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standing of the name of any other simple idea will he have, who hopes to get it only from a definition, or other words made use of to explain it.

§. 12. The case is quite otherwise in complex ideas; which consisting of several simple ones, it is in the power of words, standing for the several ideas that make that composition, to imprint complex ideas in the mind, which were never there before, and so make their names be understood. In such collections of ideas, passing under one name, definition, or the teaching the signification of one word by several others, has place, and may make us understand the names of things, which never came within the reach of our senses; and frame ideas suitable to those in other men's minds, when they use those names: provided that none of the terms of the definition stand for any such simple ideas, which he to whom the explication is made has never yet had in his thought. Thus the word statue may be explained to a blind man by other words, when picture cannot; his senses having given him the idea of figure, but not of colours, which therefore words cannot excite in him. This gained the prize to the painter against the statuary: each of which contending for the excellency of his art, and the statuary bragging that his was to be preferred, because it reached farther, and even those who had lost their eyes could yet perceive the excellency of it, the painter agreed to refer himself to the judgment of a blind man ; who being brought where there was a statue, made by the one, and a picture drawn by the other, he was first led to the statue, in which he traced with his hand all the lineaments of the face and body, and with great admiration applauded the skill of the workman. But being led to the picture, and having his hands laid upon it, was told, that now he touched the head, and then the forehead, eyes, nose, &c. as his hands moved over the parts of the picture on the cloth, without finding any the least distinction: whereupon he cried out, that certainly that must needs be a very admirable and divine piece of workmanship, which could repre


The contra

ry showed in complex ideas, by instances of a statue and rainbow.

sent to them all those parts, where he could neither feel nor perceive any thing.

6. 13. He that should use the word rainbow to one who knew all those colours, but yet had never seen that phænomenon, would, by enumerating the figure, largeness, position and order of the colours, so well define that word, that it might be perfectly under stood. But yet that definition, how exact and perfect soever, would never make a blind man understand it; because several of the simple ideas that make that complex one, being such as he never received by sensation. and experience, no words are able to excite them in his mind.

The same of

§. 14. Simple ideas, as has been showed, can only be got by experience, from those complex objects, which are proper to produce in us those perceptions. When by this means we have our minds stored with them, and know the names for them, then we are in a condition to define, and by definition to understand the names of complex ideas, that are made up of them. But when any term stands for a simple idea, that a man has never yet had in his mind, it is impossible by any words to make known its meaning to him. When any term stands for an idea a man is acquainted with, but is ignorant that that term is the sign of it; there another name, of the same idea which he has been accustomed to, may make him understand its meaning. But in no case whatsoever is any name, of any simple idea, capable of a definition.

§. 15. Fourthly, But though the names of simple ideas have not the help of definition to determine their signification, yet that hinders not but that they are generally less doubtful and uncertain, than those of mixed modes and substances: because they standing only for one simple perception, men, for the most part, easily and perfectly agree in their signification; and there is little room for mistake and wrangling about their meaning. He that knows once that whiteness is the name of that colour he has observed in snow or milk, will not be N 2 apt

ideas when to be made

intelligible by words.

4. Names of simple ideas least doubt


apt to misapply that word, as long as he retains that idea; which when he has quite lost, he is not apt to mistake the meaning of it, but perceives he understands it not. There is neither a multiplicity of simple ideas to be put together, which makes the doubtfulness in the names of mixed modes; nor a supposed, but an unknown real essence, with properties depending thereon, the precise number whereof is also unknown, which makes the difficulty in the names of substances. But, on the contrary, in simple ideas the whole signification of the name is known at once, and consists not of parts, whereof more or less being put in, the idea may be varied, and so the signification of name be obscure or uncertain.

ideas have few ascents

in lineâ præ


5. Simple §. 16. Fifthly, This farther may be observed concerning simple ideas and their names, that they have but few ascents in lineâ prædicamentali (as they call it) from the lowest species to the summum genus. The reason whereof is, that the lowest species being but one simple idea, nothing can be left out of it; that so the difference being taken away, it may agree with some other thing in one idea common to them both; which, having one name, is the genus of the other two: v. g. there is nothing that can be left out of the idea of white and red, to make them agree in one common appearance, and so have one general name; as rationality being left out of the complex idea of mian, makes it agree with brute, in the more general idea and name of animal: and therefore when to avoid unpleasant enumerations,, men would comprehend both white and red, and several other such simple ideas, under one general name, they have been fain to do it by a word, which denotes only the way they get into the mind. For when white, red, and yellow are all comprehended under the genus or name colour, it signifies no more but such ideas as are produced in the mind only by the sight, and have entrance only through the eyes. And when they would frame yet a more general term, to comprehend both colours and sounds, and the like simple ideas, they do it by a word that signifies all


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such as come into the mind only by one sense: and so the general term quality in its ordinary acceptation, comprehends colours, sounds, tastes, smells, and tangible qualities, with distinction from extension, number, motion, pleasure and pain, which make impressions on the mind, and introduce their ideas by more senses than one.

§. 17. Sixthly, The names of simple ideas, substances, and mixed modes have also this difference; that those of mixed modes stand for ideas perfectly arbitrary; those of substances are not perfectly so, but refer to a pattern, though with some latitude; and those of simple ideas are perfectly taken from the existence of things, and are not arbitrary at all. Which, what dif ference it makes in the significations of their names, we shall see in the following chapters.

The names of simple modes differ little from those of simple ideas.

CHAP. V. :

6. Names of simple ideas

not at all arbitrary.

Of the Names of mixed Modes and Relations.

§. 1.



HE names of mixed modes being general, they stand, as has been shown, for sorts or species of things, each of which has its peculiar essence. essences of these species also, as has been showed, are nothing but the abstract ideas in the mind, to which the name is annexed. Thus far the names and essences of mixed modes have nothing but what is common to them with other ideas: but if we take a little nearer survey of them, we shall find that they have something peculiar, which perhaps may deserve

our attention.

N 3

They stand

for abstract

ideas, as other general


§. 2.

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§. 2. The first particularity I shall ob1. The ideas they stand serve in them, is, that the abstract ideas, for are made or, or, if you please, the essences of the several by the under- species of mixed modes are made by the standing. understanding, wherein they differ from those of simple ideas: in which sort the mind has no power to make any one, but only receives such as are presented to it, by the real existence of things operating upon it.


§. 3. In the next place, these essences of the species of mixed modes are not only made by the mind, but made very arbitrarily, made without patterns, or reference to any real existence. Wherein they differ from those of substances, which carry with them the supposition of some real being, from which they are taken, and to which they are conformable. But in its complex ideas of mixed modes, the mind takes a liberty not to follow the existence of things exactly. It unites and retains certain collections, as so many distinct specific ideas, whilst others, that as often occur in nature, and are as plainly suggested by outward things, pass neglected, without particular names or specifications. Nor does the mind, in these of mixed modes, as in the complex idea of substances, examine them by the real existence of things; or verify them by patterns, containing such peculiar compositions in nature. To know whether his idea of adultery or incest be right, will a man seek it any where amongst things existing? Or is it true, because any one has been witness to such an action? No: but it suffices here, that men have put together such a collection into one complex idea, that makes the archetype and specific idea, whether ever any such action were committed in rerum natura or no.

2. Made arbitrarily,

and without

How this is §. 4. To understand this right, we must consider wherein this making of these complex


ideas consists; and that is not in the making any new idea, but putting together those which the mind had before. Wherein the mind does these three things: first, it chooses a certain, number: secondly, it gives them connexion, and makes them into one idea:


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