more from John Locke

Single Idea 15993

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 4. Source of Kinds]

Full Idea

The things that, as far as observation reaches, we constantly find to proceed regularly, do act by a law set them; but yet by a law that we know not; ..their connections and dependencies being not discoverable in our ideas, we need experimental knowledge.

Gist of Idea

If we observe total regularity, there must be some unknown law and relationships controlling it


John Locke (Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed) [1694], 4.03.29)

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', ed/tr. Nidditch,P.H. [OUP 1979], p.560

A Reaction

In Idea 15992 he expressed scepticism about the amount of regularity that is actually found, with many so-called 'kinds' being quite irregular in their members. I agree. The only true natural kinds are the totally regular ones. Why a 'law'?

Related Idea

Idea 15992 Many individuals grouped under one name vary more than some things that have different names [Locke]