— 159 —
Abstraction.       §9. The use of Words then being to stand as outward Marks of
our internal Ideas, and those Ideas being taken from particular
things, if every particular Idea that we take in, should have a
distinct Name, Names must be endless. To prevent this, the Mind
makes the particular Ideas, received from particular Objects, to
become general; which is done by considering them as they are in
the Mind such Appearances, separate from all other Existences,
and the circumstances of real Existence, as Time, Place, or any other
concomitant Ideas. This is called ABSTRACTION, whereby
Ideas taken from particular Beings, become general Representatives
of all of the same kind; and their Names general Names, applicable
to whatever exists conformable to such abstract Ideas. Such precise,
naked Appearances in the Mind, without considering, how, whence,
or with what others they came there, the Understanding lays up
(with Names commonly annexed to them) as the Standards to
rank real Existences into sorts, as they agree with these Patterns,
and to denominate them accordingly. Thus the same Colour being
observed to day in Chalk or Snow, which the Mind yesterday
received from Milk, it considers that Appearance alone, makes it a
representative of all of that kind; and having given it the name
Whiteness, it by that sound signifies the same quality wheresoever
to be imagin’d or met with; and thus Universals, whether Ideas or
Terms, are made.
Locke Hum II, 11, §9, p. 159