— 57 —
If such an Assent be a mark of innate, then that One and Two are equal to Three; that Sweetness is not Bitterness; and a thousand the like must be innate.       §18. In Answer to this, I demand whether ready assent, given to a
Proposition upon first hearing, and understanding the Terms, be a
certain mark of an innate Principle? If it be not, such a general
assent is in vain urged as a Proof of them: If it be said, that it is
a mark of innate, they must then allow all such Propositions to be
innate, which are generally assented to as soon as heard, whereby
they will find themselves plentifully stored with innate Principles.
For upon the same ground (viz.) of Assent at first hearing and
understanding the Terms, That Men would have those Maxims
pass for innate, they must also admit several Propositions about
Numbers, to be innate: And thus, That One and Two are equal to
Three, That Two and Two are equal to Four, and a multitude of other
the like Propositions in Numbers, that every Body assents to, at
first hearing, and understanding the Terms, must have a place
amongst these innate Axioms. Nor is this the Prerogative of
Numbers alone, and Propositions made about several of them: But
even natural Philosophy, and all the other Sciences afford Propo-
sitions, which are sure to meet with Assent, as soon as they are
understood. That two Bodies cannot be in the same place, is a Truth,
that no Body any more sticks at, than at this Maxim, That it is
impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be; That White is not Black ,
That a Square is not a Circle, That Yellowness is not Sweetness: These,
and a Million of other such Propositions, as many at least, as we
have distinct Ideas, every Man in his Wits, at first hearing, and
knowing what the Names stand for, must necessarily assent to. If
then these Men will be true to their own Rule, and have Assent at
first hearing and understanding the Terms, to be a mark of innate, they
must allow, not only as many innate Propositions, as Men have
distinct Ideas; but as many as Men can make Propositions, wherein
different Ideas are denied one of another. Since every Proposition,
wherein one different Idea is denied of another, will as certainly find
Assent at first hearing and understanding the Terms, as this
general one, It is impossible for the same to be, and not to be; or that which
is the Foundation of it, and is the easier understood of the two, The
same is not different: By which Account, they will have Legions of
innate Propositions of this one sort, without mentioning any other.
— 58 —
But since no Proposition can be innate, unless the Ideas, about which
it is, be innate, This will be, to suppose all our Ideas of Colours,
Sounds, Tastes, Figures, etc. innate; than which there cannot be
any thing more opposite to Reason and Experience. Universal and
ready assent, upon hearing and understanding the Terms, is (I
grant) a mark of self-evidence: but self-evidence, depending not on
innate Impressions, but on something else (as we shall shew here-
after) belongs to several Propositions, which no Body was yet so
extravagant, as to pretend to be innate.
Locke Hum I, 2, §18, pp. 56-57-58