— 478 —
Secondly, Because they have no Standards.
      §7. II. Because the names of mixed Modes, for the most part, want
Standards in Nature, whereby Men may rectify and adjust their
significations; therefore they are very various and doubtful. They
are assemblages of Ideas put together at the pleasure of the Mind,
pursuing its own ends of Discourse, and suited to its own Notions;
whereby it designs not to copy any thing really existing, but to
denominate and rank Things, as they come to agree, with those
Archetypes or Forms it has made. He that first brought the word
Sham, Wheedle, or Banter in use, put together, as he thought fit,
those Ideas he made it stand for: And as it is with any new Names of
Modes, that are now brought into any Language; so was it with the
old ones, when they were first made use of. Names therefore, that
stand for Collections of Ideas, which the Mind makes at pleasure,
must needs be of doubtful signification, when such Collections are
no-where to be found constantly united in Nature, nor any Patterns
to be shewn whereby Men may adjust them. What the word
Murther, or Sacriledge, etc. signifies, can never be known from
Things themselves: There be many of the parts of those complex
Ideas, which are not visible in the Action it self, the intention of the
Mind, or the Relation of holy Things, which make a part of
— 479 —
Murther, or Sacrilege, have no necessary connexion with the out-
ward and visible Action of him that commits either: and the
pulling the Trigger of the Gun, with which the Murther is com-
mitted, and is all the Action, that, perhaps, is visible, has no natural
connexion with those other Ideas, that make up the complex one,
named Murther. They have their union and combination only from
the Understanding which unites them under one Name: but uniting
them without any Rule, or Pattern, it cannot be, but that the sig-
nification of the Name, that stands for such voluntary Collections,
should be often various in the Minds of different Men, who have
scarce any standing Rule to regulate themselves, and their Notions
by, in such arbitrary Ideas.
Locke Hum III, 9, §7, pp. 478-479