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Alexander. And therefore we see that, amongst
$. 7. But to deduce this a little more distinctly, it will not perhaps be amiss to trace our notions and names from their beginning, and observe by what degrees we proceed, and by what steps we enlarge our ideas from our first infancy. There is nothing more evident, than that the ideas of the persons children converse with (to instance in them alone) are like the persons themselves, only particular. The ideas of the nurse, and the mother, are well framed in their minds; and, like pictures of them there, represent only those individuals. The names they first gave to them are confined to these individuals; and the names of nurse and mamma the child uses, determine themselves to those persons. Afterwards, when time and a larger acquaintance have made them observe, that there are a great many other things in the world that in some common agreements of shape, and several other qualities, resemble their father and mother, and those persons they have been used to, they frame an idea, which
they find those many particulars do partake in; and *** to that they give, with others, the name man for ex
ample. qualities Dey agre
ample. And thus they come to have a general name, and a general idea. Wherein they make nothing new, hut only leave out of the complex idea they had of Peter and James, Mary and Jane, that which is peculiar to each, and retain only what is common to them all.
$. 8. By the same way that they come by the general name and idea of man, they easily advance to more general names and notions. For observing that several things that differ from their idea of man, and cannot therefore be comprehended under that name, have yet certain qualities wherein they agree with man, by retaining only those qualities, and uniting them into one idea, they have again another and more general idea; to which having given a name, they inake a term of a more cúmprehensive extension: which new idea is made, not by any new addition, but only, as before, by leaving out the shape, and some other properties signified by the name man, and retaining only a body, with life, sense, and spontaneous motion, comprehended under the name animal. General na. $. 9. That this is the way whereby men tures are no. first formed general ideas, and general thing but ab. names to them, I think, is so evident, that stract ideas.
43. there needs no other proof of it, but the considering of a man's self, or others, and the ordinary proceedings of their minds in knowledge: and he that thinks general natures or notions are any thing else but such abstract and partial ideas of more complex ones, taken at first from particular existences, will, I fear, be at a loss where to find them. For let any
one reflect, and then tell me, wherein does his idea of - man differ from that of Peter and Paul, or his idea
of horse from that of Bucephalus, but in the leaving out something that is peculiar to each individual, and retaining so much of those particular complex ideas of several particular existences, as they are found 10 agree in? Of the complex ideas signified by the names man and horse, leaving out but those particulars wherein they differ, and retaining only those wherein they agree, and of those making a new distinct comples
idea, and giving the name animal to it; one has a
s. 10. This may show us the reason, why, why the
their signific particulars, our own m but the capa of signifying ggnification the mind of
(1) Against zwers as folle fare the work 'a appears by (one single in 'be so abstrac sort, as if the
have a reale 'multiplied in 'san there is a 'but suppose t 'real essence the same real then the secc
This, as I Stact general sation, V. g. sanding ? whi pool here bro cure, will no
ten the real b 1 speak of the internal consti That our dist funded on th terces, I can man by esse
ball have ex posle of them taly and pro may be truly
their signification are general. When therefore we quit particulars, the generals that rest are only creatures of our own making ; their general nature being nothing but the capacity they are put into by the understanding, of signifying or representing many particulars. For the signification they have is nothing but a relation, that by the mind of man is added to them (1).
(1) Against this the bishop of Worcester objects, and our author * answers as followeth : ' however, saith the bishop, the abstracted ideas
are the work of the mind, yet they are not mere creatures of the mind; 'as appears by an instance produced of the essence of the sun being in
one single individual; in which case it is granted, That the idea may be so abstracted, that more suns might agree in it, and it is as much a sort, as if there were as many suns as there are stars. So that here we have a real essence subsisting in one individual, but capable of being multiplied into more, and the same essence remaining. But in this one 'sun there is a real essence, and not a mere nominal, or abstracted essence; "but suppose there were more suns; would not each of them have the
real essence of the sun ? For what is it makes the second son, but having the same real essence with the first? If it were but a nominal essence, then the second would have nothing but the name.'
This, as I understand it, replies Mr. Locke, is to prove that the ab. stract general essence of any sort of things, or things of the same denomi. nation, v. g. of man or marigold, hath a real being out of the under. standing? which, I confess, I am not able to conceive. Your lordship's proof here brought out of my essay, concerning the sun, I humbly con. ceive, will not reach it; because what is said there, does not at all con. cern the red but nominal essence, as is evident from hence, that the idea I speak of there, is a coinplex idea ; but we have no complex idea of the internal constitution or real essence of the sun. Besides, I say expressly, That our distinguishing substances into species, by names, is not at all founded on their real essences. So that the sun being one of these sub. stances, I cannot, in the place quoted by your lordship, be supposed to mean by essence of the sun, the real essence of the sun, unless I had so expressed it. But all this argument will be at an end, when your lordship shall have explainer what you mean by these words, 'true sun.' In my sense of them, any' thing will be a true sun to which the name sun may be truly and properly applied, and to that substance or thing the name sun may be truly and properly applied, which has united in it that coinbina. tion of sensible qualities, by which any thing else, that is called sun, is distinguished from other substances, i. e. by the nominal essence ; and thus our sun is denominated and distinguished from a fixed star, not by a real essence that we do not know (for if we did, it is possible we should tind the real essence or constitution of one of the fixed stars to be the same * In his first letter,