By John Locke

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Sample text

I do not say, that we can know all essences of things alike ; nor that we can attain to a understanding of all that belong to them: but if we can know so much, as that there are certain beings in the world, endued with such distinct powers and properties; what is it we complain of, in order to our certainty of things? But we do not see the bare essence of things. What is that bare essence, without the powers and properties belonging to i t ? I t is that internal constitution of things, from whence those powers and properties flow.

Not, that they are the true representations * Human Understanding, B. ii. c. 30,31. Bishop of Worcester. 75 of things without us ; but that they are the true effects of such powers in them, as produce such sensation rvitllin us. " For thcse words of mine, I find Human Understanding, B. ii. c. 30, 31, quoted ; but I crave leave to observe to your lordship, that in neither of these chapters do I find the words, as they stand here in your lordship's book. In B. ii. c. " And in chap. SO, sect. 2, I say, that " our simple ideas are all real, all agree t o the reality of things.

Ideas in mathematics are a sure ground of certainty; and yet every one may not make so right an use of them, as to attain to certainty by them: but yet any one's failing of certainty by them, is not the overturning of this truth, that certainty is to be had by them. Clear and distinct I have omitted here to join with ideas, not because clear and distinct make any ideas unfit to produce certainty, which have all other fitness t o do it ; but because I do not limit certainty to clear and distinct ideas only, since there may be certainty from ideas that are not in all their parts perfectly clear and distinct.

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