at once be concerned in, and sustain all these following relations, and many more, viz. father, brother, son, grandfather, grandson, father-in-law, son-in-law, husband, friend, enemy,subject, general, judge, patron, client, professor, European, Englishman, islander, servant, master, possessor, captain, superior, inferior, bigger, less, older, younger, contemporary, like, unlike, &c. to an almost infinite number: he being capable of as many relations as there can be occasions of comparing him to other things, in any manner of agreement, disagreement, or respect whatsoever. For, as I said, relation is a way of comparing or considering two things together, and giving one or both of them some

appellation from that comparison; and sometimes giving even the relation itself a name.

§ 8. Secondly, This farther may be considered concerning relation, that though it be not contained in the real existence of things, but something extraneous and superinduced; yet the ideas which relative words stand for, are often clearer and more distinct than of those substances to which they do belong. The notion we have of a father, or brother, is a great deal clearer and more distinct than that we have of a man; or, if you will, paternity is a thing whereof it is easier to have a clear idea than of humanity and I can much easier conceive what a friend is, than what God: because the knowledge of one action, or one simple idea, is oftentimes sufficient to give me the notion of a relation; but to the knowing of any substantial being, an accurate collection of sundry ideas is necessary. A man, if he compares two things together, can hardly be supposed not to know what it is, wherein he compares them: so that when he compares any things together, he cannot but have a very clear idea of that relation. The ideas then of relations are capable at least of being more perfect and distinct in our minds, than those of substances. Because it is commonly hard to know all the simple ideas which are really in any substance, but for the most part easy enough to know the simple ideas that make up any relation I think on, or have a name for: v. g. comparing two men, in reference to one common parent, it is very easy to frame the ideas of brothers, without having yet the perfect idea of a man. significant relative words, as well as others, standing only for ideas, and those being all either simple, or made up of simple ones, it suffices, for the knowing the precise idea the relative term stands for, to have a clear conception of that which is the foundation of the relation; which may be done without having a perfect and clear idea of the thing it is attributed to. Thus


The ideas of

relations clearer often than of the

subjects related.

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