Essay Human Understanding Locke

is the foundational text for modern philosophical empiricism.This essay set the standard for empirically-based arguments against the traditions of rationalism.

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proceeds from this point toward a methodical dismantling of the principle of non-experiential knowledge using the most basic of empirical evidence.

How can ideas like a circle being round and that 2 plus 2 equals four be considered innate, his essay, asks, when every child must be taught these thing before understanding them?

This logic proposed the existence of ideas which exist independent of both perception and experience.

Therefore, they had to be considered essential and universal truths that could only exist by virtue of agency the individual mind on which they were imprinted.

Since innate knowledge could not be gained through perception or experience, the only logical conclusion to explain their existence was they were put there by a perfect supreme creator.

Locke’s essay raises objections to the fundamental reasoning of the existence of innate ideas through rational analysis based on empirical evidence.

Things in print must stand and fall by their own worth, or the reader's fancy.

But there being nothing more to be desired for truth than a fair unprejudiced hearing, nobody is more likely to procure me that than your lordship, who are allowed to have got so intimate an acquaintance with her, in her more retired recesses.

This I am sure, I am under the greatest obligations to seek all occasions to acknowledge a long train of favours I have received from your lordship; favours, though great and important in themselves, yet made much more so by the forwardness, concern, and kindness, and other obliging circumstances, that never failed to accompany them.

To all this you are pleased to add that which gives yet more weight and relish to all the rest: you vouchsafe to continue me in some degrees of your esteem, and allow me a place in your good thoughts, I had almost said friendship.


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