more from John Locke

Single Idea 12524

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / c. Social reference]

Full Idea

We have nothing else to refer these our ideas of mixed modes to as standard, to which we would conform them, but the ideas of those who are thought to use those names in their most proper significations.


Locke's 'mixed modes' are complex ideas built up from simple ones

Gist of Idea

For the correct reference of complex ideas, we can only refer to experts


John Locke (Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed) [1694], 2.32.12)

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', ed/tr. Nidditch,P.H. [OUP 1979], p.388

A Reaction

This is Putnam's thought about elm trees, that he uses the word 'elm' to refer to something the reference of which is fixed by experts on trees, and not by his ignorant self.