[]The acquisition of ideas is a gradual process, of course.

§ 16. Secondly, It would be necessary to know whether nature always attains that essence it designs in the production of things. The irregular and monstrous births, that in divers sorts of animals have been observed, will always give us reason to doubt of one or both of these.

[]Everything begins, then, with simple ideas of.

[]Locke had already argued at length that ideas are not on the human mind.

[]The visual and tactile ideas of the globe are distinct.

That every individual substance has real, internal, individual constitution, i. e. a real essence, that makes it to be what it is, I readily grant. Upon this your lordship says, ‘Peter, James, and John, are all true and real men.’ Ans. Without doubt, supposing them to be men, they are true and real men, i. e. supposing the name of that species belongs to them. And so three bobaques are all true and real bobaques, supposing the name of that species of animals belongs to them.

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I humbly conceive, if it had the nominal essence, it would have something besides the name, viz. That nominal essence, which is sufficient to denominate it truly a sun, or to make it be a true sun, though we know nothing of that real essence whereon that nominal one depends. Your lordship will then argue, that that real essence is in the second sun, and makes the second sun. I grant it, when the second sun comes to exist, so as to be perceived by us to have all the ideas contained in our complex idea, i. e. in our nominal essence of a sun. For should it be true, (as is now believed by astronomers) that the real essence of the sun were in any of the fixed stars, yet such a star could not for that be by us called a sun, whilst it answers not our complex idea, or nominal essence of a sun. But how far that will prove, that the essences of things, as they are knowable by us, have a reality in them distinct from that of abstract ideas in the mind, which are merely creatures of the mind, I do not see; and we shall farther inquire, in considering your lordship’s following words. ‘Therefore, say you, there must be a real essence in every individual of the same kind.’ Yes, and I beg leave of your lordship to say, of a different kind too. For that alone is it which makes it to be what it is.

[]Notice that Locke distinguished sensation and reflection by reference to their objects.
According to Locke, certain special simple ideas are acquired by two different senses.

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§ 21. But since, as has been remarked, we have need of general words, though we know not the real essences of things; all we can do is to collect such a number of simple ideas, as by examination we find to be united together in things existing, and therefore to make one complex idea. Which though it be not the real essence of any substance that exists, is yet the specific essence, to which our name belongs, and is convertible with it; by which we may at least try the truth of these nominal essences. For example, there be that say, that the essence of body is extension: if it be so, we can never mistake in putting the essence of any thing for the thing itself. Let us then in discourse put extension for body; and when we would say that body moves, let us say that extension moves, and see how ill it would look. He that should say that one extension by impulse moves another extension, would, by the bare expression, sufficiently show the absurdity of such a notion. The essence of any thing, in respect of us, is the whole complex idea, comprehended and marked by that name; and in substances, besides the several distinct simple ideas that make them up, the confused one of substance, or of an unknown support and cause of their union, is always a part: and therefore the essence of body is not bare extension, but an extended solid thing: and so to say an extended solid thing moves, or impels another, is all one, and as intelligible as to say, body moves or impels. Likewise to say, that a rational animal is capable of conversation, is all one as to say a man. But no one will say, that rationality is capable of conversation, because it makes not the whole essence to which we give the name man.

Things that can be both seen and touched seem most obviously real to us.

JOHN LOCKE, Born 1632. Died 1704.

§ 29. Hence we see, that some men imagine the duration of the world, from its first existence to this present year 1689, to have been five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine years, or equal to five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine annual revolutions of the sun, and others a great deal more; as the Egyptians of old, who in the time of Alexander counted twenty-three thousand years from the reign of the sun; and the Chinese now, who account the world three millions two hundred and sixty-nine thousand years old, or more: which longer duration of the world, according to their computation, though I should not believe to be true, yet I can equally imagine it with them, and as truly understand, and say one is longer than the other, as I understand, that Methusalem’s life was longer than Enoch’s. And if the common reckoning of five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine should be true (as it may be as well as any other assigned) it hinders not at all my imagining what others mean when they make the world one thousand years older, since every one may with the same facility imagine (I do not say believe) the world to be fifty thousand years old, as five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine: and may as well conceive the duration of fifty thousand years, as five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine. Whereby it appears, that to the measuring the duration of any thing by time, it is not requisite that that thing should be co-existent to the motion we measure by, or any other periodical revolution; but it suffices to this purpose, that we have the idea of the length of any regular periodical appearances, which we can in our minds apply to duration, with which the motion or appearance never co-existed.

[]Such qualities therefore exist as features of the body itself, independently of their perception.

C. Baldwin, Printer, New Bridge-street, London.

§ 22. Let us compare then our complex idea of an immaterial spirit with our complex idea of body, and see whether there be any more obscurity in one than in the other, and in which most. Our idea of body, as I think, is an extended solid substance, capable of communicating motion by impulse: and our idea of soul, as an immaterial spirit, is of a substance that thinks, and has a power of exciting motion in body, by willing or thought. These, I think, are our complex ideas of soul and body, as contra-distinguished; and now let us examine which has most obscurity in it, and difficulty to be apprehended. I know, that people, whose thoughts are immersed in matter, and have so subjected their minds to their senses, that they seldom reflect on any thing beyond them, are apt to say, they cannot comprehend a thinking thing, which perhaps is true: but I affirm, when they consider it well, they can no more comprehend an extended thing.