Of words or language in general, book iii of Essays [sic] concerning human understanding, with notes

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Page 10 - It may also lead us a little towards the original of all our notions and knowledge, if we remark how great a dependence our words have on common sensible ideas; and how those which are made use of to stand for actions and notions quite removed from sense, have their rise from thence, and from obvious sensible ideas are transferred to more abstruse significations, and made to stand for ideas that come not under the cognizance of our senses...
Page 18 - 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.
Page 17 - ... and at last to being, thing, and such universal terms, which stand for any of our ideas whatsoever. To conclude: this whole mystery of genera and species, which make such a noise in the schools, and are with justice so little regarded out of them, is nothing else but abstract ideas, more or less comprehensive, with names annexed to them.
Page 18 - To return to general words : it is plain, by what has been said, that general and universal belong not to the real existence of things ; but are the inventions and creatures of the understanding, made by it for its own use, aud concern only signs, whether words or ideas. "Words are general, as has been said, when used for signs of general ideas, and so are applicable indifferently to many particular things ; and ideas are general when they are set up as the representatives of many particular things...
Page 15 - Men learn names, and use them in talk with others, only that they may be understood ; which is then only done, when by use or consent, the sound I make by the organs of speech, excites in another man's mind, who hears it, the idea I apply to it in mine, when I speak it.
Page 11 - Words in their primary or immediate signification, stand for nothing but the ideas in the mind of him that uses them, how imperfectly soever, or carelessly, those ideas are collected from the things which u2 they are supposed to represent.
Page 20 - And what are the essences of those species set out and marked by names, but those abstract ideas in the mind ; which are, as it were, the bonds between particular things that exist, and the names they are to be ranked under...
Page 48 - ... in all the visible corporeal world, we see no chasms, or gaps. All quite down from us the descent is by easy steps, and a continued series of things, that in each remove differ very little one from the other. There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy region : and there are some birds that are inhabitants of the water, whose blood is cold as fishes', and their flesh so like in taste that the scrupulous are allowed them on fishdays.
Page 102 - It is not enough that men have ideas, determined ideas, for which they make these signs stand; but they must also take care to apply their words as near as may be to such ideas as common use has annexed them to. For words, especially of languages already framed, being no man's private possession, but the common measure of commerce and communication...
Page 10 - ... of all their knowledge : whilst to give names, that might make known to others any operations they felt in themselves, or any other ideas that came not under their senses, they were fain to borrow words from ordinary known ideas of sensation, by that means to make others the more easily to conceive those operations they experimented in themselves, which made no outward sensible appearances...

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