— 180 —
Men differ little in clear simple Ideas.       §27. The knowing precisely what our Words stand for, would, I
imagine, in this, as well as a great many other cases, quickly end the
dispute. For I am apt to think, that Men, when they come to
examine them, find their simple Ideas all generally to agree, though
in discourse with one another, they perhaps confound one another
with different Names. I imagine, that Men who abstract their
Thoughts, and do well examine the Ideas of their own Minds,
cannot much differ in thinking; however, they may perplex themselves
with words, according to the way of speaking of the several
Schools, or Sects, they have been bred up in: Though amongst un-
thinking Men, who examine not scrupulously and carefully their
own Ideas, and strip them not from the marks Men use for them, but
confound them with words, there must be endless dispute, wrang-
ling, and jargon; especially if they be learned bookish Men, devoted
to some Sect, and accustomed to the Language of it; and have
learned to talk after others. But if it should happen, that any two
thinking Men should really have different Ideas, I do not see how
they could discourse or argue one with another. Here I must not be
mistaken, to think that every floating Imagination in Men’s Brains,
is presently of that sort of Ideas I speak of. ’Tis not easie for the
Mind to put off those confused Notions and Prejudices it has
imbibed from Custom, Inadvertency, and common Conversation:
— 181 —
it requires pains and assiduity to examine its Ideas, till it resolves
them into those clear and distinct simple ones, out of which they
are compounded; and to see which, amongst its simple ones, have
or have not a necessary connexion and dependence one upon
another: Till a Man doth this in the primary and original Notions
of Things, he builds upon floating and uncertain Principles, and
will often find himself at a loss.
Locke Hum II, 13, §27, pp. 180-181