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Chapter XII

Of Complex Ideas.
Made by the Mind out of simple ones.       §1. We have hitherto considered those Ideas, in the reception
whereof, the Mind is only passive, which are those simple ones
received from Sensation and Reflection before-mentioned, whereof the
Mind cannot make any one to it self, nor have any Idea which does
not wholly consist of them. But as the Mind is wholly Passive in the
reception of all its simple Ideas, so it exerts several acts of its own,
whereby out of its simple Ideas, as the Materials and Foundations of
the rest, the other are framed. The Acts of the Mind wherein it ex-
erts its Power over its simple Ideas are chiefly these three, 1. Com-
bining several simple Ideas into one compound one, and thus all
Complex Ideas are made. 2. The 2d. is bringing two Ideas, whether
simple or complex, together; and setting them by one another, so
as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one;
by which way it gets all its Ideas of Relations. 3. The 3d. is separat-
ing them from all other Ideas that accompany them in their real
existence; this is called Abstraction: And thus all its General Ideas
are made. This shews Man’s Power and its way of Operation to be
muchwhat the same in the Material and Intellectual World. For the
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Materials in both being such as he has no power over, either to
make or destroy, all that Man can do is either to unite them
together, or to set them by one another, or wholly separate them.
I shall here begin with the first of these in the consideration of
Complex Ideas, and come to the other two in their due places. As
simple Ideas are observed to exist in several Combinations united
together; so the Mind has a power to consider several of them
united together, as one Idea; and that not only as they are united in
external Objects, but as it self has join’d them. Ideas thus made up of
several simple ones put together, I call Complex; such as are Beauty,
Gratitude, a Man, an Army, the Universe; which though complicated
of various simple Ideas, or complex Ideas made up of simple ones, yet
are, when the Mind pleases, considered each by it self, as one entire
thing, and signified by one name.
Locke Hum II, 12, §1, pp. 163-164