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Locke on ideas of substances and mixed modes Ogawa, Yoshinori 1993

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LOCKE ON IDEAS OF SUBSTANCES AND MIXED MODESbyYOSHINORI OGAWAB.A., Waseda University, 1986A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Philosophy)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember 1993GYoshinori Ogawa, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)__________________________________Department of A? /0Sc2,O IiyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate /./29 / 93DE-6 (2188)11ABSTRACTThe object of this thesis is to cast a new light onLocke’s distinction between ideas of mixed modes and thoseof substances. The particular interest here is in Locke’sfrequent remarks about the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixedmodes and the “non—arbitrariness” of ideas of substances.To develop a satisfactory account of the arbitrarinessand non—arbitrariness of ideas, I take note of the factthat, in explaining the reality of ideas, Locke utilizes thedifference in the manner in which the two types of complexideas are made. Particularly, his remark that ideas ofsubstances are all made in reference to actual things isconsidered.It will be seen, then, that to “refer” a complex ideato actual things is to suppose the conformity between theidea and them, and also that the “conformity” in this caseis understood as the correspondence between the set ofqualities specified by that idea and a set of qualities innature or as the coexistence of such a set in nature. Thearbitrariness and non—arbitrariness of the two types ofcomplex ideas is thus explained in terms of the manners inwhich these ideas are made: while the formation of ideas ofsubstances is propositional in nature, the formation ofthose of mixed modes is not.Furthermore, Locke’s distinction between ideas andpropositions in terms of truth and falsity implies that thereference to actual things is extrinsic to our ideas. Hence,I shall conclude that, for Locke, the difference betweenideas of mixed modes and those of substances ischaracterized as this: that as a contingent fact, ideas ofsubstances are formed in reference to actual things whereasthose of mixed modes are not.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents ivAcknowledgement viINTRODUCTION 1CHAPTER ONELocke on the Arbitrariness of Ideas of Mixed Modes 61.1 Leibnizian Reading of “Arbitrariness” 61.2 The Arbitrariness of Language? 111.3 “The Ideas of Mixed Modes are Made bythe Understanding 17CHAPTER TWOLocke on Mixed Modes and Ideas of Mixed Modes 222.1 Locke on the Ontological Status of Mixed Modes 242.2 The Aronson—Lewis Interpretation 282.3 “Ideas of Mixed Modes being Made without Reference...” 322.4 “Mixed Modes Having No Other Reality...” 36CHAPTER THREELocke on the Formation of Complex Ideas 423.1 “Referring” an Idea to Real Existence 423.2 The Formation of Complex Ideas 493.3 The Propositional Nature of the Formation ofComplex Ideas of Substances 55CHAPTER FOURLocke on the Distinction between Ideas and Propositions 584.1 Locke’s Conception of Propositions 624.2 Complex Ideas and Propositions 674.3 The Unity of Ideas of Substances 764 4 A Complex of Ideas as a Complex Idea oras a Proposition 80VCHAPTER FIVEIdeas of Mixed Modes and Ideas of Substances 915.1 The Formation of Mode Ideas and Arbitrariness 915.2 Bolton’s Interpretation 975.3 Reference not Contained in Ideas of Substances 1015.4 The Distinction between Ideas of Mixed Modesand Ideas of Substances 1075.5 The Classification of Ideas and the General Ideaof Substance 112CHAPTER SIXConclusions 117BIBLIOGRAPHY 122viACKNOWLEDGEMENTI would like to thank Professor Gary Wedeking of theUniversity of British Columbia for advice and criticisminvaluable in the preparation of this thesis..1INTRODUCTIONThe object of this thesis is to cast a new light onLocke’s distinction between ideas of mixed modes and thoseof substances. The particular interest here is in Locke’sfrequent remarks about the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixedmodes and the “non—arbitrariness” of ideas of substances. Acareful consideration of the issue will reveal a crucialdifference in the manner in which these ideas are formed:while the formation of ideas of substances is propositionalin nature, the formation of those of mixed modes is not.In Chapter One, three different lines of interpretationof what Locke means by the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixedmodes are examined. According to Leibniz, Locke admits thatin the formation of ideas, any arbitrary collection of ideascan be bundled together at will. Another possibleInterpretation may be derived from Locke’s own words. Thereare some passages in the Essay which seem to suggest thathis real intent with the arbitrariness of mode ideas is tostress the arbitrariness of Janguage. In addition to these,another reading of “arbitrariness” is proposed by D.J.O’Connor. On his interpretation, what Locke means by thearbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes is the active rolewhich the mind plays In the formation of these ideas. Allthese interpretations, however, turn out to be wanting inone important respect: they are unable to provide the reason2why Locke thinks it to be possible to distinguish ideas ofmixed modes from those of substances in terms of thearbitrariness of the former.In Chapter Two, to develop a satisfactory account ofthe arbitrariness or non—arbitrariness of ideas, I take noteof the fact that in explaining properties of ideas, Lockeutilizes the difference in the manner in which various typesof ideas are made. Particularly, he thinks that thedifference in the manner of formation provides the reasonfor his handling the reality of ideas in accordance withdifferent standards. I shall try to confirm this pointthrough the consideration of his remark in 2.30.4 that mixedmodes have “no other reality but what they have in the Mindsof Men.”A commentator has criticized Locke by saying that thisremark is inconsistent with his admitting the occurrences ofsuch entities in nature in other places. Against this,Aronson and Lewis have proposed a different interpretationaccording to which the passage in question indicates Locke’sview that modes in general lack real essences of their own.A mixed mode being a unified combination of qualities, todeny the existence of real essences which accounts for theunion of such qualities, they argue, does not entail thedenial of the concurrence of these qualities which come toconstitute a mixed mode. And thus, Locke is not Inconsistent3in denying the reality of mixed modes while allowing theexistence of sets of qualities which come to constitutemixed modes.This interpretation, however, is made less plausible bythe fact that, for Locke, a mixed mode does have a realessence which makes a unity of such a collection ofqualities. Moreover, in deriving the absence of realesssences in mixed modes from the mind—dependence of theunity of icleasof them, they neglect the fact that theseideas are formed without any intention of copying realexistence. What explains the mind—dependence of the unity ofthese ideas is not the absence of modal real essences butthe manner in which they are made. It will be seen, then,that when Locke talks of mixed modes as having no realityother than what they have in the mind, his point is thatideas of them are made without reference to real existence.Hence, there is no contradiction between his denial of thisintention in the ideas of mixed modes and his allowing theoccurrences of mixed modes in nature.Our next task is thus to clarify what it is to say thatideas are made with/without reference to actual things innature. In Chapter Three, I shall consider his remark thatideas of substances are all made in reference to “thingsexisting without us.” A careful look at the text will makeus see at least two points. First, to “refer” a complex idea4to real existence is to suppose the conformity between theidea and some actual things. Secondly, on Locke’s theory,the “conformity” in this case is understood as thecorrespondence between the set of qualities specified bythat idea and a set of qualities in nature or as thecoexistence of such a set in nature. Hence, when Locke saysthat ideas of substances are all made in reference to actualthings, he means that in the formation of these ideas, themind makes a supposition that there is a thing in nature inwhich a certain set of qualities coexist. Furthermore, thisinterpretation is confirmed through the consideration ofLocke’s own words including early drafts of the Essay.A possible objection to my interpretation, however, isfound in M.A. Stewart’s account. According to him, Locke’sclaim in the drafts that a complex idea of a substance is akind of affirmation reflects a confusion about what iscomplex on his compositionalism and what is complex on thetraditional theory. In other words, Locke is accused ofbeing confused about the distinction between ideas andpropositions. In Chapter Four, Locke’s view on thedistinction between ideas and propositions is considered inorder to argue against Stewart’s interpretation. A carefullook at the text makes us see that Locke was quite familiarwith the traditional compositionalism and had a clearunderstanding as to the distinction between ideas and5propositions already at the time of the drafts, and hencehis remark that in the formation of substance ideas, themind makes an affirmation cannot be dismissed as a muddlewhich he makes because of his failure in the distinction.Moreover, given the understanding of the distinction, it isunlikely that he identifies an idea of a substance with theproposition which the mind makes in the formation of thisidea. In fact, Locke does make a distinction between thesetwo as well.In Chapter Five, the arbitrariness and non—arbitrariness of ideas is explained in terms of the mannersin which our ideas are formed. The proposed account of thisissue implies that the reference to real existence iscontingently attached to our ideas. Against such aninterpretation, Martha Brandt Bolton argues that thereference must be included in each substance idea as itscomponent in order that the classification of an idea assubstantial or modal be invariable. Bolton’s account,however, does not conform to Locke’s doctrine in severalrespects. Most notably, it is in direct conflict withLocke’s distinction between ideas and propositions in termsof truth and falsity. Finally, I suggest that for Locke thedifference between ideas of mixed modes and those ofsubstances is characterized as this: that as a contingentfact, ideas of substances are formed in reference to actualthings while those of mixed modes are not.6CHAPTER ONELOCKE ON THE ARBITRARINESS OF IDEAS OF MIXED MODES1.1 LEIBNIZIAN READING OF “ARBITRARINESS”In his discussion of ideas of mixed modes, Locke oftenmentions “arbitrariness” as a distinctive character of theseideas.• • . these Essences of the Species of jnied Nodes, are z1otonly iiadeby the Mind, but made very arbitrarily [3.5.3]• • . the Mind in mixed Modes arbitrarily unites intocomplex Ideas, such as it finds convenient [3.5.6];• . . they [ideas of mixed modes] being Combinations ofseveral Ideas that the Mind of Man has arbitrarily puttogether . • . [3.11.15].Locke’s point in these passages seems to be that in theformation of ideas of mixed modes, any combination of ideascan be bundled together at will. At least, so it appears toLeibniz. And unsurprisingly, this irritates a champion ofrationalism like him. In his New Essays on JiwnanUnderstanding, Leibniz tries, on various occasions, toelucidate the inappropriateness of such a view. Forinstance, it is said that• it is not within our discretion to put our ideastogether as we see f it, unless the combination is justifiedeither by reason, showing its possibility, or by2experience,showing its actuality and hence its possibility.At first glance, this might look like a somewhatfamiliar picture of scrupulous Leibniz reproving his7careless predecessor. The truth of the matter, however, isnot as simple as it appears to be. There are at least tworeasons why we should suspect it is not. First, we must seethat it is incorrect to say that Locke allows any collectionof ideas to be combined into a complex idea of a mixed mode.In the beginning of the chapter on mixed modes in Book II,Locke writes,• . . to form such ideas [of mixed modes], it sufficed, thatthe Mind put the parts of them together, and that they wereconsistent in Understandjng’, without considering whetherthey had any real Being.iiiis passage seems to indicate that Locke is not entirelyunaware that the formation of ideas of mixed modes involvesthe compossibility of the constituent ideas. In addition, itis to be observed that Locke appears to take the consistencyor compossibility of component ideas to be a sufficientcondition for the reality of at least the ideas of mixedmodes.fifixed modes and Relations, having no other reality, but whatthey have in the Minds of Men, there is nothing morerequired to those kinds of Ideas, to make them real, butthat they be so framed, that there be possibility ofexisting conformable to them. These Ideas . . . cannot bechimerical, unless any one will jumble together in theminconsistent Ideas [2.30.4].Locke also remarks that a complex idea is said to be wrongif “inconsistent parts are jumbled together” [2.32.26].Given these remarks of his, it would seem questionable8whether he would ever maintain that any collection of ideaswhatsoever can be combined into a complex idea.This point becomes more evident once we realize thatfor Locke the arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes issomething which distinguishes them from another type ofcomplex ideas, i.e. those of substances. On the Leibnizianreading, by the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixed modes,Locke is said to mean that any collection of ideas can becombined into complex ideas of mixed modes. But in such acase, it would be by no means clear why Locke has to holdthat the arbitrariness concerns only the ideas of mixedmodes. Assuming that a complex idea of a mixed mode could bemade from any set of ideas, there would seem to be no reasonwhy the same can be said about a complex idea of asubstance, since in both cases the mind makes a complex ideaby “combining several simple Ideas into one compound one”[2.12.1]. Leibniz, of course, does not fail to see thispoint and wonders about Locke’s intention. At one point,Leibniz asks the spokesman of Locke,why attend so much to the privileged position of ideas4ofmixed modes when our concern is with ideas in general.However, it appears to be Locke’s invariable position thatwe can distinguish ideas of mixed modes from those ofsubstances in reference to the former’s “arbitrariness.” Forinstance, Locke writes of the difference between them,9• . . these Essences of the Species of iz,ixed fifocles, are notonly made by the Mind, but also made very arbitrarily, madewithout Patterns, or reference to any real Existence.Wherein they differ from those of Substances, which carrywith them the Supposition of some real Being, from whichthey are taken, and to which they are conformable [3.5.3].Now what does this claim indicate? Does it imply thatLocke, being unsure of what he means by the “arbitrariness”of ideas, comes to inischaracterize the difference betweenthe two types of complex ideas? On the contrary, it doesseem to suggest that it is rather Leibniz who fails to graspLocke’s sense of “arbitrariness” and hence misses a crucialaspect of his distinction between complex ideas of mixedmodes and those of substances. Both Locke’s awareness thatthe formation of a complex idea involves the compossibilityof its constituent ideas and his belief in the distincitonbetween the two types of complex ideas in terms of“arbitrariness” point to the fact that in the discussion ofideas of mixed modes, Locke is using the term“arbitrariness” in a sense different from Leibniz. That isto say, by the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixed modes, hedoes not mean that complex ideas can be made from any set ofideas.But what, then, does Locke mean by “arbitrariness”? Weshould keep in mind that a successful interpretaion of hisactual position on this issue must account for two points:first, it must, of course, explain what he means by the10“arbitrariness” of ideas of mixed modes; secondly, it mustalso be able to explain why he thinks that this notion cancharacterize the difference between complex ideas of mixedmodes and those of substances.111.2 THE ARBITRARINESS OF LANGUAGE?Locke’s account of what he means by the “arbitrariness”of ideas of mixed modes seems to be found in the chapter onthe names of mixed modes and relations in Book III. Forinstance, it is said that• . • the Mind in mixed Modes arbitrarily unites intocomplex Ideas, such as it finds convenient; whilst othersthat have altogether as much union in Nature, are leftloose, and never combined into one Idea, because they haveno need of one name. ‘Tis evident then, that the Mind, byits free choice, gives a connexion to a certain number ofIdeas which in Nature have no more union with one another,than others that it leaves out [3.5.6].At first glance, Locke’s point appears to be that in theformation of ideas of mixed modes, any combination of ideascan be united into one idea by the mind, and it is in thissense that ideas of mixed modes are arbitrary. •As we haveseen, Leibniz criticizes such a view by saying that acombination of ideas can be united together as far as theyare mutually consistent, and therefore even ideas of mixedmodes are not arbitrary.The question, however, is whether this is really whatLocke means in that passage. He seems to be addressing aslightly different issue when he writes in the same sectionthat• . . what greater connexion in Nature, has the Idea of aMan, than the Idea of a Sheep with Killing, that this ismade a particular Species of Action, signified by the wordfifurder, and the other not? Or what Union is there in Nature,12between the Idea of the Relation of a Father, with Killing,than that of a Son, or Neighbour; that those are combinedinto one complex Idea, and thereby made the Essence of thedistinct Species Parricide, whilst the other make nodistinct Species at all? [3.5.6].In this passage, Locke compares the set consisting of theidea of killing and that of a man with another setconsisting of the idea of killing and that of a sheep (andthe one consisting of the idea of killing and that of afather with the other consisting of the idea of killing andthat of a son or neighbour) and asks why only the former isunited into one complex idea and thereby becomes a nominalessence of the species murder. Apparently, the reason forthis inquiry is that there is no difference at all amongthese collections of ideas in their being found to occurtogether in nature. In addition to the quoted passage, Lockewrites,Hen . . . make several Cambinations of simple Ideas intodistinct, and, as it were, settled Nodes, and neglectothers, which in the Nature of Things themselves, have asmuch aptness to be combined, and make distinct Ideas[2.22.5];they [complex ideas of mixed modes] be Combinations made ofIdeas, that are loose enough, and have as little union inthemselves, as several other, to which the Mind never givesa connexion that combines them into one Idea [3.5.7].It would seem, then, that when Locke says that the mindarbitrarily makes a collection of ideas into a complex ideaof a mixed mode and leaves out others, all of these13collections are already supposed to be those which are foundto occur together in nature, and hence to be possible.Locke’s point is that in the formation of the ideas of mixedmodes, the mind arbitrarily chooses a certain collection ofideas out of such possible collections each of whosecomponent ideas are mutually consistent. That is, the“arbitrariness” is understood in the sense that it is up tothe mind which coilection of ideas it would make into acomplex idea of a mixed mode, but not in the sense that anycollection of ideas can be combined into such a complexidea. This appears to be what he means when it is said that“the Mind in mixed Modes arbitrarily unites into complexIdeas, such as it finds convenient; whilst other that havealtogether as much union in Nature, are . . . never combinedinto one Idea.” This is simply to say that there is nonecessity to choose a certain set of ideas over other setswhich are also found to be ocurring together in nature.But why, then, does Locke insist that ideas of mixedmodes are arbitrary? For if these collections of ideas whichcome to be made into complex ideas of mixed modes arealready understood as possible ones, there seems to benothing “arbitrary” about the formation of thesecollections. One might even suspect that these collectionsare, in effect, complex ideas, and that Locke’s explanationis in no sense concerned with the issue of how complex ideas14of mixed modes are made.Once Locke’s account of “arbitrariness” is understoodin this way, it might be said that in that account, Locke istrying to demonstrate the arbitrariness of the relationbetween names and ideas, rather than that of ideas of mixedmodes. If for Locke those collection of ideas are complexideas, to choose a certain collection and leave out othersseems to amount to giving a name to the former. In fact,Locke says that “in the making . . . of the Species of mixedModes, Men have had regard only to such Combinations, asthey had occasion to mention one to another” [3.5.7]. Butthen, to say that there is no necessity to choose acollection over others is no more than to say that there isno necessity to give a name to a collection over others. Andto say this is simply to say that there is no intrinsicrelationship between names and ideas. That is to say, thisrelation is arbitrary. This seems to be what Leibniz, at onepoint, reads in Locke’s discussion of “arbitrariness.” Hecriticizes Locke by saying thatIf we are concerned only with possibilities, all these ideasare equally natural. Anyone who has seen a sheep killed hashad an idea of that act in his thought, even if he has notdeemed it worth his attention and has not given it a name.Why, then, should we restrict ourselves o names when ourconcern is with ideas themselves . . . ?But is this actually what Locke means when he talks ofthe arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes? Apparently, the15text seems to endorse such a reading. At one point, Lockesays that the names of mixed modes “stand for Ideasperfectly arbitrarji’ [3.4.17]. Furthermore, his discussionof mixed modes in Books II and III both contains what mightbe called “the doctrine of intranslatability amonglanguages.” For instance, Locke says that “there are inevery Language iany particular words, which cannot berendered by any one single words of ano thei’ [2 . 22 . 6, seealso 3.5.8]. Given such a remark, one might think that Lockeutilizes this observation to demonstrate the arbitrarinessof language. And this might be thought to be good evidencefor the interpretation that by the “arbitrariness” of ideasof mixed modes, Locke means that of language, rather than ofideas.However, there are at least two reasons why we cannotaccept this interpretation. First, on this reading, Lockewould be said to be misguided in claming the arbitrarinessof ideas of mixed modes since the arbitrariness lies only innames of them. Secondly and more importantly, thisinterpretation cannot account for the reason why Lockethinks it possible to distinguish the ideas of mixed modesfrom those of substances in terms of the former’sarbitrariness. It seems obvious that the names of mixedmodes and those of substances are no different in that theysignify certain ideas simply by our arbitrary imposition.16Locke himself observes this point in the following passage.Words by long and familiar use . . . come to excite in Mencertain Ideas, so constantly and readily, that they are aptto suppose a natural connexion between them. But that theysignify only Men’s peculiar Ideas, and that by a perfectlyarbitrary Imposition, is evident, in that they often fail toexcite in other (even that use the same Language) the sameIdeas, we take them to be the Sign of [3.2.8].It is true that just before commencing the chapter on thenames of mixed modes and relations, Locke writes that thenames of mixed modes stand for ideas “perfectly arbitrartwhile “those of Substaaces’are not perfectly so” [3.4.17].However, that he is talking of ideas, not of names, is clearfrom the remark about simple ideas. It is said that “thoseof simple Ideas are perfectly taken froiii the existence ofthings, and are not arbitrary at all.”6171.3 “THE IDEAS OF MIXED MODES ARE MADE BY THE UNDERSTANDING”Locke’s grouping the names of substances and those ofsimple ideas together on the one hand, those of mixed modeson the other in 3.4.17 might make one suspect that what hemeans by the arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes hassomething to do with the active role which the mind plays inthe formation of these ideas. It is true that Locke oftenemphasizes the mind’s activity in the formation of ideas ofmixed modes. In making these ideas, says Locke, the mind notonly “chuses a certain Number,” but also “gives themconnexion, and makes them into one Idea’ [3.5.4] . Inaddition to this, he says,‘tis the Mind, that combines several scattered independentIdeas, into one complex one [3.5.6];it [the making of ideas of mixed modes] is done by the freechoice of the Mind, pursuing its own ends; and .therefore these Species of mixed Modes, are the workmanshipof the Understanding [3.5.6].By contrast, “ those [names] of simple Ideas are perfectlytaken from the existence of things, and are not arbitrary atall’ [3.4.17]. It would seem, then, that ideas of mixedmodes are arbitrary in the sense that the mind is “active”in the formation of them, whereas simple ideas are not sobecause the mind is “passive” in perceiving them.At least one commentator takes this to be what Lockemeans by “arbitrariness.” In his John Locke, D.J. O’Connor18observes that the languages we use contain two classes ofwords among others.The words in the first of these two classes reflect featuresof the world which are forced on our notice by its natureand construction. These are names of ideas of simplequalities like red, square, or sweet, or of substances likeapple, dog, gold, or table. But there are other words whichname ideas which are not forced on our notice in this way,but are rather constructed from features of the worldselected by us to serve some special interest or purpose.The examples Locke gives are taken largely from mora,,theological or legal terms and weights and measures.This, suggests O’Connor, is what Locke means when he saysnames of mixed modes and relations stand for perfectlyarbitrary ideas and names of other ideas do not. Accordingto O’Connor, then, the ideas which the mind is forced toreceive in experience are not arbitrary while the ones thatthe mind constructs for itself are called “arbitrary.”A similar reading is also offered by Leibniz. At onepoint in New Essays on Human (Jnders tanding, Le i bn i z makesthe spokesman of Locke express Locke’s view as follows.But does not the mind make ideas of mixed modes by combiningsimple ideas as it sees fit, without needing a real model,whereas simple ideas come to it without choice, ‘by realexistence of things’? Does not the innd often see a mixedidea before the thing itself exists?However, this cannot be the correct interpretation ofwhat Locke means by the arbitrariness of ideas of mixedmodes. According to O’Connor, ideas of substances aregrouped together with simple ideas because the mind is19passive in the perception of both types of ideas. Such aninterpretation, however, is mistaken. Locke’s position isthat the mind is passive in the reception of all simpleideas while it is active in the perception of aJ]othertypes of ideas. This point is made clear when he starts hisdiscussion of complex ideas in 2.12.1 and is never changed.For instance, it is said thatThough the Mind be wholly passive, in respect of its simpleIdeas- Yet, I think, we may say, it is not so, in respect ofits complex Ideas [2.30.3].It would seem quite strange, then, that Locke discards hispositon by classifying complex ideas of substances alongwith simple ideas as those in the perception of which themind is passive as soon as he starts Book III.Moreover, it is to be observed that in the very chapteron the names of mixed modes in Book III, Locke discusses thecontrast between simple ideas and ideas of mixed modes in adifferent manner from that in which he talks of the contrastbetween ideas of mixed modes and those of substances. Asregards the former, Locke explains the difference betweenthe two types of ideas in terms of the passive/activedistinction, and here there is no mention of thearbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes. It is only when thecontrast between ideas of mixed modes and those ofsubstances are considered that the arbitrariness of ideas of20mixed modes becomes at issue. Locke’s actual words read asfollows.The first Particularity I shall observe in them is, that theabstract Ideas, or . . . the Essences of the several Speciesof pjixed Nodes are made by the Understanding, wherein theydiffer from those of simple Ideas’ in which sort, the Mindhas no power to make any one, but only receives such as arepresented to it, by the real Existence of Things operatingupon it [3.5.2];In the next place, these Essences of the Species of mixedNodes, are not only made by the Mind, but made veryarbitrarily, made without Patterns, or reference to any realExistence. Wherein they differ from those of Substances,which carry with them the Supposition of some real Being,from which they are taken, and to which they are conformable[3.5.3].These passages clearly shows that Locke thinks that thearbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes concerns thedistinction between them and those of substances, not theone between them and simple ideas together with those ofsubstances.21FOOTNOTESCHAPTER ONE1 Numbers cited in the text without other referencesare from John Locke, An Essay concerning IluizianUnderstanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1975). References to the Essayare cited by book, chapter,and section number.2 G . W. Le Ibn I z, New Essays on human Understanding, ed.and trans. by P. Remnant and J. Bennett (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1981), p.294.3 Essay 2.22.2; emphasis added.4 Lelbniz, op. cit. p.301.5 Leibniz, op. cit. p.301.6 Essay3.4.17; emphasis added.7 D.J. O’Connor, John Locke (Baltimore: Penguin Books,1952), p.146—147.8 Leibniz, op. cit. p.300.22CHAPTER TWOLOCKE ON MIXED MODES AND IDEAS OF MIXED MODESWhen Locke explains the difference between ideas ofmixed modes and those of substances in the beginning of thechapter on the names of mixed modes, he seems to be thinkingthat the arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes has somethingto do with the fact that these ideas are made withoutreference to any real existence. In fact, while Locke thinksthat ideas of mixed modes can be distinguished from those ofsubstances in terms of the formers’ arbitrariness, it isalso his position that the two types of complex ideas can bedistinguished by considering the manner in which these ideasare made.The difference in the manner of formation plays acrucial role particularly in his discussion of the realityof our ideas. In explaining the reality of ideas, Lockethinks that different standards are required for the twotypes of ideas. Concerning the reality of ideas of mixedmodes, he says, “there is nothing more required to thosek4nd of Ideas, to make them rea], but that they be soframed, that there be a possibility of existing conformableto them” [2.30.4]. On the other hand, ideas of substances“are no farther real, than as they are such Combinations ofsimple Ideas, as are really united, and co—exist in Thingswithout us” [2.30.5]. And this is because ideas of mixedmodes are “not intended to be the Copies of any thing, nor23referred to the existence of any thing, as to theirOriginals” [4.4.5], while those of substances are “made allof them in reference to Things existing without us, andintended to be Representations of Substances, as they reallyare” [2.30.5]. It seems, then, that Locke thinks that thedifference in the manner of formation provides the reasonfor his handling the reality of these ideas according todifferent criteria.The problem, however, is that, in explaining thereality of ideas of mixed modes in 2.30.4, Locke says thatthe mutual consistency of their component ideas issufficient for their reality because mixed modes have “noother reality, but what they have in the Minds of Men.” Thisremark appears to suggest that what explains the conditionfor the reality of ideas of mixed modes is not the manner inwhich they are made, but the ontological status of mixedmodes.In this chapter, I shall argue that a careful readingof the text reveals that when he talks of mixed modes ashaving no reality other than what they have in the mind,this is not concerned with the ontological status of mixedmodes. Instead, Locke’s position is that the condition forthe reality varies in accordance with how ideas are formed.242.1 LOCKE ON THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF MIXED MODESAt one point in the Essay, Locke writes of mixed modesas “having no other reality but what they have in the Mindsof Men” [2.30.4], whereas in other places he seems to admitthe real existence of such entities in nature. To somecommentators, this appears to be a mere inconsistency onLocke’s part. For instance, David L. Perry in his article“Locke on Mixed Modes, Relations, and Knowledge” writes,There is simply a contradiction between Lock&s denial ofexternal reality of mixed odes and his admission that mixedmodes have real existence.Now before considering whether such is actually thecase, I shall first take a general look at what Locke saysabout mixed modes. It seems that Locke realized thenecessity of a separate treatment of mixed modes in theprocess of his analysis of moral relations. In one of theearly drafts of the Essay, Locke writes of “moral goodnesse6 badnesse” as “nothing but the relation or conformity ofthe actions of men to some rule” and carries out theanalysis of the idea of “murther.”2 Although in Draft A, hestill calls them simply “actions,” in Draft B, they come tobe described as “moral things” and eventually, by the end ofthat draft, as “modes”:• . . if we have not made a right collection of those simpleIdeas which make up the complex Idea signified by thespecific nam of any iizocle or action, we shall also give itwrong names.25Locke’s conception of mixed modes as actions can be furtherconfirmed by his journal entry on Aug. 25 1678.Complex modes are most if not all of our owne makeing beingbut names we have given to certaine motions figures oractions &c. as to move walke step slide run dance jumptumble fall lie done, all but several actions of a man,roast, fire, bake.This point remains unchanged in the Essay. Locke stillwrites of mixed modes as “moral actions” [2.28.15], andremarks that the most considerable parts of mixed modes aremoral beings or actions [3.5.12, 3.6.42]. Examples of mixedmodes given by Locke, as Perry reports, are beauty, theft,obligation, drunkenness, a lie, hypocrisy, sacrilege,murder, appeal, triumph, wrestling, fencing, boldness,habit, testiness, running, speaking, revenge, gratitude,polygamy, justice, liberality, courage and etc. GivenLocke’s inclusion of an event like resurrection as a mixedmode, for him mixed modes are not only actual events oractions. Perry correctly characterizes mixed modes for Lockeas “possible events, actions, activities, conditions,states, or complex properties.”5How does Locke think of the ontological status of mixedmodes then? Given his conception of them as actions, wemight expect that he would admit the existence or at leastoccurrence of them. In fact, it seems to be his positionthat there are such actions and events in nature. Locke26talks of the possibility of forming a complex idea of amixed mode from an actual occurrence of a complex propertyin nature [2.22.21, whereas such an existing collection ofproperties may be left alone without being made into a mixedmode [3.5.3]. Furthermore, it is to be noted that hisconception of mixed modes as actions makes him express somespecifications about the existence of mixed modes. Thereseem to be at least two points to be recognized as regardstheir ontologica]. status.First, according to Locke, modes in general do not“subsist” by themselves. They are not only considered as“Dependences on, or Affections of Substances” [2.12.4]. Theyare claimed to be “ultimately terminated in Substances”[2.27.2]. This seems to be his invariable opinion since hewrites already in Draft B,Devotion Modesty, Cuning Revenge. &c which words implyingcommonly something without the subject wherein the simpleIdeas expressed thereby arg supposed to exist. stand formodes or relations . .Secondly, the status of mixed modes as actions seems tomake Locke think that mixed modes have only a “shortexistence.” For instance, it is said thatthe greatest part of mixed modes, being Actions, whichperish in their Birth, are not capable of a lastingDuration, as Substances, which are Actors; and wherein thesimple Ideas that make up the complex Ideas designed by theName, have a lasting union [3.6.42].27Moreover, the transience of mixed modes, Locke thinks,automatically settles the problem concerning the identityand diversity of such beings:as to things whose Existence is in succession, such asare the Actions of finite Beings, v.g. Motion and Thought,both which consist in a continued train of Succession,concerning their Diversity there can be no question: Becauseeach perishing the moment it begins, they cannot exist indifferent times, or in different places, as permanent Beingscan at different times exist in distant places; andtherefore no motion or thought considered as at differenttimes can be the same, each part thereof having a differentbeginning of Existence [2.27.2].This, however, is not all Locke says about mixed modes.As Perry points out, Locke does writes of mixed modes as“having no other reality, but what they have in the Minds ofMen” [2.30.4]. In other places, mixed modes are said to be“Archetypes without Patterns” [2.31.3] and have “no othersensible Standard, existing any where, but the Name it self,or the definition of that Name” [2.32.12]. And finally,Locke writes that the union of a mixed mode “has notparticular foundation in Nature” [3.5.10].How can we make sense of Locke’s fluctuating attitudetoward the ontological status of mixed modes? Should we saywith Perry that “there is simply a contradiction betweenLocke’s denial of the external reality of mixed modes andhis admission that some mixed modes have real existence”?7282.2 THE ARONSON—LEWIS INTERPRETATIONAn attempt to rescue Locke from the charge ofinconsistency was made by Christopher Aronson and DouglasLewis in their discussion of Perry’s article. There theyargue that when Locke talks of mixed modes as having noother reality than what they have in the mind, he is saying,“there is no real essence in nature which unites theproperties, which come to constitute mixed modes, intocomplexes.”8 and therefore that there is no suchcontradiction in his account of mixed modes as Perrymaintains.Their interpretation on this issue stems from theirmain thesis that characteristic feature of complex ideas ofmixed modes are supposed by Locke to reflect the differencein ontological status between mixed modes and substances. Sothey begin their account by noting Locke’s remark thatcomplex ideas of mixed modes owe their unity to the mind. Asthey acknoledge, this aspect of the ideas of mixed modes isalready pointed out by Perry. In his article, Perry quotesLocke as saying that every idea of a mixed mode “has itsUnity from an Act of the Mind combining those several simpleIdeas together, and considering them as one complex one,consisting of those parts . . . “ [2.22.4].While Perry confines himself to saying that a partiallynonempirical origin is thus attributed to ideas of mixed29modes” since “the unity essential to such ideas” is “made,”9Aronson and Lewis argue that this represents a distinctivecharacter of mixed modes at the ontological level. Themind—dependence of the unity of ideas of mixed modes, theythink, indicates that collections of properties which cometo constitute mixed modes do not have a unity in themselves.The question, however, is how the mind—dependence ofthe unity of ideas of mixed modes can be said to indicatethe mind—dependence of the unity of mixed modes. Aronson andLewis attempt to show this from the consideration of thesource of the unity in the case of ideas of substances.According to them, it is Locke’s position that our ideas ofsubstances derive their unity from unified combinations ofproperties given in nature. In order to support this claim,they quote the following passage:But in the forming his Idea of this new Substance he takesthe quite contrary Course; here he has a Standard made byNature . . . he puts in no simple Idea into his complex one,but what he has the Perception of from the thing it self. Hetakes Care that his Idea be conformable to this Archetype,and intends the Name should stand for an Idea so conformable[3.6.46].This passage does seem to show that our ideas of substancesare made by “copying” combinations of properties orqualities given in nature. However, despite their belief, itis not so clear whether Locke thinks ideas of substances gettheir unity from combinations of qualities occurring in30nature. For Locke elsewhere admits that ideas of mixed modesmay also be sometimes made from “Experience and Observationof things themselves” [2.22.9], but he thinks they owe theirunity to the mind. So it might be argued that ideas beingcopied from such combinations do not necessarily imply thatthey get their unity from them.Aronson and Lewis are well aware of this point and thustry to show that combinations of properties which constitutesubstances, unlike those which constitute mixed modes, dohave a unity of their own, that is to say, they are unifiedcombinations. They argue that Locke is alluding to such a“natural” unity of combinations of properties constitutingsubstances when he writes:• • • all the Ideas we have of particular distinct sorts ofSubstances, are nothing but several Combinations of simpleIdeas, [the properties, of which these simple ideas areideas] co—existing in such, though unknown, use of theirUnion, as makes the whole subsist of itself.And they further argue that such combinations of propertiesas those which constitute substances have their own unitybecause of the existence of real essence which isresponsible for a unity in each of these combinations ofproperties.Aronson and Lewis thus maintain that when a combinationof properties exists in nature with its own unity as in thecase of those constituting substances, the mind makes a31complex idea simply by copying such a unified combinationgiven in nature and hence that the source of the unity inthe case of ideas of substances is not the mind, but rathera real essence which makes a unity of that combination ofproperties. It seems to be the case, then, that if acollection of ideas owes its unity to the mind as in thecase of ideas of mixed modes, this is because there is nounified combination of properties in nature from which theunity of a complex idea can be derived.What follows from this, it is to be noted, is not, asPerry contends, that there is no occurrence of a combinationof properties which comes to constitute a mixed mode, butthat there is no occurrence of such a combination qua aunified one. And what explains the lack of a unity in thecombination is the non—existence of real essence in mixedmodes, and this is what Locke means by his remark aboutmixed modes having no reality in nature. Hence, there is noinconsistency between his denial of the external reality ofmixed modes and his admitting the real essence of them.322.3 “IDEAS OF MIXED MODES BEING MADE WITHOUT REFERENCE”While it seems to rescue Locke from the allegedinconsistency in his account of mixed modes, there are someproblems in the Aronson—Lewis interpretation. As we haveseen, they attempt to solve the apparent contradiction inLocke’s conception of the ontological status of mixed modesby arguing that when he talks of mixed modes as having noreality in nature, he means that there is no real essence inthem. Against their reading, however, R.S. Woolhouseargues’1 that for Locke modes in general do have realessences, and that he does think a modal real essence, justas in the case of a substantial one, is “that, on which allthe properties of the Species depend, and from which theyall flow” 3.5.4, see also 3.3.18, 2.31.6, 2.32.24]. Givensuch textual evidence, it is rather questionable whether wecan legitimately conclude that Locke’s remark about mixedmodes having no reality in nature suggests his denial ofmodal real essences.Secondly, Aronson and Lewis maintain that ideas ofmixed modes owe their unity to the mind because there is nounified combination of properties in nature which the mindcopies in forming these ideas. Their reason for this claimis that in the case of our ideas of substances, a collectionof ideas which constitute such a complex idea “have a unitydue to the fact that the complex idea is copied from the33unified combination of properties given in nature.”12 Andthis is a part of their interpretation that “the features ofideas of mixed modes . . . are the basis for Locke’s attemptto account for the difference in ontoiogica] status betweenmixed modes . . . on the one hand and substances . . . on,,13the other.This line of thought, however, is mistaken. In order toconclude the mind—dependence of the unity of mixed modesfrom that of the unity of the ideas of mixed modes, anotherthesis about the condition of the formation of ideas must beassunted. In the case of our ideas of substances, they argue,such complex ideas derive their unity from unifiedcombinations of properties occurring in nature. It must berecognized, however, that this interpretation hinges on thefact that the ideas of substances are made with theintention of copying unified combinations in nature. By thesame token, then, when the absence of unified combinationsof properties in nature is said to explain why the ideas ofmixed modes owe their unity to the mind, it is tacitlyassumed that these ideas are also made by the mind with theintention of copying such combinations of properties.Yet such an assumption is precisely the contrary ofLocke’s actual position. Concerning the ideas of mixedmodes, he invariably insists that these ideas are madewithout reference to anything and have no intention in them34to copy anything. There are plenty of remarks by Locke alongthis line. For instance, it is said that our complex ideasof modes are “voluntary Collections of simple Ideas, whichthe Mind puts together, without reference to any realArchetypes, or standing Patterns, existing any where” andthat they are not “intended for Copies of Things reallyexisting, but for Archetypes, or standing Patterns, existingany where” and that they are not “intended for Copies ofThings really existing, but for Archetypes made by the Mind,to rank and denominate Things by” [2.31.3].What we must recognize here, I suggest, is that sincethe ideas of mixed modes are made without being referred toanything, the unity of such ideas depends upon the mindwhether or not there is a unified combination of propertiesin nature. To put it differently, what accounts for themind—dependence of the unity in these ideas is the fact thatthese ideas are formed without reference to anything, notthat there is no unified combination of properties whichcome to constitute a mixed mode. Needless to say, this isnot to say that for Locke each of the combinations ofproperties which come to constitute mixed modes does have aunity of its own. What I am arguing is merely that themind—dependence of their unity has no implication whatsoeverfor whether the combinations of properties constitutingmixed modes occur as unified complexes. As soon as it is35assumed that the features of ideas of mixed modes mustreflect those of mixed modes, we lose sight of a crucialcharacter of ideas of mixed modes.362.4 “MIXED MODES HAVING NO OTHER REALITY . . .The alleged inconsistency in Locke’s conception of theontological status of mixed modes hinges mainly on hisproblematic remark that “mixed modes . . . having no otherreality, but what they have in the Minds of Men” [2.30.4].In last section, we have examined an attempt to rescue Lockefrom this charge, and we have seen that it does not do thejob. The reason for this inability, I have suggested, is dueto its failure to recognize a distinctive feature of ideasof mixed modes; these ideas are made without being referredto anything.It has been reported by various commentators that asregards the reality of ideas, Locke treats the two types ofcomplex ideas (i.e. those of mixed modes and those ofsubstances) differently. According to Locke, a complex ideais real if its constituent ideas are mutually compatiblewhereas in order for a complex idea of a substance to bereal, it is necessary for there to be some actual thingwhich is conformable to it. Given that the ones are nodifferent from the others in their being complex ideas, thequestion is why Locke thinks that such differentrequirements are called for.We should recognize that it is for this very reasonthat Locke makes the remark about mixed modes having noother reality than what they have in the mind. When the37passage is quoted in full, it is clear that his intentionwith that remark is to explain why the reality of ideas ofmixed modes is determined in terms of consistency:Mixed Modes and Relations, having no other reality, but whatthey have in the Minds of Men, there is nothing morerequired to those kind of Ideas, to make them real, but thatthey be so framed, that there be a possibility of existingconformable to them [2.30.4].On the other hand, Locke writes of the reality of ideas ofsubstances as follows:Our complex Ideas of Substances, being made all of them inreference to Things existing without us, and intended to beRepresentations of Substances, as they really are, are nofarther real, than as they are such Combinations of simpleIdeas, as are really united, and co—exist in Things withoutus [2.30.5].A comparison of the two passages would make us see atleast two points. First, it shows that Locke does think thatconcerning their reality, the two types of complex ideas aretreated differently. Ideas of mixed modes are real if “theybe so framed, that there be a possibility of existingconformable to them,” whereas ideas of substances are notreal unless “they are such Combinations of simple Ideas, asare really united, and co—exost in Things without us.”Secondly, in the above passages, Locke is surely offeringthe explanation for his treating the two types of complexideas differently as to their reality. The reality of ideasof mixed modes is determined by one criterion because mixed38modes have “no other reality, but what they have in theMinds of Men,” while the reality of ideas of substances isjudged by another criterion because they are “made all ofthem in reference to Things existing without us, andintended to be Representations of Substances, as they reallyare.”Note that in the case of ideas of substances, thereason for such a treatment is attributed to the manner inwhich these ideas are made whereas in the case of ideas ofmixed modes, the ontological status of mixed modes is saidto provide the reason. This would seem quite strange givenwhat Locke is trying to do there. But this is not the case.The truth of the matter, I suggest, is that when Locke talksof mixed modes as having no other reality than what theyhave in the mind, he means that ideas of mixed modes aremade without being referred to anything. And it is thisdifference in the condition of the formation of ideas thatis supposed by Locke to account for the necessity ofdifferent requirements in determining the reality of ideas.Locke’s position is that the requirement for the reality ofideas varies in accordance with whether or not an idea ismade with the intention of copying something.That he is talking about the ideas of mixed modes, notabout mixed modes is obvious even in that very remark. ForLocke writes, “Mixed modes . . . having no other reality .39there is nothing more required to those kind of Ideas,to make the.w real, but that tJieybe so framed, that there bea possibility conformable to them.”14 Moreover, it is to benoted that the difference in the condition of the formationbetween the two types of complex ideas plays a crucial rolein his discussion of the adequacy and inadequacy of ideas.It is because, says Locke, complex ideas of mixed modes are“voluntary Collection of simple Ideas, which the Mind putstogether, without reference to any real Archetypes orstanding Patterns, existing any where” that they “cannot butbe adequate Idea.’ [2.31.3].But in our Ideas of Substances, it is otherwise. For theredesiring to copy Things, as they really do exist; and torepresent to our selves that Constitution, on which alltheir Properties depend, we perceive our Ideas attain notthat Perfection we intend . . . and so are all inadequate[2.31.3].Aside from how the condition of the formation of ideas issupposed to explain the adequacy and inadequacy of theseideas, it seems certain that Locke believes that it can beexplained in reference to how an idea is made.A more direct support to my reading can be found inLocke’s account of the reality of knowledge in Book IV.There he says that our knowledge concerning modes in generalattains reality because all our complex ideas except thoseof substances are “not intended to be the Copies of anything, nor referred to the existence of any thing, as to40their Originals” [4.4.5]. On the other hand, “to have Ideasof Substances, which, by being conformable to Things, mayafford us real Knowledge, it is not enough, as in Modes, toput together such Ideas as have no inconsistence,” sincethese ideas are “supposed Copies, and referred to Archetypeswithout us” [4.4.12].It would seem most natural to assume, then, that whenLocke talks of mixed modes as having no other reality thanwhat they have in the mind, he is trying to explain why thereality of ideas of mixed modes is determined in terms ofconsistency. And by that remark, he means that ideas ofmixed modes are made with no intention of copying anything.It would further follow from this that there is no suchinconsistency between that remark and his admitting the realexistence of mixed modes as Perry maintains. The ideas ofmixed modes being made without reference to anything has nobearing on the occurrence of mixed modes in nature. Locke’sfrequent claim that ideas of mixed modes have no “patterns,”“standard,” “original” and so on can be understood in thesame manner. By this Locke simply means that in theformation of ideas of mixed modes, there is no particularobjects to which these ideas are referred by the mind.41FOOTNOTESCHAPTER TWO1 David L. Perry, “Locke on Mixed Modes, Relations andKnowledge,” in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, 5(1967), p.225.2 John Locke, Drafts for the Essay concerning HumanUnderstanding, and Other Philosophical Ii’ritings, vol. 1Drafts A andB, ed. P.H. Nidditch and G.A.J. Rogers (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1990), p.12. (Henceforth “Draft A” or“Draft B”).3 Draft B, p.266; emphasis added.4 John Locke, An Early Draft of Locke ‘s Essay togetherwith excerpts from his journals, ed. R. I. Aaron and J. G ibb(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936), p.112.5 Perry, op. cit., p.220.6 Draft B, p.216.7 Perry, op. cit., p.225.8 C. Aronson and D. Lewis, “Locke on Mixed Modes,Knowledge and Substances,” in the Journal of the History ofPhilosophy, 8 (1970), p.195. Emphasis added.9 Perry, op. cit., p.221.10 Essay 2.23.6; insertion by Aronson and Lewis.11 R.S. Woolhouse, “Locke on Modes, Substances andKnowledge,” in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, 10(1972).12 Aronson and Lewis, op. cit., p.195.13 Aronson and Lewis, op. cit., p.193.14 Essay 2.30.4; emphasis added.42CHAPTER THREELOCKE ON THE FORMATION OF COMPLEX IDEAS3.1 “REFERRING” AN IDEA TO REAL EXISTENCEThe consideration of Lock&s view on ideas of mixedmodes in the last two chapters seems to suggest that hetakes it to be a defining feature of ideas of mixed modesthat they are made without reference to anything while heconsiders it to be a distinctive character of those ofsubstances that they are all made in reference to thingsexisting without us. It is not improbable, then, that Lockethinks such features of these complex ideas to be related tothe fact that ideas of mixed modes are arbitrary while thoseof substances are not arbitrary.The question, however, is how one set of features ofcomplex ideas (arbitrariness/non—arbitrariness) can beexplained in terms of the other (non—referentially made!referentially made). To answer this, it would be sufficientto account for the relationship of the two features in onecase since the two types of complex ideas are said to bedistinguishable in terms of either feature. Thus, in thefollowing, I shall attempt to show how the non—arbitrarinessof complex ideas of substances is supposed to be explainedin terms of their being made in reference to real existence.But, first of all, we must get clear about what Locke meanswhen he says that complex ideas of substances are made inreference to “Things existing without us.”43Lock&s account of “referring” can be found in thechapter on true and false ideas in Book II. There heexplains that truth and falsity, properly speaking, belongonly to propositions, and therefore that “our Ideas, beingnothing but bare Appearances or Perceptions in our Mind,cannot properly and simply in themselves be said to be trueor false” [2.32.1]. However, ideas can be called true orfalse, says Locke, if the mind refers any of its ideas toanything extraneous to them.Because the Mind in such a reference, makes a tacitSupposition of their Conformity to that Thing: whichSupposition, as it happens to be true or false; so the Ideasthemselves come to be denominated [2.32.4].It would seem, then, that to refer an idea to, say, X,according to Locke, is to make a supposition that the ideais conformable to X. And insofar as such a suppositionhappens to be true or false, the idea itself can be said tobe true or false. It is important to recognize here that torefer an idea to X is to suppose that it is conformable toX. If to refer an idea to X were merely to juxtapose theidea and X, Locke would not write, “when—ever the Mindrefers any of its Ideas to any thing extraneous to them,they are then capable to be called true or false.’ So forhim, to refer an idea to existing things is to suppose thatthere is some thing in nature that the idea is conformableto.44But exactly what is it to suppose the “conformity”between an idea and a real existence? As is often observed,Locke thinks that the relation of conformity holds or issupposed to hold between an idea and various types ofobjects. The conformity relation might be supposed betweenan idea and (a) the idea “in other Nen’s’Mind called by thesame common Name,” (b) “soilie real Existence,” or (c) “thatreal Constitution, and Essence of any thing, whereon all itsProperties depend” [2.32.5]. Given such various types ofobjects to which an idea is supposed to be conformable, onemight wonder whether the meaning of the conformity relationis univocal with respect to all these objects. For the mindto suppose the conformity in the first case, for example, issaid to amount to judging any of its ideas to be “the same”with those in other men’s minds. Obviously, such a readingof “conformity” is not applicable to the other two cases.Furthermore, it is to be recognized that even withrespect to the same type of objects, the meaning of“conformity” is different according to whether the idea inquestion is a simple one or a complex one. This is crucialespecially when the supposed conformity is with a realexistence. Our simple ideas, says Locke, all agree to thereality of things because they are “nothing but the effectsof certain Powers in Things, fitted and ordained by God, toproduce such Sensations in us” [2.31.2]. It would seem,45then, that “conformity” in this case, as John Yoltonexplains,does not only mean ‘image’, since it is only the ideas ofprimary qualities which exactly copy or image theirqualities. All simple ideas agree with the reality of thingsin the sense of being caused by things. Causalcorrespondnce constitutes agreement to some realexistence.The conformity in the case of complex ideas, however,does not seem to be explained simply as the causalcorrespondence between ideas and powers or qualities inthings considering the fact that Locke thinks complex ideasof substances sometimes fail in conformity with the objectsthey are referred to. For given that a complex idea consistsof a collection of simple ideas and that no simple ideafails to be conformable to the reality of things, no complexidea should be liable to such a failure if “conformity” wereunderstood in the same sense as that in which the conformityof simple ideas is understood.Concerning Locke’s use of the term “conformity,”Jonathan Bennett claims in his Locke, Berkeley, liwize:Central 2’heiaes that Locke holds the so-called“veil—of—perception doctrine” which sets “the entire rangeof facts about sensory states over against the entire rangeof facts about the objective realm.”3 This interpretation isusually thought to get textual support from Locke’sapparently sceptical remarks such as this.46‘Tis evident, the Mind knows not Things immediately, butonly by the intervention of the Ideas it has of them. OurKnowledge therefore is real, only so far as there is aconformity between our Ideas and the reality of Things. Butwhat shall be here the Criterion? How shall the Mind, whenit perceives nothing but is own Ideas, know that they agreewith Things themselves? [4.4.31.As far as the “conformity” relation is concerned,however, it is rather questionable that Locke is thinkingalong the line of Bennett’s interpretation. As regards theconformity of complex ideas of substances, Locke explainsthat there are two types of “archetypes” to which the mindicfers these ideas.1. Sometimes they are referred to a supposed real Essence ofeach Species of Things. 2. Sometimes they are only design’dto be Pictures and Representations in the Mind, of Thingsthat do exist, by Ideas of those qualities that arediscoverable in them [2.31.6].Now our task here is to clarify what Locke means when hesays that ideas of substances are “made all of them inreference to Things existing without us,” and thus theconformity at issue is the one with the second type ofarchetype.What we should notice here, then, is that in itsreferring a complex idea to existing things, the mindintends the idea to be the idea of “discoverable” qualitiesin them. Moreover, in such a reference to “the existence ofThings” or “Combinations of simple Ideas existing togetherin Things,” Locke explains, an idea can be called false,47When they put together simple Ideas, which in the realExistence of Things, have no union [2.32.18].I take his point to be that complex ideas of substances inreference to real existence are false if the qualitiesrepresented by their component ideas do not have union innature. In addition, Locke writes in the same chapter that“the two Ideas, of a Man, and a Centaur, supposed to be theIdeas of real Substances, are the one true, and the otherfa]se the one having a Conformity to what has reallyexisted; the other not” [2.32.5]. It would seem, then, whatconstitutes the conformity between a complex idea and anobject is the fact that a set of qualities represented by aset of simple ideas which constitute that complex idea a]]belong to that object or coexist in it. And he thinks we canknow this simply by observing actual things. In other words,he considers the conformity between our ideas and realitynot as that between the sensory and things as they are inthemselves, but rather as that between our ideas and thingsas they appear to us.This interpretation is given textual support by thefollowing remark by Locke himself.our Ideas of Substances, which consisting of aCollection of simple Ideas, supposed taken from the Works ofNature, may yet vary from them, by having more or differentIdeas united in them, than are to be found in the thingsthemselves: From whence it comes to pass, that they may, andoften do fail of being conformable to Things themselves[4.4.11].48Locke’s position is that ideas of substances in reference toactual things fail in the conformity with them when theyinclude a collection of qualities which is “different” fromthe ones found in our experience of them. In other words, heunderstands the conformity of these ideas with actual thingsin terms of the correspondence between a set of qualitiesrepresented by their component ideas and a set of qualitiesobservably co—instantiated in them.4It would seem most likely, then, that, for Locke, tosuppose the conformity between a complex idea and a realexistence is to suppose that there is a thing in nature inwhich a group of qualities represented by its componentideas coexist. Moreover, since to refer an idea to realexistence is to suppose its conformity to existing things,to refer an idea to “Things existing without us” amountsalso to supposing the coexistence or union of a group ofqualities represented by its constituent ideas in nature.493.2 THE FORMATION OF COMPLEX IDEASThe next question, then, is what it is to say that acomplex idea is made in reference to “Things existingwithout us.” I have suggested that for Locke, to “refer” acomplex idea to some real existence is to suppose the unionof the qualities represented by its component ideas innature. Assuming that such a reading correctly capturesLocke’s actual position, it would seem that to say that anidea is made in reference to a real existence is to say thatit is made with the supposition of the coexistence of acollection of qualities in nature. Now if we are to decidewhether Locke in fact holds such a view, we should take aclose look at his account of the formation of complex ideasof substances. For according to Locke, the mind’s referringideas to some object is concerned only with the formation ofthe complex ideas of substances. And thus, this is the placewhere Locke’s view on this issue should be found.But before considering his account of the formation ofideas of substances, I would like to outline his view oncomplex ideas in general.Unfortunately, Locke does not say much about the natureof complex ideas or wherein the complexity of such ideasconsists. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to see hisconception of “complex idea.” As regards the nature ofsimple ideas, Locke writes that each one of them is“uncompounded, contains in it nothing but one uniform50Appearance, or Conception in the mind, and is notdistinguishable into different Idea.’ [2.2.1]. We mightinfer from this that for Locke, the complexity of a complexidea is characterized by the compoundedness or coiiiposftenessof its content and a complex idea is distinguishable intocomponent ideas. Such seems, roughly, to be Locke’sconception of complex ideas as it corresponds to his shortdefinition in 2.12.1.Ideas . . . made up of several simple ones put together, Icall Complex. .The composite character of complex ideas can be furtherconfirmed by his explanation of the formation of complexideas. According to Locke, the formation of complex ideas,as well as that of ideas of relations and of general ideas,depends upon “the Acts of the Mind wherein it exerts itsPower over its simple Idea.’ [2,12,1]. Particularly, theoperation of the mind concerned with the making of complexideas is called “composition,” by which the mind “putstogether several of those simple ones [ideas] it hasreceived from Sensation and Reflection, and combines theminto complex ones” [2.11.6]. And when the ideas put togetherare of the same kind, this way of composition is called“enlarging” [2.11.6]. It appears to be Locke’s officialposition that all complex ideas (i.e. those of simple modes,of mixed modes and of substances) are formed in the manner51of composition. “Combining several simple Ideas into onecompound one,” writes Locke, “and thus all Complex Ideas aremade” [2.12.1J. It would seem, then, that in order for anidea to be a complex one, a plurality of content isnecessary.The question, however, is whether the plurality ofcontent alone is sufficient for an idea to be a complexidea. The answer to this question has some crucialimplications. For if the plurality of content is asufficient condition, it would follow that simple ideaswhich are observed in combination in experience may beregarded as a complex idea because of their multiplicity. Itwould seem, then, that for Locke, complex ideas are at leastsometimes given to the mind in experience. Many eminentcommentators agree. Here are some examples of such aninterpretation.Frequently in the Ess6ay complex ideas, as well as simple,are held to be givenmany passages in Locke approximate to the modernview and agree that what is given in sesation is ofl1en (orindeed always in the case of sight) a complex ideathere are complex ideas in the mind . which aredistinct from those made by the mind . ..some complex ideas just occur and are not ‘made by themind’Locke does not mean . . . that ideas are necessarilyreceived in their siinp]icitp complexes can be got directlyfrom experience, and do not ways actually have to be builtup from experienced simples.52Such an interpretation, however, is mistaken. We mustrecognize that for Locke a complex idea is not merely anaggregate of distinct simple ideas. This point has recentlybeen noted by one commentator. In his paper “Locke on theMaking of Complex Ideas,” Michael Losonsky writes,A complex idea . . . according to Locke, is not just anaggregate of simple ideas . . . . When a combination orcollection is made into a complex idea something new isadded to the collection. Locke makes this quite clear in apassage where he state that the mind in making a complexidea first takes a number of ideas and then “gives themconnexion, and makes them into one Idea” (3.5.4) . In otherwords, the collection of ideas must be connected together incertain ways (unfortunately jt spelled—out by Locke) andturned into one single idea.Losonsky’s interpretation is that for Locke, the simpleideas that the mind observes in combination are not acomplex idea, since such a collection of simple ideas hasnot been given any connexion and therefore is nothing moreLan an aggregate of distinct simple ideas. In other words,Locke does not take it to be a sufficient condition for themaking of a complex idea that a certain number of simpleideas simply be bundled together.Now while Losonsky’s reading seems to capture Locke’sactual position on this issue, there is a slight ambiguity.When it is said that in order to form a complex idea, “thecollection of ideas must be connected together in certainways” or “something new is added to the collection,”Losonsky’s point appears to be that the collection of ideas53cannot be equated with a complex idea because they aredevoid of any connexion. This, however, should not beunderstood as suggesting that what distinguishes a complexidea from a collection of ideas, on Locke’s theory, is theexistence of connexion or relation in the former. For ifthis is the case, it might, for instance, be argued thatsimple ideas found in combination are a complex idea, sincethey have some foundation in nature and are thereforerelated in some way whether or not the mind “gives” themconnexion.What, then, does Locke mean by saying that in themaking of complex ideas, the mind gives connexion to acertain number of simple ideas and makes them into one idea?It is true that Locke, as Losonsky points out, does notspell out in what manner the collection of simple ideas isconnected together. Yet he at least explains that thecollection of ideas is united by the mind’s power toconsider them as one single idea.As simple Ideas are observed to exist in severalCombinations united together; so the Mind has a power toconsider several of them united together, as one Idea andthat not only as they are united in external Objects, but asit self has join’d them. Ideas thus made up of severalsimple ones put together, I call Coiziplex. . . [2.12.1].A collection of ideas found to coexist is not to be equatedwith a complex idea not because those ideas are notconnected in any way, but rather because they have not been54considered to be one single idea. In other words, thedifference between a complex idea and a mere aggregate ofsimple ideas requires the recognition of a unity. This pointhas already been noticed by James Gibson.while . . . experience may supply us directly with theplurality of contents contained in a complex idea, and thusfurnish a clue to its formation, it is important to noticethat the mere presentation together of a number of elementsis not sufficient to constitute them a single complex idea.For the complex idea involves the recognition of a unitywhich does not belong to the plurality of simple ideas assuch. In order that these may constitute a single complexidea, it is necessary that the mind should exercise its‘power1 consider several of them united together as oneidea.’It would follow that Locke’s frequent remarks about acollection of simple ideas being found to coexist do notjustify the claim that for Locke complex ideas are sometimesgiven to the mind in experience, since such a collectiion isnot one complex idea, but merely an aggregate of distinctideas. In order to make a complex idea, the mind not onlycollects a certain number of ideas, but also combines theminto one single complex idea by executing its power toconsider them as one idea. Locke thus writes that in themind’s operation of composition, it “puts together severalsimple ones it has received from Sensation and Reflection,andcombines them into complex ones.”13553.3 THE PROPOSITIONAL NATURE OF THE FORMATION OF COMPLEXIDEAS OF SUBSTANCESAs we have seen, it appears to be Locke’s position thatfor the making of complex ideas, it is necessary that themind consider several simple ideas as one idea. And suchrecognition of a unity is the requirement for the formationof complex ideas in genera].However, it is also to be noticed that there is adifference between the ideas of substances and other typesof complex ideas as regards the manner of this mentaloperation of “consideration.” In the above quoted passage,Locke says that the mind has a power to consider a group ofsimple ideas “not only as they are united in externalObjects, but as it self has join’d them” [2.12.1]. I takehis position to be that while the considering of a group ofsimple ideas as united in some object constitutes theformation of the ideas of substances, the consideration ofthem as one idea constitutes the making of other types ofcomplex ideas including those of mixed modes. Concerning thecomplex ideas of substances, Locke writes that they are“nothing else but a Collection of a certain number of simpleIdeas, considered as united in one thing.”4 On the otherhand, he writes of an idea of a mixed mode that “it has itsUnity from an Act of the Mind combining those several simpleIdeas together, and considering them as one coEp]ex one,consisting of those parts.”1556The question, then, is what makes the formation ofideas of substances different from that of other complexideas. I think the difference is that the formation of theformer is propositional whereas that of the latter is not.According to Locke, in the making of ideas of substances,the mind considers a collection of simple ideas as united inone thing. But what he really means by this is that in theformation of these ideas, the mind considers a group ofqualities represented by those simple ideas to be united inone thing as he explains earlier in the Essay,• . . which Ideas, if I speak of sometimes, as in the thingsthemselves, I would be understood to mean those Qualities inthe Objects which produce them in us [2.8.81.Furthermore, although Locke uses the phrase “toconsider” for this mental operation, he seems to understandit to involve judgment. At the outset of the chapter on ourcomplex ideas of substances, Locke says that the mind,observing “a certain number of simple Ideas go constantlytogether,” presumes them to belong to one thing [2.23.11.Presuming, for him, is judgmental as he says that “judgmentis the presuming things to be so without perceiving it.”16This is not to be dismissed as a casual remark. For inone of the earliest drafts of the Essay, Locke explicitlyadmits that the formation of complex ideas of substances ispropositional:57the first affirmations of our minde is in collectingmany simple Ideas for the making one Idea of some sens11lematerial or as we call it substantiall objects . .Here Locke makes it quite clear that the mental operation of“affirming” is exercized in the formation of the ideas of“substantiall objects.” What is not so clear, though, isexactly what the mind affirms in the making of these ideas.Concerning this, Locke explains that such affirmations are“about materiall objects,” and that this is tantamount tosupposing that “where there are some of these simple Ideas[i.e. the qualities represented by them] there there areothers.”18 In another draft of the Essay, this is said to be“an affirmation of their union or coexistence one with an•,19other.There seems to be, then, good reason to believe thatLocke thinks that the mind, in framing complex ideas ofsubstances, supposes the coexistence of a collection ofqualities in one thing and that he considers this process tobe propositional in nature. I have suggested that givenLocke’s understanding of “referring,” to say that an idea ismade in reference to real existence amounts to saying thatit is made with the supposition of the coexistence of agroup of qualities in nature. And since Locke’s position isthat only complex ideas of substances are made in referenceto real existence, his actual position must be sought in hisaccount of the formation of ideas of substances. Now through58the consideration of Locke’s account, we seem to be able toconclude that he does hold the view that in the formation ofcomplex ideas of substances, the mind makes a suppositionthat there is a thing in nature to which a certain set ofqualities belong. And it follows that when he says the ideasof substances are all made in reference to things existingwithout us, his point is that in the formation of theseideas, the mind makes a supposition of the coexistence of agroup of qualities in nature.Before explaining the relation between such a featureof ideas of substances and the non—arbitrariness of them,however, there remain a few questions to be answered. Thefirst question is concerned with the significance of Locke’sremarks in the drafts. As we have seen, at the time of thedrafts, Locke was quite explicit about the propositionalcharacter of the formation of ideas of substances. Bycontrast, in the Essay, he no longer makes such an explicitstatement although he does still seem to be of this opinion.At one point, he even claims that both the mind’sconsidering a collection of qualities as united in one thingin the formation of ideas of substances and its unitingseveral simple ideas into one idea in the making ofcollective ideas of substances are done by “the samefaculty.”These collective Ic-Jeasof Substances, the Mind makes by itspower of Composition, and uniting severally either simple orcomplex Ideas into one, as it does, by the same Faculty makethe complex Ideas of particular Substances, consisting of an59aggregate of divers simple Ideas, united in one Substance[2.24.2].Now despite all this textual evidence, could we stillconclude that it is Locke’s invariable opinion that theformation of ideas of substances is propositional in nature?Secondly, if Locke does in fact think that theformation of these ideas is propositional, one might wonderwhether he thinks that to make such a proposition orsupposition isto make a complex idea of a substance. For ifsuch were the case, it would follow that this idea itself,not just the formation of it, is propositional. This,however, does not seem to be compatible with Locke’s theoryof “idea” according to which ideas in themselves do notinvolve truth and falsity. For instance, he says that “ourIdeas, being nothing but bare Appearances or Perceptions inour Minds, cannot properly and simply in themselves be saidto be true or fa]se’ [2.32.1]. So for Locke to beconsistent, it is necessary that ideas of substances bedistinct from the supposition or proposition the mind makesin the formation of these ideas. But why, then, does Lockeclaim in the Essay that the mind makes ideas of substancesby considering a group of simple ideas as “they are unitedin external Objects” [2.12.1]? Of course, if Locke did nottake this mental operation of “considering” to bepropositional, there would be no need to account for this.Yet since it is my contention that Locke does considers thisoperation as propositional, this question must be answered.• 60FOOTNOTESCHAPTER THREE1 Essay 2.32.4; emphasis added.2 John W. Yolton, Locke and the Co.uipass of HumanUnderstanding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970),p.107.3 Jonathan Bennett, Locke, Berkeley, Hw#e Central2’hemnes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), p.69.4 In other places, especially in Book IV chapter 11,Locke does seem to have something like theveil—of—perception problem in mind.5 Locke sometimes talks of a certain type of ideas ofsimple modes as the “modification” or the “variation” of thesame simple idea, not as the “combination” of it.6 R.I. Aaron, John Locke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 3rded., 1971), p.112.7 J.D. Mabbott, John Locke (London: Macmillan, 1973),p.20.8 Peter Alexander, Ideas, Qualities and CorpusclesLocke and Boyle on the External i3’orld (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1985), p.109.9 Alexander, op. cit., p.112.10 R.S. Woolhouse, The Empiricists (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 1988), p.80.11 Michael Losonsky, “Locke on the Making of ComplexIdeas,” in Locke Newsletter, 20 (1989), p.40.12 James Gibson, Locke’s Theory of Knowledge and itsHistorical Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1917), p.62.13 Essay2.11.6; emphasis added.14 Essay 2.23.14; emphasis added.15 Essay 2.22.4; emphasis added.6116 Essay4.14.4; the title of the section.17 Draft A, p.6.18 Draft A, p.4.19 Draft B, p.167.62CHAPTER FOURLOCKE ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN IDEAS AND PROPOSITIONS4.1 LOCKE’S CONCEPTION OF PROPOSITIONSLocke’s frequent remarks about “simple apprehension” inearly drafts of the Essay seem to reveal that the doctrinewhich was uppermost in his mind at the time was thecompositionalism of existing logic and epistemology. Atypical logic book at the time of Locke, as M.A. Stewartreports,1 starts from the study of terms, progresses to thecombination of terms in propositions, and ends by studyingthe combination of propositions in arguments. And this isassociated with a progression through three acts of mind.The act of mind which corresponds to a term is a simpleapprehension. Judgment or mental affirmation corresponds inthinking to the ordering or combination of terms inpropositions. Propositions can in turn be combined inarguments and the aspect of thinking which corresponds tothis is ratiocination or reasoning.According to the compositionalism of the traditionallogic, then, propositions are distinguished from simpleapprehensions in two different ways. First, being consideredpurely from the formal viewpoint, they are different fromsimple terms in their compositional nature. Secondly,propositions differ from simple apprehensions because tomake propositions is to make judgments if they areconsidered with respect to thoughts.63Such a compositionalism was prevalent among newthinkers of the period. For instance, Gassendi divides hisInstitution of Logic into four parts; simple apprehension;the proposition; the syllogism; method. Of the distinctionbetween the first two, he explains that in the proposition,we do not simply imagine some thing and look upon itunclothed, as it were, but from some judgment concerning itby making either an affirmation or a denial. This takesplace when the mind, applying itself to the various ideas ithas, by a process of affirmation joins together those whichagree with one another, and by negating separates thosewhich do not agree. In2this fashion it creates a compositeidea from simple ones.Despite the difference in the notion of “simpleapprehensions” or “ideas,”3 the distinction between simpleapprehensions and propositions in the same manner is alsofound in the Port—Royal Logic. Of the progression from ideasto propositions, Arnau].d writes thatOnce we have formed ideas of things, we compare the ideas.We unite those which belong together by affirming one ideaof another; we separate those which do not belong togetherby denying one idea of another. .The result of this activity of the mind is aproposition expressed by a sentence in which the verb ‘is’either alone or with a negative particle connects te termsthat express the ideas that are affirmed or denied.Here propositions are also conceived to be the result ofcompounding mental atoms and to be making a judgment wihtrespect to thoughts.Just as the traditional theory and his contemporariesconsider propositions in two associated ways (i.e. with64respect to signs and with respect to thoughts), Locke’sconception also captures two different aspects ofpropositions. On the one hand, a proposition is definedsimply as the “joining” or “separating” of signs. And sincefor Locke there are two types of signs (i.e. ideas andwords), the mind is said to be capable of making two sortsof propositions; mental and verbal. In the former, “theIdeas in our Understanding are without the use of Words puttogether, or separatedby the Mind” [4.5.5]. The latter are“Words the signs of our Ideas put together or separated inaffirj,,ative or negative 5entence.’ [4.5.5]. However, aproposition, for Locke, is not merely the joining orseparation of signs. In a proposition, the mind makes ajudgment, affirmation or negation. This is why he says,“Truth properly belongs only to Propositions” [4.5.2].According to Locke, truth or falsehood lies “always in someAffirmation or Negation” [2.32.3].It should be recognized here that on Locke’s theory,to form a proposition is to make an affirmation or negation.To put it differently, for him, to make an affirmation ornegation is not something besides the proposition. Locke,unlike Descartes, does not distinguish a propositionalattitude from a propositional content.5 This is why Locke,in his discussion of judgment, identifies, albeitmistakenly, assent or dissent to a certain proposition with65judgment (i.e. affirmation or negation) about things.According to him, one and the same faculty of the mind iscalled “judgment” or “assent/dissent” depending on whetherit is exercised immediately about things or aboutpropositions [4.14.31. In addition to this, Locke alsowrites that to assent to the proposition, “The three anglesof a triangle are equal to two right ones” is to take thosethree angles to agree, in equality, to two right ones[4.15.1].But then, since a proposition, as we have seen,consists in joining or separating signs, it follows that,for Locke, the joining or separating of signs isto make anaffirmation or a negation. As a matter of fact, he definesjudgment as “the putting Ideas together, or separating themfrom one another in the Mind, when their certain Agreementor Disagreement is not perceived, but presuinedto be so”[4.14.4]. Locke appears to be making the same point in thefollowing passage:the Mind, either by perceiving or supposing theAgreement or Disagreement of any of its Ideas, does tacitlywithin it self put them into a kind of Propositionaffirmative or negative, which I endeavour to express by theterms Putting together and Separating. But this Action ofthe Mind, is easier to be conceived by reflecting on whatpasses in us, when we affirm or deny, than to be explainedby Words [4.5.6].It is “when we affirm or deny” that we join or separate ourideas.66Furthermore, since to combine signs in the manner ofjoining or separation is to make a judgment, the distinctionbetween the components of such a complex (i.e. words orideas) and the complex as a whole (i.e. proposition) is verycrucial in Locke’s theory just as in the traditional one. Heoften emphasizes that it is only the latter that involvestruth and falsity.• . . Truth, or Falsehood, being never without someAffirmation, or Negation, Express, or Tacit, it is not to befound, but where signs are joined or separated •[2.32.19]By contrast, our ideas, no matter what sort they are, cannotproperly be said to be true or false in themselves “till theMind passes some Judgment on them; that is, affirms ordenies something of them” [2.32.31. In other words, onLocke’s account, propositions are distinguished from ideasin genera] in terms of the former’s involving truth orfalsity.674.2 COMPLEX IDEAS AND PROPOSITIONSNow despite such a distinction between propositions andideas in general, in the drafts of the Essay, we find quiteunlikely statements from Locke. In some places, he describescomplex ideas of substances themselves as an “affirmation.”In Draft A, it is said that any name of a substance is “ineffect an affirmation.”6 In addition, in Draft B, Lockewrites,• . . complex Idea of a Swan is a kinde of affirmation thatwhere such a kinde of shape colour bigness with such a necke& legs doth exist there also whole feet are joVnd with themor such a kinde of voice as that of a swan is.If a complex idea of a substance is an affirmation, it wouldfollow that such an idea in itself involves truth andfalsity. This, however, would amount to abandoning thedistinction between propositions and ideas. How should weunderstand these apparently conflicting remarks?A most plausible interpretation of this might seem tobe that at the time of those drafts, Locke was not quiteclear on the distinction between proposions and complexideas and thus mistakenly took complex ideas of substancesto be propositional. As a matter of fact, Locke sayssomething which confirms such a reading. At one point inDraft A, he writes that our ideas, except for “thoseoriginall ones of the sense or operations of our minde,” are“all the rest compounded & so are a kinde of affirmation.”868His point appears to be that all the ideas we have exceptfor simple ones are propositional because they arecompounded. If he did in fact hold such a view, it would beno wonder that he considers complex ideas of substances tobe “a kinde of affirmation” since they are compounded.M.A. Stewart, in his “Locke’s Mental Atomism and theClassification of Ideas,” argues that Locke’s problem comesfrom his “taking over an older compositional model withoutappreciating that his adaptation of its terminology to theway of ideas had pre—empted its traditional application.”9As we have seen, on Locke’s theory, a proposition isdefined, just as on the traditional account, as “the joiningor separating of signs.” However, this is not the onlycontext in which Locke uses these idioms. According to him,the “joining” or “putting together” of ideas alsoconstitutes the formation of complex ideas (while the“separating” of ideas also constitutes the framing ofabstract ideas). Needless to say, Locke’s using the sameidioms in different contexts does not, in itself, imply thathe would consider complex ideas as propositional simplybecause they are compounded. Yet, Stewart seems to argue,having seen no incompatibility between his owncompositionalism of simple/complex ideas and the traditionalmodel, Locke ended up describing complex ideas in general aspropositional for the reason that they are compounded. If69the product of compounding is to be distinct in the twocases, Stewart further points out, Locke should haveexplained the difference in the manner of compounding inthem. But we find no sufficient account in the chapter onParticles where such an account is expected sinceparticles are for Locke an indication of all the ways ofconnecting and disconnecting ideas which do not result incomplex or abstract ideas, and they can be useddistinguish a variety of “postures of the mind.”Through the reading of some passages in the drafts ofthe Essay, I have suggested in the above that Locke’sposition is that the mind, in framing the complex ideas ofsubstances, supposes the coexistence of a group of qualitiesin some existing thing. However, if Locke, as Stewartargues, was incapable of grasping the difference between thecompositionalism of the way of ideas and the logic—booktradition and thus came to consider complex ideas in generalas propositional, it might also be argued that he remarksthat the making of the ideas of substances is an affirmationnot because he believes that the mind makes a supposition inthe formation of these ideas, but simply because these ideasare complex and compounded. Furthermore, in such a case, itwould not be the formation of the ideas of substances, butrather these ideas themselves that are propositional.This line of thought, however, is incorrect. First, itis simply false to say that Locke is unable to see the70difference between his own compositionalism and that of theAristotelians. In order to show Locke’s inability, Stewartcites at least two more passages besides the quoted remarkthat complex ideas are propositional because of theircompoundedness. One of them is concerned with Locke’streatment of the “simple apprehension” of the logic—booksystem. At 2.23.14 of the Essay, Locke writes thatThese Ideas of Substances, though they are commonly calledsimple Apprehensions, and the Names of them simple Terms;yet in effect, are complex and compounded [2.23.14].Concerning this passage, Stewart criticizes Locke by sayingthat “he treats the ‘simple apprehension’ of the logic—booksystem as if it is misclassified because it is not a simplein his own system.”11 However, a careful reading will showthat Locke’s point here is not as simple—minded as Stewartcontends. Although I shall discuss this issue later,12Locke’s claim in the above passage can be explained asfollows. Locke thinks that the Aristotelians are correct incalling the ideas of substances “simple apprehensions” inthe sense that each of these ideas Is one distinct Idea.Yet, the singleness of these Ideas, argues Locke, should notbe understood in such a way that the content of these Ideasis “simple,” I.e. uncompounded and unmixed. On the contrary,our ideas of things consist of a list of observablequalities and powers experienced through encountering71various individuals in the world and thus are complex andcompounded. Locke’s intention in that passage, therefore, isnot to attack the “simple apprehensions” of the logic—booksystem on the ground that they are not simple in his system.Stewart also points out Locke’s tendency to regard thetwo different system of compositionalism as “part of asingle continuum.”13 It is true that Locke from time to timetalks of the two systems as part of a single continuum.However, this by no means need be taken to suggest thatLocke identifies the two systems. Even in the passage quotedby Stewart, Locke is quite clear on the relationship betweenthe two systems.when I say the minde is furnished with these simple Ideas, &hath out of these joynd together made also compound Ideas asof star man horse eg king brother virtue temperance theft &c. The next thing it doth is to joyne two of these Ideasconsiderd as destinct together or separate them one from another by way of affirmation or negation, which when it comesto be expressed in worfl is cald proposition & in this liesall truth & falsehood.It should be recognized that to make a distinction betweenthe two systems of compositionalism amounts to making adistinction between ideas and propositions. In the abovepassage, despite his using the phrase “joyne together” forboth the formation of complex ideas and that of affirmativepropositions, Locke does not confuse the two. It is obviousthat what is framed by the joining of ideas is considered tobe distinct in the two cases as only one of them is said to72involve truth and falsehood. In the above, I have shown thatLocke understands the distinction between ideas andpropositions through a consideration of his account in theEssay. However, his appreciation of the point isunmistakably clear already in Draft B.all the complex Ideas we have though they be made bythe uniteing of a great many simple Ideas togeather, whichwhen referred to the reality of things & supposd to beunited togeather & coexist in such kinde of objects fromwhence they were taken are a kinde of affirmation. yet whenthese complex Ideas are considerd in them selves as anaggregate of soe many simple Ideas they are then but simpleapprehensions & being each of them soe considerd but as oneentire compound Idea . . . are not capable of truth orfalsehood which properly belongs to propositions1’gh chsimple apprehensions or simple termes cannot be.This passage clearly shows that Locke, already in Draft B,had a clear understanding of the difference between complexideas and propositions, and hence of the relationshipbetween his brand of compositionalism and the traditionalone.Stewart thinks that Locke’s remark about complex ideasin general being propositional because of theircompoundedness indicates his inability to grasp the relationbetween the two systems. However, given Locke’s clearunderstanding of the distinction between ideas andpropositions, it seems hardly plausible that Locke considerscomplex ideas in general as propositional for the reasonthat they are compounded.73What all this suggests, I believe, is rather thatLocke’s remark about complex ideas being propositionalbecause of their compoundedness was made not as a generalstatement about the relation between complex ideas andpropositions, but as a statement about the relation betweensome specific type of complex ideas and some specific typeof propositions or affirmations. Now the passage inquestion, when fully quoted, reads as follows.Hitherto I have spoken only of Ideas & how the understandingcomes by them, & of the names given them, whereof thoughnone be purely simple but those originall ones of the senseor operations of our minde, but are all the rest compounded& soe are a kinde of affirmation, though the wholecompounded Idea being knowne under one name & takenaltogether considered as one thing as man horse water lead &c. they may be treated of as simple apprehensions whereofthough some may be deficient yet none of them can be saidproperly to be false, since these representations if theyhave noething in them but what is agreeable to the thing aretrue but if they have any thing in them disagreeing to theobjects or things existing they cannot be said to be falserepresentations or Ideas of an object which they doe notrepresent. But the error of the judgment is when the mindehaveing framd an Idea concludes it agreeable to & tLg Ideaof, some thing commonly cald by such a name . .There are at least two points to be noted here. First,although Locke writes that the ideas which are not “purelysimple . . . are a]] the rest compounded & soe are a kindeof affirmation,” his examples are limited only to those ofsubstances such as man, horse, water and lead. This may notbe simply by accident. For in an earlier section, Lockeremarks that a “name” of a substance is “in effect an74affirmation,”7whereas concerning the ideas of relationsand those of rizodes, he does not say anything like this eventhough they are both “made up of a collection of those manysimple Ideas.”18 Moreover, we might notice his mention of“simple apprehensions” of the traditional logic. As far asthe Essay and the rest of the drafts are concerned, hisdiscussion of simple apprehension is exclusively withreference to ideas of substances. I suspect, then, that allthese facts seem to indicate that what is contrasted with“original ones of the sense or operations of our minde” inthe above passage are not complex ideas as such but ratherthose of substances. Such a speculation does not seem sooutrageous, considering not only that this is, after all, aremark made in a draft, but also that his full discussion ofthe other types of complex ideas comes much later.Secondly, it is to be recognized that even in thispassage, Locke makes it quite clear that the “compounded”ideas, being considered as “one thing,” may be treated assimple apprehensions which cannot be said, in themselves, tobe true or false insofar as they are not referred to anyobject. Once again this shows Lock&s clear understanding ofthe distinction between propositions and ideas.This observation, however, does not make it any easierto understand what Locke means in the passage. For his pointnow appears to be that complex ideas of substances, not75complex ideas as such, are a kind of affirmation due totheir compoundedness, whereas they are simple apprehensionsand thus free from truth and falsity when considered as onesingle idea. Does Locke mean, then, that complex ideas ofsubstances are sometimes propositional and sometimes not?Assuming that he makes a clear distinction betweenpropositions and ideas, how can we understand such a claimas consistent with this distinction?764.3 THE UNITY OF IDEAS OF SUBSTANCESWhile it is not clear why Locke calls complex ideas ofsubstances “a kinde of affirmation,” it is clear what sortof affirmation he thinks it is. Immediately after his remarkin Draft B about the complex idea of a swan being a kinde ofaffirmation, Locke explains that it is an affirmation of theunion or coexistence of a group of qualities one withanother in one and the same subject.19 In Draft A, Lockeexplained that the mind makes such an affirmation when itframes complex ideas of substances. There Locke writes,• the first affirmation or negation of our mindes areabout these materiall objects in the frameing of our Ideasof them which is noe more but this that where2her are someof these simple Ideas there there are others.One might think, then, that when in Draft B andelsewhere Locke talks of complex ideas of substances as “akinde of affirmation,” he really means that the formation ofthese ideas, not these ideas themselves, is a kind ofaffirmation. The question, however, is whether we candismiss this simply as a slip of the pen. For in the Essay,Locke explains that the mind makes these ideas byconsidering several simple ideas “as they are united inexternal Objects” [2.12.1]. As I have pointed out in 3.3, ifthis operation of “considering” is to make a proposition,the product of such an operation, i.e. an idea of asubstance, would also be propositional.77It is to be recognized here that we cannot account forthis simply by resorting to Locke’s failure to distinguishbetween complex ideas and propositions. For, first, as wehave seen, Locke does make a clear distinction between thetwo in terms of the involvement with truth and falsity, andthus it is hardly probable that he identifies the two simplybecause of the compoundedness of substance ideas. Secondly,provided that Locke did fail in the distinction, this mightexplain why he calls ideas of substances propositional.However, it would not seem to explain why Locke identifiessubstance ideas particularly with this type of affirmation,i.e. the affirmation of the union of qualities in nature.But how, then, should we understand Locke’s apparentidentification of the two? Isn’t it a sheer contradictionto say that Locke, while distinguishing ideas frompiLipositions, does not see the difference between the two?Now, before considering this issue, I would like firstto make one thing clear. That is, although at times Lockedoes appear to say that to suppose the coexistence of a setof qualities in some subject is to make a complex idea of asubstance, yet a careful look at the text makes us see thatthis is not his official position. For instance, considerthe following remark he makes at the outset of the chapteron our complex ideas of substances:78THE Mind being . . . furnished with a great number of simpleIdeas . . . takes notice also, that a certain number ofthese simple Ideas go constantly together; which beingpresumed to belong to one thing . . . are called so unitedin one subject, by one name; which by inadvertency we areapt afterward to talk of and consider as one simple Idea,which indeed is a complication of many Ideas together[2.23.1].The first half of this passage clearly shows Locke’s viewthat while presuming a collection of qualities to belong toone thing gives a reason for the mind to consider thecollection of ideas as one complex idea, it cannot in itselfbe equated with making the collection into one idea. Hisposition, then, is that to form ideas of substances, themind must do the following things: first, it supposes thecoexistence of a group of qualities in one subject byputting a set of ideas together; secondly, it makes the setof ideas into one complex idea by considering these ideasthemselves as one distinct thing.Now, the phrase “by inadvertency” in the second half ofthe passage might make one think that Locke takes it to be amistake that the mind considers a collection of ideas as oneidea. Such a reading, however, is misguided. We mustrecognize that what Locke is saying in the above passage isthat once a collection of ideas is considered to be onecomplex idea, we tend to mistake the singleness of the ideafor the simplicity or uncompoundedness of it. The mistake,then, lies not in our considering a collection of ideas asone idea, but in our seeing a complex idea of a substance asa sünp]e idea.79Therefore, it is also incorrect to say that in 2.23.1and elsewhere (especially in 2.23.14), Locke is attackingthe “simple apprehensions” of the traditional logic on theground that simple apprehensions are complex on his owntheory. As I have pointed out earlier, already in the draftshe is quite clear on the difference between his owncompositionalism and that of the traditional logic, and thuswrites that complex ideas of substances, being single ideas,are said to be simple apprehensions.21 I think that Locke’sallusion in 2.23.1, as M.R. Ayers suggests, is to thedoctrine that a natural kind or species has a unitary natureor essence.A classic text is Aristotle’s Metaphysics , where thesubstance—term ‘man’ is distinguished from compound termssuch as ‘athlete, ‘ Aristotle’s own example being the word‘himation’ stipulatively defined as ‘white man,’ a complexof substrate and accident. Locke’s claim is that thedefinition of all our substance—terms can be similarlybroken down, the subrate being the unknown ‘thing’ whichbears the accidents.In refuting such a doctrine, therefore, Locke is notattacking the simple apprehension of the traditional logic.He agrees that however compounded it is, any idea of asubstance is one single idea. In his Correspondence withSti]]ingf]eet, Locke writes of 2.23.1 that• . . in this paragraph I only give an account of the ideaof distinct substances, such as oak, elephant, iron, &c.how, though they are made up of distinct complications ofmodes, yet they are looked on as one idea, ca3ed by onename, as making distinct sorts of substances.804.4 A COMPLEX OF IDEAS AS A COMPLEX IDEA OR AS A PROPOSITIONLocke’s describing complex ideas of substancesthemselves “a kind of affirmation,” as we have seen, seemsto imply his identifying these ideas with the affirmationthe mind makes in the formation of these ideas. Concerningthis affirmation, I have explained earlier that it is theaffirmation of the coexistence of certain qualities in somereal existence. Locke, for instance, writes:the first affirmation or negation of our mindes areabout these materiall objects in the frameing of our Ideasof them which is noe more but this that where there are someof these simple Ideas there there are others v.g. gold isductil i.e. that in that subject wherein I finde a shineingyellownesse with great weight, flexibility & consistence inthe cold & fludity in the fire & a certaine sort of sound &cthere also I am sure to finde a fitnesse or power i.e. I canby f it instrument4bring it into an almost incomprehensiblethinnesse .As I have pointed out, in the Essay, Locke does not offersuch an account in his discussion of our complex ideas ofsubstances in Book II. However, it is to be noticed that hedoes deal with this type of affirmation in Book IV, and wefind an almost identical remark there.At the outset of Book IV, Locke defines knowledge as“ the perception of the connexion and agreeinen t, ordisagreement and repugnancy of any of our Ideas’ [4. 1. 2],and goes on to say that this agreement or disagreement maybe reduced to four types: 1. ideantity or diversity; 2.relation; 3. co—existence or necessary connexion; 4. real81existence. The case significant to our discussion is thethird type of agreement/disagreement, co—existence. In4.1.5, Locke writes of co—existence,The third sort of Agreement, or Disagreement to be found inour Ideas, which the Perception of the Mind is employ’dabout, is Co—existence, or Non—co—existence in the sameSubject; and this belongs particularly to Substances. Thuswhen we pronounce concerning Gob’, that it is fixed, ourKnowledge of this Truth amounts to no more but this,. thatfixedness, or a power to remain in the Fire unconsumed, isan Idea, that always accompanies, and is join’d with thatparticular sort of Yellowness, Weight, Fusibility,Malleableness, and Solubility in Aqua Regia, which make ourcomplex Idea, signified by the word Gold [4.1.6].There are several things to be noted here. First, althoughin the list given in 4.1.3, Locke simply speaks of“co—existence,” he really means co—existence in the samesubject, and thinks that this type of agreement is concernedparticularly with our knowledge of substances. Secondly,since what is at issue here is the coexistence insubstances, it seems to be the case that Locke actuallymeans the coexistence of qualities in the same subject,rather than that of ideas. Finally, given his definition ofknowledge, it would follow that we are able to acquire theknowledge concerning the coexistence of qualities in thesame subject by perceiving the agreement of these qualities.Now, according to Locke’s theory of propositions, themind supposes or judges the agreement or disagreement amongobjects by joining or separating the signs representingthem. Thus, he defines judgment as “the putting Ideas82together, or separating them from one another in the Mind,when their certain Agreement or Disagreement is notperceived, but presu.niedto be so” [4.14.4]. For instance,Locke says that when a man supposes a certain kind ofdivisibility agree or disagree to a certain line:he . . . joins or separates those two Ideas, viz, the Ideaof that line, and the Idea of that kind of Divisibility, andso makes a mental Proposition, which is true or false,according as such a kind of Divisibility . . . does reallyagree to that Line, or no [4.5.6].So if Locke’s position is that the mind obtains theknowledge concerning the coexistence of certain qualities inthe same subject by perceiving the agreement of thesequalities, it would seem to be also his position that themind supposes the coexistence by joining the ideas whichstand for the qualities, since to join these ideas is tosuppose the agreement of what they represent.The question, however, is whether it is actuallyLocke’s opinion that this is the kind of affirmation themind makes in the formation of ideas of substances. For, asI have argued earlier, these ideas are made in reference to“things existing without us,” and thus the supposition whichthe mind makes in the formation of them is that of the unionof certain qualities in an existing thing. On the otherhand, what he discusses in Book four is simply thecoexistence in the same subject, not necessarily in anexisting one.83To consider this issue further, there is a crucialpassage in 4.9.1. In commencing the discussion of ourknowledge of existence, Locke makes the followingobservation:• . . universal Propositions, of whose Truth or Falsehood wecan have certain Knowledge, concern not Existence andfurt her . . . all particular Affirina tions or Negations, thatwould not be certain if they were made general, are onlyconcerning Existence they declaring only the accidentalUnion or Separation of Ideas in Things existing, which inabstract Natures, have no known necessary Union orRepugnancy [4.9.1].According to him, a proposition is capable of generalcertainty if we are capable of discovering the agreement ordisagreement affirmed in the proposition without referringto the real world. In his own words, “genera] Certainty isnever to be found but in our Ideas’ [4.6.16]. In the case ofthe propositions about substances, this happens either whenthey are “trifling,” i.e. when the signification of thepredicate—term is included in that of the subject—term, orwhen there is a “visible necessary connexion” among the25 .ideas joined in the propositions. It is in this sense thatLocke says we can be sure of the truth of such a propositionbecause it does not concern existence.But, of course, this is not the only type ofproposition we make about substances. We might observe thecoexistence of certain qualities in a particular substancein experience and make a propositon about it by joining84ideas. In this case, however, we cannot be sure of the truthof this proposition if it is understood in a general way.For, in this case, neither does each idea contain the othersnor is there a visible connexion among them.The point directly relevant to our discussion here isthat Locke thinks that in the latter case the propositionsdeclare the accidental union of qualities in thingsexisting, not just in the same subject. It seems to beLocke’s position, then, that in the formation of substanceideas, the mind supposes the coexistence of qualities in anexisting subject by putting the ideas representing themtogether. This interpretation is given textual support byhis own account of such a supposition in a draft of theEssay. In Draft B, Locke explains that the affirmation themind makes in framing ideas of substances by collectingsimple ideas is “an affirmation of their union orcoexistence one with an other,” and goes on to say that thisisalmost all the affirmation of any proposition unlesse wheremore generall words are affirmed of th9g that are lessegeneral which is a verball predication.Although here he uses the term “verball predication,”instead of “trifling proposition,” his point is clear: inthe affirmation made in the formation of substance ideas,each idea is not included in other ones, and thus such anaffirmation is “instructive” or not merely verbal. It seems85to be the case, then, that Locke does identify the kind ofaffirmation made in the formation of substance ideas withwhat he called “particular affirmations” in 4.9.1. Inaddition, Locke says in the chapter on true and false ideasin Book II that an idea may be termed false if the mind hasa complex idea of a non—existent thing and:it judges it to agree to a Species of Creatures reallyexisting; as when it joins the weit of Tin, to the colour,fusibility, and fixedness of Gold.Now what does all this imply about his view on suchaffirmations? It seems to indicate that the affirmationswhich the mind makes in the formation of ideas of substancesis actually expressed by exactly the same combined complexof ideas as what is usually referred to as complex ideas ofsubstances, insofar as he does not differentiate thepropositional compounding of ideas from thenon—propositional compounding of complex ideas. And this, Isuspect, is what Locke means when he writes in Draft A andelsewhexe that complex ideas of substances are “a kinde ofaffirmation.” His point in these remarks is that a combinedcomplex of ideas which he calls “complex ideas ofsubstances,” when construed as being combined in thepropositional manner, is a proposition expressing theaffirmation of the union of certain qualities in someexisting subject. On the other hand, when the complex is86construed as being combined in the non—propositional manner,i.e. combined by the mind’s power to consider a collectionof ideas as one distinct thing, it is a complex idea of asubstance and is incapable of truth or falsity. I believethis is the reason why Locke in the very same paragraph inDraft A describes complex ideas as a kind of affirmation andgoes on to say in the same breath, “they may be treated ofas simple apprehensions.”28However, in another draft, wefind a much more refined version of the same account:• . . all the complex Ideas we have . . . which whenreferred to the reality of things & supposd to be unitedtogeather & coexist in such kinde of objects from whencethey were taken are a kinde of affirmation. yet when thesecomplex Ideas are considerd in them selves as an aggregateof soe many simple Ideas they are then but simpleapprehensions & being each of them soe considerd but as oneentire compound Ia . . . are not capable of truth orfalsehood . .It is true that had he made a clear distinction betweenthe propositional compounding of ideas and thenon—propositional compounding of them, he would never haveclaimed that complex ideas of substances are propositional,since in such a case, a proposition or a complex of ideasexpressing an affirmation about the union of a set ofqualities in nature would be distinct from the complex ideaconsisting of these ideas. It is to be recognized, however,that his describing ideas of substances as a kind ofaffirmation need not be taken to indicate a failure to87distinguish between ideas and propositions. What he means bythis is that a collection of ideas constituting a complexidea of a substance is an affirmation about the coexistenceof certain qualities in real existence if they areconsidered as being compounded in the propositional manner.In fact, I suspect that what explains Locke’shesitation of explicitly admitting the propositional natureof the formation of substance ideas is his keen awareness ofthe distinction between ideas in general and propositions.While boasting his own brand of the compositionalism ofsimple and complex ideas, the Essay is constructed in such away that it, in its basic structure, conforms to thecompositionalism of the traditional logic books. Theprogression from the consideration of ideas and words inBooks II and III to the study of propositions and knowledgein Book IV in the Essay does correspond to the progessionfrom simple apprehensions to propositions in the traditionallogic, although Locke’s contempt for syllogism keeps himfrom including a separate treatment of arguments. Given theprogressive character of the Essay, it seems likely thatLocke did not want to dwell on the propositional nature ofthe formation of ideas of substances prior to his officialdiscussion of propositions in Book IV.In any case, it is his position that in the formationof ideas of substances, the mind supposes the coexistence of88certain qualities in nature and that in this the ideas ofsubstances differ from those of mixed modes. According toLocke, ideas of substances are all made in reference toactual things, and he takes the mind’s referring ideas tothem to be propositional.• 89FOOTNOTESCHAPTER FOUR1 M.A. Stewart, “Locke’s Mental Atomism and theClassification of Ideas: I,” in Locke Newsletter 10 (1979),p.53—72.2 Pierre Gassendi, Pierre 6assencli’s lastitutlo Logica(1658), ed. and trans. Howard Jones (The Netherlands: VanGorcum, 1981), p.102. As regards Gassendi’s influence onLocke, see Richard W.F. Kroll, “The Question of Locke’sRelation to Gassendi,” Journal of the History of Ideas,45(1984): p.339—359.3 For Gassendi, an idea is an image of the thingthought while Arnauld defines an idea as “anything in themind when we can say truly that we think of a thing,whatever the manner in which we think of the thing”[Arnauld, p.331.4 Antoine Arnauld, Logic, or the Art of Thinking,trans. James Dickoff and Patricia James (New York:Bobbs—Merrill, 1964), p.108. Concerning the fact that Lockewas quite familiar with the Logic, see Charles W. Hendel’sForeword to the translation.5 See fifeditations, III and IV.6 Draft A, p.8.7 Draft B, p.167.8 Draft A, p.18.9 Stewart, op. cit., p.74.10 Stewart, op. cit., p.76.11 Stewart, op. cit., p.75.12 See 4.3.13 Stewart, op. cit., p.75.14 Draft A, p.20.15 Draft B, p.207.9016 Draft A, p.18.17 Draft A, p.8.18 Draft A, p.12, p.13. I will not get into the issuewhether for Locke the ideas of relations are complex.19 Draft B, p.167.20 Draft A, p.4.21 see Draft A, p.18 and Draft B, p.207.22 M.R. Ayers, “The Ideas of Powers and Substances inLocke’s Philosophy,” revised edition of a 1975 paper, inLocke on human Understanding, ed. I . C. Tipt on (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1977), p.87.23 John Locke, A Letter to the Right Reverend EdwardLord Bishop of Worcester, The Philosophical Works of JohnLocke, vol.4 (London, 1823), p.17.24 Draft A, p.4-5.25 see Essay4.8.9, Draft B, p.167.27 Essay 2.32.22; emphasis added.28 Draft A, p.18.29 Draft B, p.207.91CHAPTER FIVEIDEAS OF MIXED MODES AND IDEAS OF SUBSTANCES5.1 THE FORMATION OF MODE IDEAS AND ARBITRARINESSIn 3.3,, I have argued that for Locke the manner inwhich ideas of substances are made differs from that inwhich other complex ideas are formed in the sense that theformation of the former is propositional while that of thelatter is not. In Locke’s own words, ideas of substances are“made all of them in reference to Things existing withoutus” [2.30.5], whereas those of mixed modes, for instance,are “made very arbitrarily, made without Patterns, orreference to any real Existence” [3.5.3]. It is mycontention, then, that when he talks of ideas of mixed modesbeing arbitrary, he does not mean, as Leibniz believes, thatin the formation of these ideas, any collection of ideas canbe bundled together. Instead, Locke’s meaning, I suggest, isthat the mind makes these ideas without referring them toany object, i.e. without making a supposition that the setof qualities represented by the component ideas of themcorrespond to a set of qualities occurring in nature. Andthus he thinks it possible to distinguish these ideas fromthose of substances in terms of their arbitrariness.As we have seen earlier, Locke in some places seems tomaintain that the arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modesconsists in the fact that in the formation of these ideas,the mind arbitrarily chooses a certain collection of ideas92over other possible collections and make them into onecomplex idea. And we have also seen that if we assume thatfor Locke these possible collections are already understoodto be complex ideas, we might be led to the interpretationthat what he means by the “arbitrariness” of ideas of mixedmodes is actually the arbitrariness of the relation betweentnese ideas and their names. That is, there is no intrinsicrelation between ideas and names. Such an interpretation,however, is mistaken for at least two reasons: first, it isquite unlikely that Locke ever takes the possiblecollections to be complex ideas, since he makes a cleardistinction between complex ideas and mere aggregates ofdistinct simple ideas; secondly and more importantly, suchan interpretation is unable to provide the reason forLocke’s distinguishing ideas of mixed modes from those ofsubstances in terms of the former’s arbitrariness.How, then, should we understand the arbitrariness ofideas of modes? To grasp Locke’s position correctly, Isuggest that we consider his account once again. As we haveseen, Locke, in elaborating what he means by thearbitrariness of mode ideas, poses such questions as this:• . . what greater connexion in Nature, has the Idea of aMan, than the Idea of a Sheep with Killing, that this ismade a particular Species of Action, signified by the wordfifurder, and the other not? [3.5.6].Locke’s point appears to be that given that the idea of93killing is incompatible neither with that of a man nor withthat of a sheep, there is no necessity for the mind, inmaking an idea of a mixed mode, to combine the idea ofkilling with that of a man, rather than with that of asheep. It seems to follow from this, then, that any idea maybe combined with the idea of killing by the mind if thesetwo ideas are mutually consistent. And probably this is whatLocke means by the arbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes.But exactly wherein does this arbitrariness consists?It should be realized at this point that in theformation of ideas of substances, to combine a collection ofideas is to suppose the coexistence of the qualitiesrepresented by them in some existing subject, as Locke saysin Draft A:the first affirmations of our minde is in collectingmany simple Ideas for the makeing one Idea of some sesiblemateral or as we call it substantiall objects . .That is to say, these simple ideas are combined in thepropositional manner. For Locke, the distinction betweenideas and propositions is understood in terms of theinvolvement with truth or falsity, and therefore themulitiplicity of the content of a collection alone does notmake it propositional. Now, according to him, in the makingof complex ideas in general, the mind does the followingthings.94First, It chuses a certain Number. Secondly, It gives themconnexion, and makes them into one Idea [3.5.4].On the other hand, his position on the formation of complexideas of substances, I have suggested in 4.3, is that themind first supposes the coexistence of a set of qualities inone subject by putting a set of ideas together and secondlymakes the set of ideas into one complex idea by exercisingits power of considering these ideas themselves as onedistinct thing.It seems, then, that the “choosing” of a certain numberof ideas in the general account corresponds to the“supposing” of coexistence in the account of substanceideas. Choosing simple ideas, in the formation of substanceideas, is propositional. In doing this, the mind in effectmakes an affirmation about existing objects. Once the mindcollects a set of simple ideas in this way, it makes theminto one complex idea by considering them as one thing. Itfollows that a collection of ideas which comes to constitutea complex idea of a substance is referred to real existencebefore the ideas are combined into one single idea. To putit differently, no set which is not referred to existence ismade into a complex idea of a substance. And it is in thissense that Locke understands the non—arbitrariness ofsubstance ideas. In 3.6.28, after saying that complex ideasof substances “are not . . . .made so arbitrarily, as those95of ,,ixed fifodes,” he goes on to explain that• . . the Mind, in making its complex Icleasof Substances,only follows Nature; and puts none together, which are notsupposed to have an union in Nature [3.6.281.The formation of ideas of substances is not arbitrarybecause it is not the case that the mind makes any arbitrary(consistent) set of ideas into one complex idea. It is to berecognized, however, that what really explains such arestriction in the making of these ideas is not thenecessity for their component ideas to be compatible, butrather the fact that in collecting component ideas, the mindaffirms the coexistence of a set of qualities in nature. Inthis, then, does the non—arbitrariness of ideas ofsubstances ultimately consist.By contrast, to choose simple ideas, in the formationof ideas of mixed modes, is not to refer them to a set ofqualities occurring in nature. In other words, they are“made without . . . reference to any real Existence”[3.5.3]. In making a complex idea of a mixed mode, any ideacan be combined with, say, the idea of killing in the sensethat to choose or collect this idea is not, as in theformation of substance ideas, to affirm the coexistence ofsuch a collection in nature. By the arbitrariness of theseideas, then, Locke means not that any combination of ideasnan be made into a complex idea, but that collecting their96component ideas is not propositional. This point is madequite clear toward the end of 3.5.6.• . . in the framing of these Ideas [of mixed modesJ, theMind searches not its Patterns in Nature, nor refers theIdea it makes to the real existence of Things; but puts suchtogether . • • without trying it self to a precise imitationof any thing that really exists [3.5.6].For Locke, ideas of mixed modes are arbitrary because theformation of these ideas is not propositional while those ofsubstances are not arbitrary because the mind makes asupposition in framing them. And this is why he thinks itpossible to distinguish the former from the latter in termsof their arbitrariness.975.2 BOLTON’S INTERPRETATION OF THE NATURE OF SUBSTANCE IDEASIn the last section, I have suggested that whatexplains the non—arbitrariness of ideas of substances is themanner in which they are made: in framing these ideas, themind supposes the coexistence of a certain set of qualitiesin nature, and thus it is not the case, as in other types ofcomplex ideas, that any arbitrary consistent collection ofideas can be made into a complex idea. The making of such asupposition in the formation of substance ideas, however,does not imply that these ideas themselves arepropositional, and this is consistent with Lock&sdistinction between ideas and propositions in terms of truthand falsity. To put it differently, while it is his positionthat our ideas of substances are all made with reference tothings existing without us, yet he does not consider such areference to existing things to be contained in them, thatis to say, for him it is extrinsic to the ideas themselves.Concerning the nature of ideas of substances, however,there is an interpretation which seems to be in directconflict with mine. In her “Substances, Substrata, and Namesof Substances in Locke’s Essay,”2 Martha Brandt Boltonargues that for Locke, the ideas of substances all have thereference to existing things built into them as part oftheir content, and that this is at least part of the reasonwhy only these ideas contain what he calls “the idea ofsubstra tuin.”98Bolton begins her argument by considering the fact thatLocke treats ideas of substances differently from those ofmixed modes as to their reality. Of the reality of ideas ofmixed modes, Locke writes,Mixed Modes. . . having no other reality, but what theyhave in the Minds of Men, there is nothing more required tothose kinds of Ideas, to make them real, but that they be soframed, that there be a possibility of existing conformableto them [2.30.4].On the other hand, he says of the reality of ideas ofsubstances:Our complex Ideas of Substances, being made all of them inrference to Things existing without us, and intended to beRepresentations of Substances, as they really are, are nofarther real, than as they are such Combinations of simpleIdeas, as are really united, and co—exist in Things withoutus [2.30.5].Locke’s position seems to be, then, that ideas of modes arereal if their component ideas are mutually compatible,whereas those of substances must not only be consistent butalso include a collection of qualities coexisting in naturein order that they be real. Both types being no different intheir being complex ideas, however, it might be asked why adifferent requirement for each case is necessary. Locke’sanswer to this, according to Bolton, is that it is because:ideas of substances are “tacitly referred” to actual thingsand are “intended to be representations” of those actualthings, whereas ideas o modes are not intended to representanything in particular.99One might think, then, says Bolton, that this implies thefollowing about the difference between ideas of modes andthose of substances: “the different intentions as to whetheran idea represents an actual thing are contingently,extrinsically attached to the idea.Yet, Bolton maintains that such a reading is mistaken.To argue for this, she takes note of the fact that in hisdiscussion of ideas of mixed modes, Locke allows thatsometimes these ideas are formed by observing something.According to him, there are three ways in which we acquireideas of mixed modes, and the first of them isby Experience and £bservation of things themselves.Thus by seeing two Men wrestle, or fence, we get the Idea ofwrestling or fencing [2.22.9, see also 2.22.21.To say that ideas of mixed modes are sometimes taken fromactual occurrences, Bolton seems to think, amounts to sayingthat these ideas are sometimes intended by the mind torepresent actual things. However, if this is the case,the difference between ideas of modes and those ofsubstances cannot be simply that as a contingent fact ideasof substances are intenged to be copies of actual things andideas of modes are not.In other words, “the difference must be that ideas ofsubstances are necessarily intended to copy things.”6It seems necessary, then, that this intention besomehow reflected in the collection of ideas which100constitute an idea of a substance in order that it must beintended to represent some actual things. And, needless tosay, the only component common to all and only ideas ofsubstances is the idea of substratum. Bolton thus concludethatat least part of what is involved in the idea of substratumis the supposition that certain actual things arerepresented by the complex idea in which it is found.Hence, the difference between ideas of substances and thoseof modes lies in that the former include, as part of theircontent, the supposition that they represent certain actualthings while the latter consist only of a collection ofsimple ideas and do not contain such a supposition as theircomponent.1015.3 REFERENCE NOT CONTAINED IN IDEAS OF SUBSTANCESThe consideration of Bolton’s interpretation of thenature of substance ideas in the last section reveals thather argument consists of two premises and a conclusion. Thefirst premise states that Locke’s handling of the reality ofideas according to different standards should be explainedin terms of the difference in the nature of these ideas. Thesecond premise is that Locke thinks ideas of mixed modes aresometimes intended to copy or represent actual things. Thus,if ideas of mixed modes are to be different from those ofsubstances in their nature, Bolton concludes, the differencebetween the two must be that ideas of substances arenecessarily intended to copy actual things while those ofmixed modes are not.As to the first premise, Locke, as we have seenearlier, does seem to be of such an opinion. What about thesecond premise? Bolton seems to think that Locke’s allowingthe possibility that ideas of mixed modes may be “taken fromObservation, and the Existence of several simple Ideas socombined” [2.22.21 indicates that for him ideas of mixedmodes are at least sometimes made with the intention ofcopying actual things. The question, however, is whether sheis justified in identifying these two claims as she doeswithout argument. In other words, does Locke mean that ideasof mixed modes are sometimes “intended to copy” actual102things when he says that these ideas are sometimes “takenfrom” collections of qualities occurring together in nature?The fact of the matter, I believe, is that for Lockethe two claims are not equivalent. Locke, in talking of thepossibility of the mind’s getting mode ideas, does not meanthat these ideas are sometimes intended to copy actualthings. Instead, he means that, in some cases, a set ofsimple ideas which come to constitue an idea of a mixed modeis “given” or “suggested” to the mind by external objects.when he explains the second way in which the mind obtainsideas of modes, he contrasts it with the first one (i.e. byexperience and observation) by saying the following.For consisting of a company of simple Ideas combined, they[ideas of mixed modes] may by words . . . be represented tothe Mind of one who understands those words, though thatcomplex Combination of simple Ideas were gever offered tohis Mind by the real existence of things.Moreover, in making ideas of mixed modes, it is said, themind “unites and retains certain Collections . . . whilstothers, that as often occurr in Nature, and are as plainlysuggested by outward Things, pass neglected withoutparticular Names or Specifications.”9It seems probable,then, that Locke thinks that the mind plays merely a passiverole in receiving or perceiving a set of simple ideas whichcome to constitute mode ideas when they are suggested byexternal objects. Instead of actively collecing ideas, themind, in such a case, simply makes use of a set given in103experience and makes them into one complex idea. Locke’sremark in 2.22.2 that these ideas are sometimes “taken” fromobservation might be thought to suggest otherwise. It shouldbe noticed, however, that the verb “to take” is sometimesused even in hi account of the perception of simple ideas.For instance, Locke writes, “those [names] of simple Ideasare perfectly taken froizi the existence of things, and arenot arbitrary at all.”10At any rate, the question relevant to our discussion iswhether Locke thinks that the mind, in this case, supposesthe conformity between a complex idea and certain sets ofqualities occurring in nature. The fact is that his positionis invariably that ideas of mixed modes are not supposed torepresent anything, no matter how he thinks of the mind’srole in getting them through observation and experience.Even before he discusses the possibility of framing modeideas in this way, it is still said that these ideas aredistinguished from those of substances because they “are notlooked upon to be the characteristical Marks of any realBeings” [2.22.11. By contrast, as we have seen, in theformation of ideas of substances, the mind “puts nonetogether, which are not supposed to have an union in Nature”[3.6.28].It would seem, then, that Locke’s allowing thepossibility of the mind’s getting ideas of mixed modes104through observation need not be taken to imply that hethinks it to be the case that these ideas are sometimesintended to represent actual things. Bolton is not justifiedin deriving the latter claim from the former. Furthermore,given this, it follows that the difference between ideas ofsubstances and those of modes need not be characterized asbeing that ideas of substances are necessarily intended torepresent actual things whereas those of modes are not.In fact, Bolton’s interpretation that ideas ofsubstances contain such an intention as part of theircontent is at odds with Locke’s doctrine in one crucialrespect: it neglects his distinction between ideas andpropositons in terms of truth or falsity. What we shouldrecognize here is that Locke considers it propositional tointend a certain idea to be conformable to real existence.And hence, if Locke’s position were that such an intentionis contained in our ideas of substances as part of content,each of these ideas itself would be propositional, and thiswould amount to abandoning the distinction between ideas andpropositions. The fact is that he thinks this intentionextrinsic or contingently attached to our ideas.All this is made unmistakably clear in his discussionof true and false idea in the second last chapter of BookII. There Locke observes that ideas themselves are sometimescalled true or false. (To this he adds, “what Words are105there, that are not used . with some deviation fromstrict and proper Signification?” [2.32.1].) However, if wescrutinize each of such occasions, he continues, we shallfind some “secret or tacit Proposition” which explains whythe ideas are termed true or false. Does Locke think, then,that in such a case, a tacit proposition is contained in theideas?The answer is negative. “Our Ideas,” says Locke, “beingnothing but bare Appearances or Perceptions in our Minds,cannot properly and simply in themselves be said to be trueor fa]s” [2.32.1]. On the other hand, they are said to becapable of truth and falsity if “the Mind passes someJudgment on them; that is, affirms or denies something ofthem” [2.32.3]. Now, since ideas themselves are incapable oftruth/falsity while they are capable of truth/falsity whenthe mind “refer” them to “any thing extraneous to them,” itfollows that ideas themselves do not contain such asupposition or reference to real existence. In short, thesupposition is extrinsic to ideas themselves. So for Locke,even an idea of a non—existent substance such as a centaurhas “no more Falshood in it, when it appears in our Minds;than the Name Centaur has Faishood in it, when it ispronounced by our Mouths, or written on some Paper”[2.32.3]. However, if Locke, as Bolton maintains, held theview that every substance idea has the reference to existing106things built into it as its constituent, he would have tosay that the idea of a centaur can, in itself, be termedfalse.The consideration of Locke’s view on true and falseideas thus seems to reveal that insofar as he looks on thereference of ideas to real existence as being propositional,it is quite unlikely that he thinks our ideas of substancescontain such a reference. Moreover, it seems to follow fromthis that it is also unlikely that he considers thedifference between these ideas and those of mixed modes tobe that the former are necessariiy intended to representactual things while the latter are not.1075.4 THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN IDEAS OF SUBSTANCESAND IDEAS OF MIXED MODESBolton also argues that the interpretation that thereference to real existence is contingently attached toideas of substances does not conform to Locke’s doctrine.Although she lists several points, her objection to it boilsdown to this: if the intention is extrinsic to ideas, theclassification of an idea as that of a substance or that ofa mixed mode would never be absolute, but instead variable;and such is not Locke’s opinion.The fact of the matter, however, is that from time totime Locke does admit the possibility that ideas ofsubstances be formed without the reference to realexistence. For instance, it is said thatHe that hath imagined to himself Substances such as never.ave seen, and fill’d his Head with Ideas which have not anycorrespondence with the real Nature of Things . . . may fillhis Discourse, and, perhaps, another Man’s Head, with thefantasical Imaginations of his own Brain [3.10.30].That Locke considers the ideas formed in this way to beideas of substances is evident from the fact that he treatsthem as those of substances in his discussion of the realityof ideas of substances in 2.30.5. It seems, then, that Lockeconsiders the ideas of non—existent substances to be ideasof substances even if they are formed without being referredto real existence. Bolton, not allowing the possibility ofsubstance ideas without carrying the intention, maintains108that ideas like these “involves a presupposition which isfalse.”11 This, however, does not seem to be Locke’sopinion. As we have seen, he thinks that an idea of anon—existent thing such as that of a centaur has “no moreFaishood in it . . . than the Name Centaur has Falshood init” [2.32.3].Furthermore, we might note his use of the term“imagination” in the quoted passage. Locke’s observationconcerns the case in which one forms ideas by “imagining”substances which have never existed. Locke elsewhere writesthat “imagination is a picture drawn in our minds withoutreference to a patterj’i’12 It does seem to be his view, then,that ideas of substances can be formed without beingreferred to real existence. In other words, it is hisposition that what is made without reference to realexistence can still be an idea of a substance.However, it should be pointed out that if Locke admitssuch a possibility, this would not be consistent with hisown remark that ideas of substances are made a]] of the.,,, inreference to things existing without us. Moreover, neitherdoes it seem to be consistent with the distinction betweenideas of mixed modes and those of substances in terms of theformer’s “arbitrariness.” For if my interpretation iscorrect, by the arbitrariness of mode ideas, Locke meansthat they are made without being referred to real existence.109So the distinction of the two types of complex ideas in thismanner seems to break down.Yet, I do not think this is the case. What thisapparent inconsistency really indicates, I believe, is thatLocke does not consider the reference to real existence tobe what makes an idea substantial. In other words, it isbecause he thinks the reason for ideas’ being substantiallies in something else than their being referred to real.xistence that he admits the possibility of these ideasbeing formed without such a reference. If Locke, as Boltonmaintains, thinks that what makes an idea substantial is thefact that it contains the reference to actual things, hecould not allow such a possibility.By contrast, on my interpretation, the reference toactual things is contingently attached to these ideas, andhence it is possible that ideas of substances be formedwithout this reference. I suspect that this is the reasonwhy Locke allows this possibility while claiming that ideasof substances are made in reference to real existence. Infact, at one point, Locke does say something like this:though Men may make what complex Ideas they please,and give what Names to them they will; yet if they will beunderstood, when they speak of Things really existing, theymust, in some degree, conform their Ideas to the Thingsreally existing they would speak of [3.6.28].I take Locke’s point in this passage to be that although it110is possible for ideas of substances to be formed withoutbeing referred to actual things, we do, as a matter of fact,make these ideas in reference to actual things in order tobe able to talk about these things. We must recognize thateven though it is not necessary for an idea to be formed inreference to actual things in order for it be an idea of asubstance, it is necessary for it to be formed in referenceto them insofar as we wish to communicate with each otherabout actual things. Hence, in this sense Locke thinks itnecessary that ideas of substances be made in reference toactual things.• . . the same necessity of conforming his Ideas ofSubstances to Things without him, as to Archetypes made byNature, that Adam was under, if he would not wilfully imposeupon himself, the same are all Men ever since under too[3.6.51].On the other hand, Locke writes of ideas of mixed modes:what liberty Adaiii had at first to make any complexIdeas of mixed Modes, by no other Pattern, but by his ownThoughts, the same have all Men ever since had [3.6.51].For Locke, then, the difference between ideas of substancesand those of mixed modes can be characterized as this: thatas a contingent fact, ideas of substances are formed inreference to actual things whereas those of mixed modes arenot. It follows that his distinction between the two interms of “arbitrariness” does not break down insofar as itis concerned with the distinction of our ideas.13111Now, it might be noticed that, in the quoted passage,Locke counts our need to communicate with each other as thereason for the necessity of conforming our ideas ofsubstances to actual things. However, if this is the case,one might wonder why the same is not applicable to our ideasof mixed modes since we seem to have as much need to talkabout mixed modes as we do to talk about substances. I thinkthat Locke’s official answer to this question should besought in his view of real knowledge. According to him, weare able to achieve certain, real and general truths aboutmathematics and morality even if there are no such entitieswhich fall under our ideas of mixed modes. By contrast, theonly way we can acquire real knowledge about substances isto observe actual things. It is only then that we can besure of the conformity between our ideas and the reality ofthings.1125.5 THE CLASSIFICATION OF IDEAS ANDTHE GENERAL IDEA OF SUBSTANCEIn the last section, 1 have argued that for Locke thereference to actual things is not what makes an ideasubstantial. But what makes it substantial then? I believethat this is the part which the idea of substratum or thegeneral idea of substance is supposed to play. According toLocke, substratum is saiziethingwherein qualities oraccidents subsist and from which they result [2.23.1]. Soaside from the issue of exactly how it “supports’1 theni, theidea of substratum is the general notion of a thing which isresponsible, in some manner, for the coexistence orsubsistence of various qualities. To quote Locke’s ownwords, “the general idea of substance . . . is a complexidea, or being, with the relation of a support toaccidents.” 14The question, however, is why such a general idea iscontained in every idea of a substance including that of anon—existent one. As we have seen, it is Locke’s positionthat in the formation of ideas of substances the mind refersa collection of ideas to things existing without us. And tosay this is to say that in the formation of these ideas, themind supposes the conformity between a collection of ideaswhich come to constitute an idea of a substance and existingthings. Moreover, this “conformity” is defined as the113correspondence between the set of qualities represented bysuch a collection of ideas and a set of qualitiesco—instantiated in a substance. What is important is thatthis correspondence is not simply with a set of qualities,but with a set co—instantiated in a substance. In otherwords, it is a correspondence with the qualities of asubstance.Thus, the supposition made in the formation ofsubstance ideas can be formulated as this: that there is anx such that x is a substance to which a certain set of ideasconform.15 It must be seen that the phrase “xis asubstance” in this formulation is not vacuous. Without sucha specification, the supposed conformity might be between acollection of ideas and collections of qualities which Lockecalls “modes.” To put it differently, according to Locke’snotion of “conformity,” not only substances but also modesare considered to be the value of a variable. This is atleast part of the reason why every idea of a substancecontains the general idea of substance which represents acertain ontological type. In making ideas of substances, themind supposes that there is a thing which has such and suchproperties. Thus, in his definition of this type of complexideas, Locke writes thatThe Ideas of Substances are such combinations of simpleIdeas, as are taken to represent distinct particular thingssubsisting by themselves; in which the supposed, or confusedIdea of1ubstance, such as it is, is aiways the first andchief.114It would seem, then, that at least part of the functionwhich the idea of substratum plays is to specify a certaintype of being, i.e. substances. Thus, even if an idea wereformed without being referred to actual things, this ideawould be conformable only to substances insofar as itcontains the idea of substratum as its constituent. In otherwords, it is an idea of a substance. On the other hand,ideas of mixed modes, lacking such a component, areconformable only to collections of qualities.V V...115FOOTNOTESCHAPTER FIVE1 Draft A, p.6.2 Martha Brant Bolton, “Substances, Substrata and Namesof Substances in Locke’s Essay,” in Phiiosophica] Review,LXXXV, 4 (1976), p.488—513.3 Bolton, op. cit., p.496.4 Bolton, op. cit., p.496.5 Bolton, op. cit., p.498.6 Bolton, op. cit., p.498.7 Bo].ton, op. cit., p.498.8 Essay2.23.3; emphasis added.9 Essay3.5.3; emphasis added.10 Essay 3.4.17; emphasis added. Although, in thispassage, the names of simple ideas, rather than simpleideas, are said to be taken from external things, it isobvious that Locke actually means that simple ideas aretaken from them. As I have shown in 1.2, he thinks thatthere is no “natural connexion” between ideas and names.Furthermore, Locke also writes in 2.2.1 that “the Sight andTouch often take in from the same Object, at the same time,different Ideas.”11 Bolton, op. cit., p.499, footnote 28.12 John Locke, Iliscerlianeous Papers, in Lord PeterKing, The Life of John Locke, with Extracts frorii hisCorrespondence, Journals, and Co.rnmonp]ace Books (London:nenry Colburn, 1830), vol.2, p.170. Emphasis added.13 It might still be argued that the distinction interms of “arbitrariness” breaks down because not a]] of ourideas of substances are made with reference to actualthings. But I do not think that this is the case. As I haveargued, Locke’s not denying the possibility that ideas ofsubstances be formed without the reference indicates hisbelief that what makes an idea substantial is not this116reference, but something else. I believe this is why heallows the possibility while claiming that ideas ofsubstances are all made in reference to actual things andthus not arbitrary.14 John Locke, A Letter to the Right Reverend EdwardLord Bishop of Worcester, The Philosophical Works of JohnLocke, vol.4 (London, 1823), p.19.15 Of Ideas of substances, Locke once wrote that they“are affirmations . . . when things are supposed to existanswering those complex ideas” [Draft B, p.166, footnote21].16 Essay2.12.6; emphasis added.%.117CHAPTER SIXCONCLUSIONSAt the outset of this thesis, I have suggested that asuccessful interpretation of what Locke means by thearbitrariness of ideas of mixed modes must account for twopoints: it must explain not only what this arbitrarinessconsists in, but also the reason why he thinks it possibleto distinguish ideas of mixed modes from those of substancesin terms of their arbitrariness. To achieve this goal, Ihave taken note of the fact that, in explaining thedifference of these two types of ideas, Locke quite oftenrefers to the difference between them in the manner in whichthey are formed. According to him, ideas of substances areall made in reference to actual things and thus notarbitrary whereas those of mixed modes are made without sucha reference and thus arbitrary.To establish the connexion between the two features ofeach type of complex ideas, I have next embarked on theanalysis of the claim that ideas of substances are made inreference to actual things. In doing so, I have clarifiedtwo things.First, I made it clear that to “refer” an idea tosomething, for Locke, is a technical term which derivesultimately from his theory of propositions. To refer an ideato some object is to “suppose” or “judge” that the idea is118conformable to this object. Moreover, since Lockeunderstands the conformity between a complex idea and anobject as the correspondence between the set of qualitiesspecified by the idea and the set of qualities in thatobject, to refer a complex idea to actual things is tosuppose that a set of qualities belong to actual things.Secondly, I have argued that the formation of complexideas in general requires the recognition of unity. Althoughthis point has been noticed by some commentators, I havefurther argued that in the formation of complex ideas, themind combines a collection of distinct ideas by its power ofconsidering them as one single idea, and that, in the makingcf ideas of substances, the mind also considers a set ofqualities as united in one thing. In other words, theformation of ideas of substances involves two different waysof composition: the mind first considers a set of qualitiesas united in one thing by combining a collection of ideas inthe propositional manner, and then considers the collectionof ideas as one complex idea.Thus, I have concluded that the supposition orproposition the mind makes in the formation of ideas ofsubstances is what explains the non—arbitrariness of theseideas. In making these ideas, the mind combines only theones which are supposed to coexist in nature. By contrast,in forming ideas of mixed modes, the mind does not suppose119that there is a collection of qualities (i.e. a mixed mode)in nature which is conformable to a certain set of ideas.Consequently, there is no restriction in the formation ofmode ideas as to what collection of ideas is combined intoone complex idea, insofar as it is consistent.What I tried to show next was Locke’s clearunderstanding concerning the distinction between complexideas and propositions. In doing this, I have also shownthat despite his new way of ideas, Locke follows thecompositional model of the traditional logic in hisdistinguishing ideas in general from propositions for thereason that ideas do not involve truth and falsity.Thus, another crucial thesis is implied by the twopoints I have established. That is, given (a)that to “refer”an idea to actual things, for Locke, is propositional innature, and further (b)that ideas are strictly distinguishedfrom propositions, it follows that the reference to actualthings is not contained in any idea. On this ground, I haverejected the interpretation that an idea of a substance isnecessarily referred to actual things and the reference isincluded in it as the idea of substratum. Ideas ofsubstances do not, in themselves, presuppose the existenceof the things to which they are conformable.In interpreting Locke’s view on ideas of substances, wemust recognize that there are really two separate issues120involved. First, as his classifying our ideas into those ofmodes, those of substances, those of relations and so onindicates, it reflects his ontology. These ideas are sonamed because there is a certain type of beings to whicheach of them is conformable. An idea is an idea of asubstance because it is conformable only to a substance.Once this is realized, it will be seen that at least part ofwhat is involved in the idea of substratum is to representan ontological type, i.e. substances. I think that this iswhy he also calls this idea “the genera] idea of substance.”On the other hand, ideas of mixed modes, not containing thisidea, are conformable only to collections of propertieswhich he calls “mixed modes.”This, however, is not the only issue included inLocke’s theory of ideas of substances. As he remarks at theoutset of the Essay, his main purpose is to “enquire intothe Original, Certainty, and Extent of humane Knowledge”[1.1.2], Since, for him, ideas are the “materials” ofknowledge, it is very crucial to look into how our ideas areformed. It is in this context, then, that Locke claims thatideas of substances are all made in reference to actualthings. This claim reflects his belief that our knowledgeabout substances is concerned with actual things encounteredin experience. By contrast, we can attain the real knowledgeabout modes even if there are no such entities in nature,121and accordingly, ideas of modes are formed without referenceto actual things.For Locke, then, the statement that an idea is an ideaof a substance or that an idea is conformable to a substanceis clearly distinguished from the statement that an idea isreferred to actual things. I believe that the recognition ofthis point takes us one step closer to the correctinterpretation of Locke’s view on the idea of substratum andcomplex ideas of substances.122BIBLIOGRAPHYAaron, R.I., John Locke, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 3rdedition, 1971.Aarsleff, Hans, “Leibniz on Locke on Language,” AiiericanPhilosophical Quarterly, 1, No.3, 1964.Alexander, Peter, Ideas, Qualities and Corpuscules: Lockeand Boyle on the External World, Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press, 1985.Arnauld, Antoine and Nicole, P., Logic, or the Art of2’hinking(1662), ed. and trans. James Dickoff andPatricia James, New York, Bobbs—Merrill, 1964.Aronson, C., and Lewis, D., “Locke on Mixed Modes, Knowledgeand Substances,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 8,1970.Ayers, M.R.., “The Ideas of Power and Substance in Locke’sPhi losophy,” Philosophical Quarterly, xxv (1975).Reprinted in Locke on Human Understanding, ed. I . C.Tipton, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1977.“Locke’s Logical Atomism,” Proceedings of the BritishAcademy, LXVII (1981). Reprinted in Rationalism,Eriipiricisin and Idealism, ed. Anthony Kenny, Oxford,Oxford Universiy Press, 1986.“Are Locke’s ‘Ideas’ Images, Intentional Objects orNatural Signs?,” Locke Newsletter, 17, 1986.Bennett, Jonathan, Locke, Berkeley, Huine: Central J’heines,Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971.“Substratum,” History of Philosophy Quarterly, Vol.4,No.2, 1987.Bolton, Martha Brandt, “Substances, Substrata and Names ofSubstances in Locke’s Essay,” Philosophical Review,LXXXV( 1976).“Locke on Substance Ideas and the Determination ofKinds: A Reply to Mattern,” Locke Newsletter, 19, 1988.Descartes, René, The Philosophical Works of Descartes, ed.Elizabeth S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross, New York, Dover,1959.Gassendi, Pierre, Institution of Logic (1658), ed. and trans.howard Jones, The Netherlands, Van Gorcum, 1981.123GIbson, J., Locke ‘s Theory of Knowledge and its HistoricalRelations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1917.Hacking, Ian, “Locke, Leibniz, Language and Hans Aarsleff”Synthese, 75, 1988.King, Peter, The Life of John Locke, with Extracts fran, hisCorrespondence, Journals, and Co.ni.nionplace Books, London,Henry Colburn, 1830, new edition.Le ibn i z, G . W., New Essays on Hirnan Understanding (1704), ed.and trans. Peter Remnant and Jonathan Bennett, Cambridge,Cambridge University Press, 1981.Locke, John, An Essay concerning human Understanding (1690),ed. P.11. Nidditch, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975.An Early Draft of Locke ‘s Essay together with Excerptsfran, his Journals, ed. R.I. Aaron and J. Gibb, Oxford,Clarendon Press, 1936.Drafts for the Essay concerning Human Understanding, andOther Philosophical Writings, vol.1, Drafts A and B, ed.P.11. Nidditch and G.A.J. Rogers, Oxford, Clarendon Press,1990.A Letter to the Right Reverend Edward Lord Bishop ofWorcester, The Philosophical Works of John Locke, vol.4,London, 1823.Losonsky, Michael, “Locke on the Making of Complex Ideas,”Locke Newsletter, 20, 1989.Mabbott, J.D., John Locke, London, Macmillan, 1973.Mattern, Ruth, “Locke: ‘Our Knowledge, Which All Consists inPropos it ions,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, VIII(1978).“Locke on Natural Kinds as the ‘Workmanship of theUnderstanding’,” Locke Newsletter, 17, 1986.O’Connor, D.J., John Locke, Baltimore, Penguin Books, 1952.Perry, David L., “Locke on Mixed Modes, Relations andKnowledge,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 5,1967.Soles, David E., “Locke’s Empiricism and the Postulation ofUnobservables,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, 23,1985.124Soles, David B., “Locke on Ideas, Words, and Knowledge,”Revue In terna tionale de Philosophie, 1988.Stewart, M.A., “Locke’s Mental Atomism and the Classificationof Ideas,” I and II, Locke Newsletter, 10 and 11, 1979and 1980.Woo ihouse, R. S., Locke ‘s Philosophy of Science Knowledge,Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1971.“Locke on Modes, Substances and Knowledge,” Journal ofthe History of Philosophy, 10, 1972.“Locke, Leibniz and the reality of Ideas,” John LockeSymposium, Iiolfenbdttel( 1979), ed. Reinhard Brandt,Berlin, de Gruyter, 1981.The Empiricists, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988.Yo 1. ton, J . W., Locke and the Compass of Human Cinderstanding,Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1970.


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