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How we get the Ideas of mixed Modes.       §9. There are therefore three ways whereby we get the complex Ideas
of mixed Modes. 1. By Experience and Observation of things themselves.
— 292 —
Thus by seeing two Men wrestle, or fence, we get the Idea of
wrestling or fencing. 2. By Invention, or voluntary putting together
of several simple Ideas in our own Minds: So he that first invented
Printing, or Etching, had an Idea of it in his Mind, before it ever
existed. 3. Which is the most usual way, by explaining the names of
Actions we never saw, or Notions we cannot see; and by enumerat-
ing, and thereby, as it were, setting before our Imaginations all
those Ideas which go to the making them up, and are the constituent
parts of them. For having by Sensation and Reflection stored our
Minds with simple Ideas, and by use got the Names, that stand for
them, we can by those Names represent to another any complex
Idea, we would have him conceive; so that it has in it no simple
Idea, but what he knows, and has, with us, the same name for. For
all our complex Ideas are ultimately resolvable into simple Ideas, of
which they are compounded, and originally made up, though per-
haps their immediate Ingredients, as I may so say, are also complex
Ideas. Thus the mixed Mode, which the word Lye stands for, is made
of these simple Ideas: i. Articulate Sounds. 2. Certain Ideas in the
Mind of the Speaker. 3. Those words the signs of those Ideas. 4.
Those signs put together by affirmation or negation, otherwise
than the Ideas they stand for, are in the mind of the Speaker. I think
I need not go any farther in the Analysis of that complex Idea, we
call a Lye: What I have said is enough to show, that it is made up of
simple Ideas: And it could not but be an offensive tediousness to my
Reader, to trouble him with a more minute enumeration of every
particular simple Idea, that goes to this complex one; which, from
what has been said, he cannot but be able to make out to himself.
The same may be done in all our complex Ideas whatsoever; which
however compounded, and decompounded, may at last be resolved
into simple Ideas, which are all the Materials of Knowledge or
Thought we have or can have. Nor shall we have reason to fear,
that the Mind is hereby stinted to too scanty a number of Ideas, if we
consider, what an inexhaustible stock of simple Modes, Number,
and Figure alone affords us. How far then mixed Modes, which admit
of the various Combinations of different simple Ideas, and their
infinite Modes, are from being few and scanty, we may easily
imagine. So that before we have done, we shall see, that, no Body
need be afraid, he shall not have scope, and compass enough for his
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Thoughts to range in, though they be, as I pretend, confined only
to simple Ideas received from Sensation or Reflection, and their
several Combinations.
Locke Hum II, 22, §9, pp. 291-292-293