By E. J. Lowe

ISBN-10: 0415664772

ISBN-13: 9780415664776

ISBN-10: 0415664780

ISBN-13: 9780415664783

John Locke is commonly said because the most crucial determine within the background of English philosophy and An Essay bearing on Human Understanding is his maximum highbrow paintings, emphasising the significance of expertise for the formation of data. The Routledge Guidebook to Locke’s Essay pertaining to Human Understanding introduces the foremost subject matters of Locke’s nice e-book and serves as a significant other to this key paintings, examining:

  • The context of Locke’s paintings and the historical past to his writing
  • Each a part of the textual content on the subject of its objectives, which means and influence
  • The reception of the e-book while it was once first noticeable by way of the realm
  • The relevance of Locke’s paintings to philosophy this day, its legacy and impression

With extra interpreting steered all through, this article follows Locke’s unique paintings heavily, making it crucial interpreting for all scholars of philosophy, and all these wishing to familiarize yourself with this vintage work.

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Additional resources for The Routledge Guidebook to Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Sample text

If such objects are related to us merely as external causes of our ideas, what reason can we have to suppose anything definite about the nature of those objects? In particular, how can we know that their properties resemble those of our ideas in any respect? Indeed, does it even make sense to suppose that terms descriptive of ideas should also be applicable, univocally, to objects supposedly so different in kind from ideas – for instance, that both a visual image and an external object could be ‘square’, in the very same sense of the word?

Alternatively, one could believe in conceptual simples and yet insist that complex concepts cannot be acquired in the absence of correspondingly complex perceptual experience. In the course of the Essay, Locke attempts to make good his claim to provide an alternative to innatism by analysing some of the key concepts – such as that of substance – which innatists held to be innate, and endeavouring to show how their simple ingredients might be acquired from experience and then put together by the intellect.

Before we proceed to examine Locke’s arguments against the doctrine of innate ideas, mention should be made of the doctrine that he intends to put in its place – a doctrine that we can go on calling, for want of a better word, ‘empiricism’. ) Locke’s empiricism is at once atomistic and constructivist. In calling it ‘atomistic’, I mean that Locke regards ideas as falling into two classes, simple and complex, with complex ideas being analysable into simple components. For instance, the idea of a perceptible quality like redness is, for Locke, simple: our concept of redness cannot be analysed into any 21 22 IDEAS simpler elements – unlike, for example, our concept of a horse, which can.

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The Routledge Guidebook to Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding by E. J. Lowe

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