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If coming to the use of Reason were the time of their discovery, it would not prove them innate.       §14. But Secondly, were it true, that the precise time of their
being known, and assented to, were, when Men come to the Use of
Reason; neither would that prove them innate. This way of arguing
is as frivolous, as the Supposition of it self is false. For by what kind
of Logick will it appear, that any Notion is Originally by Nature
imprinted in the Mind in its first Constitution, because it comes
first to be observed, and assented to, when a Faculty of the Mind,
which has quite a distinct Province, begins to exert it self? And
therefore, the coming to the use of Speech, if it were supposed the
time, that these Maxims are first assented to (which it may be with
as much Truth, as the time when Men come to the use of Reason)
would be as good a Proof that they were innate, as to say, they are
innate because Men assent to them, when they come to the use of
Reason. I agree then with these Men of innate Principles, that there
is no Knowledge of these general and self-evident Maxims in the
Mind, till it comes to the Exercise of Reason: but I deny that the
coming to the use of Reason, is the precise time when they are first
taken notice of; and, if that were the precise time, I deny that it
would prove them innate. All that can with any Truth be meant by
this Proposition, That Men assent to them when they come to the use of
Reason, is no more but this, That the making of general abstract
Ideas, and the Understanding of general Names, being a Concomi-
tant of the rational Faculty, and growing up with it, Children
commonly get not those general Ideas, nor learn the Names that
stand for them, till having for a good while exercised their Reason
about familiar and more particular Ideas, they are by their ordinary
Discourse and Actions with others, acknowledged to be capable of
rational Conversation. If assenting to these Maxims, when Men
come to the use of Reason, can be true in any other Sence, I desire it
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may be shewn; or at least, how in this, or any other Sence it proves
them innate.
Locke Hum I, 2, §14, pp. 54-55