An Essay Concerning Human Understanding - Book III Summary & Analysis

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Book III Summary and Analysis

Locke's discussion in Book III is very important to his overall theory, but it is also very complex. Having explained the different forms and origins of ideas in Book II, Locke goes on here to look at the different forms and origins of the words that refer to ideas. Locke begins by claiming that God has formed mankind so as to be sociable. In so doing, God and nature have also given man the necessity and the ability to use words and language to communicate with one another. Without this communication, social life would be impossible. Words, according to Locke, are signs or sounds that refer to internal ideas. The actual form of the signs and words are arbitrary and are not essentially related to the ideas that they reference.

Although words have an arbitrary relationship to the underlying...

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This section contains 1,104 words
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