— 454 —
      §27. Wherein then, would I gladly know, consists the precise
and unmovable Boundaries of that Species? ’Tis plain, if we examine,
there is no such thing made by Nature, and established by Her
amongst Men. The real Essence of that, or any other sort of Sub-
stances, ’tis evident we know not; and therefore are so undeter-
mined in our nominal Essences, which we make our selves, that
if several Men were to be asked, concerning some odly-shaped
Foetus, as soon as born, whether it were a Man, or no, ’tis past doubt,
one should meet with different Answers. Which could not happen,
if the nominal Essences, whereby we limit and distinguish the
Species of Substances, were not made by Man, with some liberty;
but were exactly copied from precise Boundaries set by Nature,
whereby it distinguish’d all Substances into certain Species. Who
would undertake to resolve, what Species that Monster was of, which
is mentioned by Licetus, lib. I. c. 3. with a Man’s Head and Hog’s
— 455 —
Body? Or those other, which to the Bodies of Men, had the Heads
of Beasts, as Dogs, Horses, etc. If any of these Creatures had
lived, and could have spoke, it would have increased the difficulty.
Had the upper part, to the middle, been of humane shape, and all
below Swine; Had it been Murther to destroy it? Or must the Bishop
have been consulted, whether it were Man enough to be admitted
to the Font, or no? As I have been told, it happen’d in France some
Years since, in somewhat a like case. So uncertain are the Boundaries
of Species of Animals to us, who have no other Measures, than the
complex Ideas of our own collecting: And so far are we from certainly
knowing what a Man is; though, perhaps, it will be judged great
Ignorance to make any doubt about it. And yet, I think, I may say,
that the certain Boundaries of that Species, are so far from being
determined, and the precise number of simple Ideas, which make the
nominal Essence, so far from being setled, and perfectly known,
that very material Doubts may still arise about it: And I imagine,
none of the Definitions of the word Man, which we yet have, nor
Descriptions of that sort of Animal, are so perfect and exact, as to
satisfie a considerate inquisitive Person; much less to obtain a
general Consent, and to be that which Men would every where
stick by, in the Decision of Cases, and determining of Life and Death,
Baptism or no Baptism, in Productions that might happen.
Locke Hum III, 6, §27, pp. 454-455