An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
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An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

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In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1690, John Locke (1632-1704) provides a complete account of how we acquire everyday, mathematical, natural scientific, religious and ethical knowledge. Rejecting the theory that some knowledge is innate in us, Locke argues that it derives from sense perceptions and experience, as analysed and developed by reason. While defending these central claims with vigorous common sense, Locke offers many incidental - and highly influential - reflections on space and time, meaning, free will and personal identity. The result is a powerful, pioneering work, which, together with Descartes's works, largely set the agenda for modern philosophy.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 816 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 40mm | 521.63g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0140434828
  • 9780140434828
  • 63,146

About John Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) was educated at Christ Church, Oxford and held various academic posts at that university, lecturing on Greek and rhetoric. However, his interests lay in medicine and the new experimental sciences and in 1667 he became personal physician to the Earl of Shaftesbury. Under the influence of Shaftesbury, Locke developed his ideas on politics, property, trade, monarchy and the mind. Shaftesbury became a bitter opponent of Charles II and was involved in the plot of 1683. This forced Locke to flee in exile to Holland, but he returned after 1688 and began to publish his most famous works. He wrote also on tehology, education, and in defence of religous tolerance, while founding the analytic philosophy of the mind.Roger Woolhouse is Professor of Philosophy at the University of York. He has also edited George Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous for Penguin Classics.show more

Review Text

In his essay, Locke rejects all appeals to authority and the theory of innate knowledge, arguing that knowledge derives from sense, perceptions and experience, as analysed and developed by reason.show more

Table of contents

Introduction Further Reading Bibliographical Abbreviations A Note on the Text Title-page of the Fifth Edition AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING The Epistle Dedicatory The Epistle to the Reader The Contents Book I: Of Innate Notions I Introduction II No Innate Principles in the Mind III No Innate Practical Principles IV Other Considerations concerning Innate Principles, both Speculative and Practical Book II: Of Innate Notions I Of Ideas in General, and their Original II Of Simple Ideas III Of Ideas of One Sense IV Of Solidity V Of Simple Ideas of Divers Senses VI Of Simple Ideas of Reflection VII Of Simple Ideas of both Sensation and Reflection VIII Some further Considerations concerning our Simple Ideas IX Of Perception X Of Retention XI Of Discerning, and other Operations of the Mind XII Of Complex Ideas XIII Of Simple Modes; and first, of the Simple Modes of Space XIV Of Duration, and its Simple Modes XV Of Duration and Expansion, considered together XVI Of Number XVII Of Infinity XVIII Of other Simple Modes XIX Of the Modes of Thinking XX Of Modes of Pleasure and Pain XXI Of Power XXII Of Mixed Modes XXIII Of our Complex Ideas of Substances XXIV Of Collective Ideas of Substances XXV Of Relation XXVI Of Cause and Effect, and other Relations XXVII Of Identity and Diversity XXVIII Of other Relations XXIX Of Clear and Obscure, Distinct and Confused Ideas XXX Of Real and Fantastical Ideas XXXI Of Adequate and Inadequate Ideas XXXII Of True and False Ideas XXXIII Of the Association of Ideas Book III: Of Words I Of Words or Language in General II Of the Signification of Words III Of General Terms IV Of the Names of Simple Ideas V Of the Names of Mixed Modes and Relations VI Of the Names of Substances VII Of Particles VIII Of Abstract and Concrete Terms IX Of the Imperfection of Words X Of the Abuse of Words XI Of the Remedies of the Foregoing Imperfections and Abuses Book IV: Of Knowledge and Opinion I Of Knowledge in General II Of the Degrees of Our Knowledge III Of the Extent of Human Knowledge IV Of the Reality of Knowledge V Of Truth in General VI Of Universal Propositions, their Truth and Certainty VII Of Maxims VIII Of Trifling Propositions IX Of our Knowledge of Existence X Of our Knowledge of the Existence of a God XI Of our Knowledge of the Existence of Things XII Of the Improvement of our Knowledge XIII Some further Considerations concerning our Knowledge XIV Of Judgment Xv Of Probability XVI Of the Degrees of Assent XVII Of Reason XVIII Of Faith and Reason, and their Distinct Provinces XIX Of Enthusiasm XX Of Wrong Assent, or Error XXI Of the Division of the Sciences Appendix: John Locke's Debate with Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester, as it figures in footnotes in the Fifth Edition of the Essay Index to the Fifth Edition Notesshow more

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11,665 ratings
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