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The Shared Space Between Reader and Writer: A Case Study
§ 8. Secondly, Another fault which makes our ideas confused, is, when though the particulars that make up any idea are in number enough: yet they are so jumbled together, that it is not easily discernible, whether it more belongs to the name that is given it, than to any other. There is nothing properer to make us conceive this confusion, than a sort of pictures usually shown as surprising pieces of art, wherein the colours, as they are laid by the pencil on the table itself, mark out very odd and unusual figures, and have no discernible order in their position. This draught, thus made up of parts wherein no symmetry nor order appears, is in itself no more a confused thing, than the picture of a cloudy sky; wherein though there be as little order of colours or figures to be found, yet nobody thinks it a confused picture. What is it then that makes it be thought confused, since the want of symmetry does not? as it is plain it does not; for another draught made, barely in imitation of this, could not be called confused. I answer, that which makes it be thought confused, is, the applying it to some name, to which it does no more discernibly belong, than to some other: v. g. When it is said to be the picture of a man, or Cæsar, than any one with reason counts it confused: because it is not discernible, in that state, to belong more to the name man, or Cæsar, than to the name baboon, or Pompey; which are supposed to stand for different ideas from those signified by man, or Cæsar. But when a cylindrical mirrour, placed right, hath reduced those irregular lines on the table into their due order and proportion, then the confusion ceases, and the eye presently sees that it is a man, or Cæsar, i. e. that it belongs to those names; and that it is sufficiently distinguishable from a baboon, or Pompey, i. e. from the ideas signified by those names. Just thus it is with our ideas, which are as it were the pictures of things. No one of these mental draughts, however the parts are put together, can be called confused (for they are plainly discernible as they are) till it be ranked under some ordinary name, to which it cannot be discerned to belong, any more than it does to some other name of an allowed different signification.
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§ 3. Thirdly, Sometimes the foundation of considering things, with reference to one another, is some act whereby any one comes by a moral right, power, or obligation to do something. Thus a general is one that hath power to command an army; and an army under a general is a collection of armed men obliged to obey one man. A citizen or a burgher, is one who has a right to certain privileges in this or that place. All this sort depending upon men’s wills, or agreement in society, I call instituted, or voluntary: and may be distinguished from the natural, in that they are most, if not all of them, some way or other alterable, and separable from the persons to whom they have sometimes belonged, though neither of the substances, so related, be destroyed. Now though these are all reciprocal, as well as the rest, and contain in them a reference of two things one to the other; yet, because one of the two things often wants a relative name, importing that reference, men usually take no notice of it, and the relation is commonly overlooked: v. g. a patron and client are easily allowed to be relations, but a constable or dictator are not so readily, at first hearing, considered as such; because there is no peculiar name for those who are under the command of a dictator, or constable, expressing a relation to either of them: though it be certain, that either of them hath a certain power over some others; and so is so far related to them, as well as a patron is to his client, or general to his army.