which do not always suggest to others determinate particular Ideas is what no

Which do not always suggest to others determinate

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which do not always suggest to others determinate particular Ideas, is what no Body will deny. And a little Attention will discover, that it is not necessary (even in the strictest Reasonings) significant Names which stand for Ideas should, every time they are used, excite in the Understanding the Ideas they are made to stand for: In Reading and Discoursing, Names being for the most part used as Letters are in Algebra , in which though a particular quantity be marked by each Letter, yet to proceed right it is not requisite that in every step each Letter suggest to your Thoughts, that particular quantity it was appointed to stand for. XX. Besides, the communicating of Ideas marked by Words is not the chief and only end of Language, as is commonly supposed. There are other Ends, as the raising of some 8
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Passion, the exciting to, or deterring from an Action, the putting the Mind in some particular Disposition; to which the former is in many Cases barely subservient, and sometimes intirely omitted, when these can be obtained without it, as I think doth not unfrequently happen in the familiar use of Language. I intreat the Reader to reflect with himself, and see if it doth not often happen either in Hearing or Reading a Discourse, that the Passions of Fear, Love, Hatred, Admiration, Disdain, and the like, arise immediately in his Mind upon the Perception of certain Words, without any Ideas coming between. At first, indeed, the Words might have occasioned Ideas that were fit to produce those Emotions; but, if I mistake not, it will be found that when Language is once grown familiar, the hearing of the Sounds or Sight of the Characters is oft immediately attended with those Passions, which at first were wont to be produced by the intervention of Ideas, that are now quite omitted. May we not, for Example, be affected with the promise of a good Thing , though we have not an Idea of what it is? Or is not the being threatned with Danger sufficient to excite a Dread, though we think not of any particular Evil likely to befal us, nor yet frame to our selves an Idea of Danger in Abstract? If any one shall join ever so little Reflexion of his own to what has been said, I believe it will evidently appear to him, that general Names are often used in the propriety of Language without the Speaker’s designing them for Marks of Ideas in his own, which he would have them raise in the Mind of the Hearer. Even proper Names themselves do not seem always spoken, with a Design to bring into our view the Ideas of those Individuals that are supposed to be marked by them. For Example, when a Schoolman tells me Aristotle hath said it , all I conceive he means by it, is to dispose me to embrace his Opinion with the Deference and Submission which Custom has annexed to that Name. And this effect may be so instantly produced in the Minds of those who are accustomed to resign their Judgment to the Authority of that Philosopher, as it is impossible any Idea either of his Person, Writings, or Reputation should go before. Innumerable Examples of this kind may be given, but why
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  • Fall '08
  • Dalmiya,V
  • Philosophy, pains, Abstraction

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