Transcription of LocHum,680[2]et681[1]
— 680 —
We reason about Particulars.
      §8. Having here had an occasion to speak of Syllogism in general,
and the Use of it, in Reasoning, and the Improvement of our Know-
ledge, ’tis fit, before I leave this Subject, to take notice of one
manifest Mistake in the Rules of Syllogism; viz. That no Syllogistical
Reasoning can be right and conclusive, but what has, at least, one
general Proposition in it. As if we could not reason, and have Know-
ledge about Particulars. Whereas, in truth, the Matter rightly con-
sidered, the immediate Object of all our Reasoning and Knowledge,
is nothing but Particulars. Every Man’s Reasoning and Knowledge,
is only about the Ideas existing in his own Mind, which are truly,
every one of them, particular Existences: and our Knowledge and
Reasoning about other Things, is only as they correspond with those
— 681 —
our particular Ideas. So that the Perception of the Agreement, or
Disagreement of our particular Ideas, is the whole and utmost of all
our Knowledge. Universality is but accidental to it, and consists
only in this, That the particular Ideas, about which it is, are such, as
more than one particular Thing can correspond with, and be rep-
resented by. But the Perception of the Agreement, or Disagree-
ment of any two Ideas, and consequently, our Knowledge, is equally
clear and certain, whether either, or both, or neither of those Ideas
be capable of representing more real Beings than one, or no. One
thing more I crave leave to offer about Syllogism, before I leave it,
viz. May one not upon just Ground enquire whether the Form
Syllogism now has, is that which in Reason it ought to have? For
the Medius Terminus being to joyn the Extremes, i.e. the intermediate
Ideas by its Intervention, to shew the Agreement or Disagreement
of the two in Question, would not the Position of the Medius
Terminus be more natural, and shew the Agreement or Disagree-
ment of the Extremes clearer and better, if it were placed in the
Middle between them? Which might be easily done by transposing
the Propositions, and making the Medius Terminus the predicate of
the First, and the Subject of the Second. As thus,

Omnis Homo est Animal,
Omne Animal est vivens,
Ergo omnis Homo est vivens.


Omne corpus est extensum et solidum,
Nullum extensum et solidum est pura extensio,
Ergo corpus non est pura extensio.


I need not trouble my Reader with Instances in Syllogisms, whose
conclusions are particular. The same Reason holds for the same form
in them, as well as in the general.
Locke Hum IV, 17, §8, pp. 680-681