— 55 —
The steps by which the Mind attains several Truths.       §15. The Senses at first let in particular Ideas, and furnish the yet
empty Cabinet: And the Mind by degrees growing familiar with
some of them, they are lodged in the Memory, and Names got to
them. Afterwards the Mind proceeding farther, abstracts them, and
by Degrees learns the use of general Names. In this manner the
Mind comes to be furnish’d with Ideas and Language, the Materials
about which to exercise its discursive Faculty: And the use of
Reason becomes daily more visible, as these Materials, that give it
Employment, increase. But though the having of general Ideas, and
the use of general Words and Reason usually grow together: yet,
I see not, how this any way proves them innate. The Knowledge of
some Truths, I confess, is very early in the Mind; but in a way that
shews them not to be innate. For, if we will observe, we shall find it
still to be about Ideas, not innate, but acquired: It being about those
first, which are imprinted by external Things, with which Infants
have earliest to do, and which make the most frequent Impressions
on their Senses. In Ideas thus got, the Mind discovers, That some
agree, and others differ, probably as soon as it has any use of
Memory; as soon as it is able, to retain and receive distinct Ideas.
But whether it be then, or no, this is certain, it does so long before
it has the use of Words; or comes to that, which we commonly call
the use of Reason. For a Child knows as certainly, before it can speak,
the difference between the Ideas of Sweet and Bitter (i.e. That Sweet
is not Bitter) as it knows afterwards (when it comes to speak) That
Worm-wood and Sugar-plumbs, are not the same thing.
Locke Hum I, 2, §15, p. 55