— 500 —
V.g. Putting them for the real Essences of Substances.
      §18. ’Tis true, the names of Substances would be much more
useful, and Propositions made in them much more certain, were the
real Essences of Substances the Ideas in our Minds, which those
words signified. And ’tis for want of those real Essences, that our
Words convey so little Knowledge or Certainty in our Discourses
about them: And therefore the Mind, to remove that Imperfection
as much as it can, makes them, by a secret Supposition, to stand for
a Thing, having that real Essence, as if thereby it made some nearer
approaches to it. For though the Word Man or Gold, signify nothing
truly but a complex Idea of Properties, united together in one sort of
Substances: Yet there is scarce any Body in the use of these Words,
but often supposes each of those names to stand for a thing having
the real Essence, on which those Properties depend. Which is so far
from diminishing the Imperfection of our Words, that by a plain
Abuse, it adds to it, when we would make them stand for some-
thing, which not being in our complex Idea, the name we use, can no
ways be the sign of.
Locke Hum III, 10, §18, p. 500