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Instances Murther, Incest, Stabbing.       §6. To see how arbitrarily these Essences of mixed Modes are made by
the Mind, we need but take a view of almost any of them. A little
looking into them, will satisfie us, that ’tis the Mind, that combines
several scattered independent Ideas, into one complex one; and by
the common name it gives them, makes them the Essence of a
certain Species, without regulating it self by any connexion they
have in Nature. For what greater connexion in Nature, has the Idea
of a Man, than the Idea of a Sheep with Killing, that this is made a
particular Species of Action, signified by the word Murder, and the
other not? Or what Union is there in Nature, between the Idea of
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the Relation of a Father, with Killing, than that of a Son, or Neigh-
bour; that those are combined into one complex Idea, and thereby
made the Essence of the distinct Species Parricide, whilst the other
make no distinct Species at all? But though they have made killing
a Man’s Father, or Mother, a distinct Species from killing his Son,
or Daughter; yet in some other cases, Son and Daughter are taken
in too, as well as Father and Mother; and they are all equally
comprehended in the same Species, as in that of Incest. Thus the
Mind in mixed Modes arbitrarily unites into complex Ideas, such as
it finds convenient; whilst others that have altogether as much
union in Nature, are left loose, and never combined into one Idea,
because they have no need of one name.’Tis evident then, that the
Mind, by its free choice, gives a connexion to a certain number of
Ideas; which in Nature have no more union with one another, than
others that it leaves out: Why else is the part of the Weapon, the
beginning of the Wound is made with, taken notice of, to make
the distinct Species call’d Stabbing, and the Figure and Matter of
the Weapon left out? I do not say, this is done without Reason, as
we shall see more by and by; but this I say, that it is done by the free
choice of the Mind, pursuing its own ends; and that therefore these
Species of mixed Modes, are the workmanship of the Understand-
ing: And there is nothing more evident, than that for the most
part, in the framing these Ideas, the Mind searches not its Patterns
in Nature, nor refers the Ideas it makes to the real existence of
Things; but puts such together, as may best serve its own Purposes,
without tying it self to a precise imitation of any thing that really
exists.
Locke Hum III, 5, §6, pp. 430-431