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idea, I mean such an one as consists of a determinate number of certain simple or less complex ideas, joined in such a proportion and situation, as the mind has before its view, and sees in itself, when that idea is present in it, or should be present in it, when a man gives a name to it: I say, should be; because it is not every one, not perhaps any one, who is so careful of his language, as to use no word, till he views in his mind the precise determined idea, which he resolves to make it the sign of. The want of this is the cause of no small obscurity and confusion in men's thoughts and discourses.

I know there are not words enough in any language, to answer all the variety of ideas that enter into men's discourses and reasonings. But this hinders not, but that when any one uses any term, he may have in his mind a determined idea, which he makes it the sign of, and to which he should keep it steadily annexed, during that present discourse. Where he does not, or cannot do this, he in vain pretends to clear or distinct ideas: it is plain his are not so'; and therefore there can be expected nothing but obscurity and confusion, where such terms are made use of, which have not such a precise determination. Upon this ground I have thought determined ideas a way of speaking less liable to mistakes, than clear and distinct: and where men have got such determined ideas of all that they reason, inquire, or argue about, they will find a great part of their doubts and disputes at an end. The greatest part of the questions and controversies that perplex mankind, depending on the doubtful and uncertain use of words, or (which is the same) indetermined ideas, which they are made to stand for; I have made choice of these terms to signify, 1. Some immediate object of the mind, which it perceives and has before it, distinct from the sound it uses as a sign of it. 2. That this idea, thus determined, i. e. which the mind has in itself, and

knows, and sees there, be determined without any change to that name, and that name determined to that precise idea. If men had such determined ideas in their inquiries and discourses, they would both discern how far their own inquiries and discourses went, and avoid the greatest part of the disputes and wranglings they have with others.

Besides this, the bookseller will think it necessary I should advertise the reader, that there is an addition of two chapters wholly new; the one of the association of ideas, the other of enthusiasm. These, with some other larger additions never before printed, he has engaged to print by themselves after the same manner, and for the same purpose, as was done when this essay had the second impression.

In the sixth edition, there is very little added or altered; the greatest part of what is new, is contained in the 21st chapter of the second book, which any one, if he thinks it worth while, may, with a very little labour, transcribe into the margin of the former edition.








The Introduction.


1. An enquiry into the un-
derstanding, pleasant and
2. Design.

3. Method.

4. Useful to know the extent

of our comprehension.
5. Our capacity proportion-
ed to our state and con-
cerns, to discover things
useful to us.

6. Knowing the extent of

our capacities, will hin-
der us from useless cu-
riosity, scepticism, and

7. Occasion of this essay.
8. What idea stands for.


No innate principles in the mind,
and particularly no innate spe-
culative principles.

1. The way shown how we
come by any knowledge,

sufficient to prove it not

2. General assent, the great

3. Universal consent proves
nothing innate.

4. What is, is; and, it is
impossible for the same
thing to be, and not to
be, not universally as-
sented to.

5. Not on the mind natu-
rally imprinted, because
not known to children,
idiots, &c.
6, 7. That men know them
when they come to the
use of reason, answered.
8. If reason discovered
them, that would not
prove them innate.
9-11. It is false that reason dis-
covers them.

12. The coming to the use of

reason, not the time we
come to know these max-

13. By this they are not dis-
tinguished from other
knowable truths,

14. If coming to the use of

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supposed innate.

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1. Idea is the object of

2. All ideas come from sen-

sation or reflection.
3. The objects of sensation
one source of ideas.
4. The operations of our
minds, the other source
of them.

5. All our ideas are of the

one or the other of these.

6. Observable in children.

7. Men are differently fur-

nished with these, ac-

cording to the different

objects they converse


8. Ideas of reflection later,

because they need atten-

9. The soul begins to have

ideas, when it begins to


10. The soul thinks not al-
for this wants


11. It is not always conscious
of it.

12. If a sleeping man thinks
without knowing it, the
sleeping and waking man
are two persons.
13. Impossible to convince
those that sleep without

dreaming that they think.

14. That men dream without

remembering it, in vain


15. Upon this hypothesis, the

thoughts of a sleeping

man ought to be most raj

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