Locke An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Quotes

Locke An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Quotes-49
Every Man being conscious to himself, That he thinks, and that which his Mind is employ'd about whilst thinking, being the Ideas, that are there, 'tis past doubt, that Men have in their Minds several Ideas, such as are those expressed by the words, Whiteness, Hardness, Sweetness, Thinking, Motion, Man, Elephant, Army, Drunkenness, and others: It is in the first place then to be inquired, How he comes by them?I know it is a received Doctrine, That Men have native Ideas, and original Characters stamped upon their Minds, in their very first Being.

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John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an influential English philosopher and social contract theorist.

He developed an alternative to the Hobbesian state of nature and asserted a government could be good only if it received the consent of the governed and protected the natural rights of life, liberty, and estate.

Therefore he, who would be universally knowing, must acquaint himself with the objects of all sciences.

But this is not necessary to a gentleman, whose proper calling is the service of his country; and so is most properly concerned in moral and political knowledge; and thus the studies, which more immediately belong to his calling, are those which treat of virtues and vices, of civil society, and the arts of government; and will take in also law and history.

This was later quoted verbatim in Joseph Addison The Spectator (), No. Euclid and Archimedes are allowed to be knowing, and to have demonstrated what they say: and yet whosoever shall read over their writings without perceiving the connection of their proofs, and seeing what they show, though he may understand all their words, yet he is not the more knowing.

He may believe, indeed, but does not know what they say, and so is not advanced one jot in mathematical knowledge by all his reading of those approved mathematicians.

He who appropriates land to himself by his labor, does not lessen but increases the common stock of mankind.

For the provisions serving to the support of human life, produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, are ten times more than those which are yielded by an acre of land, of an equal richness lying waste in common.

From whence it is obvious to conclude that, since our Faculties are not fitted to penetrate into the internal Fabrick and real Essences of Bodies; but yet plainly discover to us the Being of a GOD, and the Knowledge of our selves, enough to lead us into a full and clear discovery of our Duty, and great Concernment, it will become us, as rational Creatures, to imploy those Faculties we have about what they are most adapted to, and follow the direction of Nature, where it seems to point us out the way.

Had you or I been born at the Bay of Soldania, possibly our Thoughts, and Notions, had not exceeded those brutish ones of the Hotentots that inhabit there: And had the Virginia King Apochancana, been educated in England, he had, perhaps been as knowing a Divine, and as good a Mathematician as any in it.


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