— 412 —
General Natures are nothing but abstract Ideas.       §9. That this is the way, whereby Men first formed general Ideas,
and general Names to them, I think, is so evident, that there needs no
other proof of it, but the considering of a Man’s self, or others, and
the ordinary proceedings of their Minds in Knowledge: And he that
thinks general Natures or Notions, are any thing else but such
abstract and partial Ideas of more complex ones, taken at first from
particular Existences, will, I fear, be at a loss where to find them.
For let any one reflect, and then tell me, wherein does his Idea of
Man differ from that of Peter, and Paul; or his Idea of Horse, from that
of Bucephalus, but in the leaving out something, that is peculiar to
each Individual; and retaining so much of those particular complex
Ideas, of several particular Existences, as they are found to agree
in? Of the complex Ideas, signified by the names Man, and Horse,
leaving out but those particulars wherein they differ, and retaining
only those wherein they agree, and of those, making a new distinct
complex Idea, and giving the name Animal to it, one has a more
general term, that comprehends, with Man, several other Creatures.
Leave out of the Idea of Animal, Sense and spontaneous Motion, and
the remaining complex Idea, made up of the remaining simple ones
of Body, Life, and Nourishment, becomes a more general one, under
the more comprehensive term, Vivens. And not to dwell longer
upon this particular, so evident in it self, by the same way the Mind
proceeds to Body, Substance, 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 comprehen-
sive, with names annexed to them. In all which, this is constant
and unvariable, That every more general term, stands for such an
Idea, as is but a part of any of those contained under it.
Locke Hum III, 3, §9, p. 412