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The coming to the use of Reason, not the time we come to know these Maxims.       §12. If by knowing and assenting to them, when we come to the use
of Reason be meant, that this is the time, when they come to be
taken notice of by the Mind; and that as soon as Children come to
the use of Reason, they come also to know and assent to these
Maxims; this also is false, and frivolous. First, It is false. Because it is
evident, these Maxims are not in the Mind so early as the use of
Reason: and therefore the coming to the use of Reason is falsly
assigned, as the time of their Discovery. How many instances of the
use of Reason may we observe in Children, a long time before they
have any Knowledge of this Maxim, That it is impossible for the same
thing to be, and not to be? and a great part of illiterate People, and
Savages, pass many Years, even of their rational Age, without ever
thinking on this, and the like general Propositions. I grant Men
come not to the Knowledge of these general and more abstract
Truths, which are thought innate, till they come to the use of
Reason; and I add, nor then neither. Which is so, because till after
they come to the use of Reason, those general abstract Ideas are not
framed in the Mind, about which those general Maxims are, which
are mistaken for innate Principles, but are indeed Discoveries made,
and Verities introduced, and brought into the Mind by the same
Way, and discovered by the same Steps, as several other Propo-
sitions, which no Body was ever so extravagant as to suppose
innate. This I hope to make plain in the sequel of this Discourse.
I allow therefore a Necessity, that Men should come to the use of
Reason, before they get the Knowledge of those general Truths:
but deny, that Men’s coming to the use of Reason is the time of
their Discovery.
Locke Hum I, 2, §12, p. 53