Index for Chapter IX
Of the Imperfection of Words
- 1. Words are used for recording and communicating our thoughts.
- 2. Any words will serve for recording.
- 3. Communication by words either for civil or philosophical purposes.
- 4. The imperfection of words is the doubtfulness or ambiguity of their signification, which is caused by the sort of ideas they stand for.
- 5. Natural causes of their imperfection, especially in those that stand for mixed modes, and for our ideas of substances.
- 6. The names of mixed modes doubtful.
- 7. Secondly, because they have no standards in nature.
- 8. Common use, or propriety not a sufficient remedy.
- 9. The way of learning these names contributes also to their doubtfulness.
- 10. Hence unavoidable obscurity in ancient authors.
- 11. Names of substances of doubtful signification, because the ideas they stand for relate to the reality of things.
- 12. Names of substances referred, to real essences that cannot be known.
- 13. To co-existing qualities, which are known but imperfectly.
- 14. Thirdly, to co-existing qualities which are known but imperfectly.
- 15. With this imperfection, they may serve for civil, but not well for philosophical use.
- 16. Instance, liquor.
- 17. Instance, gold.
- 18. The names of simple ideas the least doubtful.
- 19. And next to them, simple modes.
- 20. The most doubtful are the names of very compounded mixed modes and substances.
- 21. Why this imperfection charged upon words.
- 22. This should teach us moderation in imposing our own sense of old authors.
- 23. Especially of the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
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