— 431 —
But still subservient to the end of Language.       §7. But though these complex Ideas, or Essences of mixed Modes,
depend on the Mind, and are made by it with great liberty; yet
they are not made at random, and jumbled together without any
reason at all. Though these complex Ideas be not always copied
from Nature, yet they are always suited to the end for which
abstract Ideas are made: And though they be Combinations made of
Ideas, that are loose enough, and have as little union in themselves,
as several other, to which the Mind never gives a connexion that
combines them into one Idea; yet they are always made for the
— 432 —
convenience of Communication, which is the chief end of Lan-
guage. The Use of Language is, by short Sounds to signifie with
ease and dispatch general Conceptions; wherein not only abun-
dance of particulars may be contained, but also a great variety of
independent Ideas, collected into one complex one. In the making
therefore of the Species of mixed Modes, Men have had regard only
to such Combinations, as they had occasion to mention one to
another. Those they have combined into distinct complex Ideas,
and given Names to; whilst others that in Nature have as near an
union, are left loose and unregarded. For to go no farther than
humane Actions themselves, if they would make distinct abstract
Ideas, of all the Varieties might be observed in them, the Number
must be infinite, and the Memory confounded with the Plenty, as
well as overcharged to little purpose. It suffices, that Men make
and name so many complex Ideas of these, mixed Modes, as they find
they have occasion to have names for, in the ordinary occurrence of
their Affairs. If they join to the Idea of Killing, the Idea of Father, or
Mother, and so make a distinct Species from killing a Man’s Son, or
Neighbour, it is because of the different heinousness of the Crime,
and the distinct punishment is due to the murthering a Man’s
Father or Mother different from what ought to be inflicted on the
Murther of a Son or Neighbour; and therefore they find it necessary
to mention it by a distinct Name, which is the end of making that
distinct Combination. But though the Ideas of Mother and Daughter,
are so differently treated, in reference to the Idea of Killing, that the
one is joined with it, to make a distinct abstract Idea with a name,
and so a distinct Species, and the other not; yet in respect of carnal
Knowledge, they are both taken in under Incest; and that still for
the same convenience of expressing under one name, and reckoning
of one Species, such unclean mixtures, as have a peculiar turpitude
beyond others; and this to avoid Circumlocutions, and tedious
Descriptions.
Locke Hum III, 5, §7, pp. 431-432