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upon the first evidence of any error in it; yet this I must own, that I have not had the good luck to receive any light from those exceptions I have met with in print against any part of my book; nor have, from any thing that has been urged against it, found reason to alter my sense,


any of the points which have been questioned. Whether the subject I have in hand requires often more thought and attention, than cursory readers, at least such as are prepossessed, are willing to allow : or whether any obscurity in my expressions casts a cloud over it, and these notions are made difficult to others' apprehensions in my way of treating them : so it is, that my meaning, I find, is often mistaken, and I have not the good luck to be every where rightly understood. There are so many instances of this, that I think it justice to my reader and myself, to conclude, that either my book is plainly enough written to be rightly understood by those who peruse it with that attention and indifferency, which every one, who will give himself the pains to read, ought to employ in reading; or else, that I have writ mine so obscurely, that it is vain to go about to mend it. Which ever of these be the truth, it is myself only am affected thereby, and therefore I shall be far from troubling my reader with what I think might be said, in answer to those several objections I have met with, to passages here and there of my book : since I persuade myself, that he who thinks them of moment enough to be concerned whether they are true or false, will be able to see, that what is said is either not well founded, or else not contrary to my doctrine, when I and my opposer come both to be well understood.

If any, careful that none of their good thoughts should be lost, have published their censures of my

Essay, with this honor done to it, that they will not suffer it

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to be an Essay ; I leave it to the public to value the ob

; ligation they have to their critical pens, and shall not waste my reader's time in so idle or ill-natured an employment of mine, as to lessen the satisfaction any one has in himself, or gives to others, in so hasty a confutation of what I have written.

The booksellers preparing for the fourth edition of my Essay, gave me notice of it, that I might, if I had leisure, make any additions or alterations I should think

I fit. Whereupon I thought it convenient to advertise the reader, that besides several corrections I had made here and there, there was one alteration which it was necessary to mention, because it ran through the whole book, and is of consequence to be rightly understood. What I thereupon said was this :

Clear and distinct ideas are terms, which, though familiar and frequent in men's mouths, I have reason to think every one, who uses, does not perfectly understand. And possibly it is but here and there one, who gives himself the trouble to consider them so far as to know what he himself or others precisely mean by them : I have therefore in most places chose to put determinate or determined, instead of clear and distinct, as more likely to direct men's thoughts to my meaning in this matter. By those denominations, I mean some object in the mind, and consequently determined, i. e. such as it is there seen and perceived to be. This, I think, may fitly be called a determinate or determined idea, when such as it is at any time objectively in the mind, and so determined there, it is annexed, and without variation determined to a name or articulate sound, which is to be steadily the sign of that very same object of the mind, or determinate idea.

To explain this a little more particularly. By deter. minate, when applied to a simple idea, I mean that simple appearance which the mind has in its view, or perceives


in itself, when that idea is said to be in it: by determined,
when applied to a complex 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 expect-
ed nothing but obscurity and confusion, where such
terms are made use of, which have not such a precise

Upon this ground I have thought determined ideas a
way of speaking less liable to mistakes, than clear and dis-
tinct : 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 un-
certain use of words, or (which is the same) indetermin-
ed ideas, which they are made to stand for ; I have made
choice of these terms to signify, 1. Some immediate ob-
ject 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 it-
self, 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
Ideas, the other of Enthusiasm. These, with some oth-
er larger additions, never before printed, he has engag-
ed 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 al-
tered; 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.





15, 16 The steps by which the mind
The Introduction.

attains several truths.

17 Afsenting as soon as proposed and
1 An inquiry into the understand- understood, proves them not in-

ing, pleasant and useful.
2 Design.

18 If such an affent be a mark of
3 Method.

innate, then that one and two
4 Useful to know the extent of our are equal to three; that sweet-

ness is not bitterness; and a thou-
5 Our capacity proportioned to our fand the like, must be innate.

state and concerns, to discover things 19 Such less general propositions
useful to us.

known before these universal
6 Knowing the extent of our ca-

pacities, will hinder us from use- 20 One and one equal to two, &c.
less curiosity, scepticism, and i- not general, nor useful, answered.

21 These maxims not being known
7 Occasion of this essay.

sometimes till proposed, proves
8 What idea stands for.

them not innate.

22 Implicitly known before propos-

ing, signifies, that the mind is ca-
No innate speculative principles. pable of understanding them, or

else fignifies nothing.
1 The way shown how we come by 23 The argument of assenting on first

any knowledge, sufficient to prove hearing, is upon a false supposition
it not innate.

of no precedent teaching.
2 General assent, the great argu. 24 Not innate, because not univer- ·

sally affented to.
3 Universal consent proves nothing 25 These maxims not the first known.

26 And so not innate.
4 “ What is, is ;” and “ it is impof- 27 Not innate, because they appear

fible for the same thing to be, and least, where what is innate shows
not to be;" not universally afsent- itself clearest.
ed to.

28 Recapitulation.
5 Not on the mind naturally im.
printed, because not known to

children, idiots, &c.

No innate practical principles.
6, 7 That men know them when Sect.

they come to the use of reason, 1 No moral principles so clear and

so generally received, as the fore-
8 If reason discovered them, that mentioned speculative maxims.

would not prove them innate. 2 Faith and justice not owned as
9-11 It is false, that reason discov- principles by all men.
ers them.

3 Obj. Though men deny them in
12 The coming to the use of reason, their practice, yet they admit them

not the time we come to know in their thoughts, answered.
these maxims.

4 Moral rules need a proof, ergo not
13 By this, they are not distinguished innate.

from other knowable truths. 5 Instance in keeping compacts.
14 If coming to the use of reason, 6 Virtue generally approved, not

were the time of their discovery, because innate, but because profit.
it would not prove them innate. able.

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