— 437 —
Reason of my being so large on this Subject.       §16. What has been said here of mixed Modes, is with very little
difference applicable also to Relations; which since every Man
himself may observe, I may spare my self the Pains to enlarge on:
Especially, since what I have here said concerning Words in this
Third Book, will possibly be thought by some to be much more than
what so slight a Subject required. I allow, it might be brought into
a narrower Compass: but I was willing to stay my Reader on an
Argument, that appears to me new, and a little out of the way, (I
am sure ’tis one, I thought not of, when I began to write,) That by
searching it to the bottom, and turning it on every side, some part
— 438 —
or other might meet with every one’s Thoughts, and give occasion
to the most averse, or negligent, to reflect on a general Miscarriage;
which, though of great consequence, is little taken notice of. When
it is considered, what a pudder is made about Essences, and how much
all sorts of Knowledge, Discourse, and Conversation, are pester’d
and disorder’d by the careless, and confused Use and Application of
Words, it will, perhaps, be thought worth while throughly to lay it
open. And I shall be pardon’d, if I have dwelt long on an Argument,
which I think therefore needs to be inculcated; because the Faults,
Men are usually guilty of in this kind, are not only the greatest hin-
derances of true Knowledge; but are so well thought of, as to pass
for it. Men would often see what a small pittance of Reason and
Truth, or possibly none at all, is mixed with those huffing Opinions
they are swell’d with; if they would but look beyond fashionable
Sounds, and observe what Ideas are, or are not comprehended under
those Words, with which they are so armed at all points, and with
which they so confidently lay about them. I shall imagine I have
done some Service to Truth, Peace, and Learning, if, by any en-
largement on this Subject, I can make Men reflect on their own Use
of Language; and give them Reason to suspect, that since it is
frequent for others, it may also be possible for them, to have some-
times very good and approved Words in their Mouths, and
Writings, with very uncertain, little, or no signification. And
therefore it is not unreasonable for them to be wary herein them-
selves, and not to be unwilling to have them examined by others.
With this design therefore, I shall go on with what I have farther to
say, concerning this matter.
Locke Hum III, 5, §16, pp. 437-438