An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume II: Book III, Chapter V.by@johnlocke
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An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume II: Book III, Chapter V.

by John Locke17mAugust 16th, 2022
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1. Mixed modes stand for abstract Ideas, as other general Names. The names of MIXED MODES, being general, they stand, as has been shewed, for sorts or species of things, each of which has its peculiar essence. The essences of these species also, as has been shewed, 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. 2. First, The abstract Ideas they stand for are made by the Understanding. The first particularity I shall observe in them, is, that the abstract ideas, or, if you please, the essences, of the several species of mixed modes, are MADE BY THE 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. Secondly, Made arbitrarily, and without Patterns. 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 anywhere 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.

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English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers

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