An essay concerning human understanding the epistle to the reader summary

It is not that I think any name, how great soever, set at the beginning of a book, will be able to cover the faults that are to be found in it. 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. Your lordship is known to have so far advanced your speculations in the most abstract and general knowledge of things, beyond the ordinary reach or common methods, that your allowance and approbation of the design of this Treatise will at least preserve it from being condemned without reading, and will prevail to have those parts a little weighted, which might otherwise perhaps be thought to deserve no consideration, for being somewhat out of the common road.

An essay concerning human understanding the epistle to the reader summary

The essay concerns the topics of human knowledge and understanding. Hobbes, Locke and Russo all focus of the idea of the state of nature before politics was prevalent.

In his second treatise he expresses that he sees the mind as a blank slate in which we learn everything we know in life from experience alone and we discover natural laws. However Locke did believe in god but wholly believed our brains had be placed in our head by God giving us the ability to think.

The Essay originated init was the genesis on the Books which followed. Locke expanded his comments repeatedly before publishing the book nearly twenty years later and continued to add to them with more material for the four further editions.

An essay concerning human understanding the epistle to the reader summary

Locke records in his epistle to the reader that a group of five or six friends met to discuss a point in philosophy and when they got stuck with their ideas, Locke came to realise that people struggle with the pursuit of knowledge mainly because they are completely unaware of their own limits of understanding.

Locke goes on to explain how he studied the foundations of rational thought in his own mind, and so generated instructions for the possibility of a reasonable treatise. We have our understandings no less different than our palates; and he that thinks the same truth shall be equally relished by every one in the same dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the same sort of cookery.Seminar on John Locke, ‘Epistle to the Reader’ from 'An Essay Concerning Human Understanding' In , John Locke wrote ‘An essay concerning human understanding’, it is one of his two most famous works; consisting of 4 books.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding begins with a short epistle to the reader and a general introduction to the work as a whole. Following this introductory material, the Essay is divided into four parts, which are designated as books.

Book I has to do with the subject of innate ideas. This. Jul 30,  · Introduction. An Essay concerning Human Understanding As thou knowest not what is the way of the Spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of .

Summary. The Essay Concerning Human Understanding is sectioned into four books. Taken together, they comprise an extremely long and detailed theory of knowledge starting from the very basics and building up.


Book I, "Of Innate Ideas," is an attack on the Cartesian view of knowledge, which holds that human beings are born with certain ideas already in their mind. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding ()- An inquiry into the nature of knowledge that attempts to settle what questions hu- man understanding is and is not equipped to handle.

The Essay Concerning Human Understanding is the only work on epistemology and metaphysics in a lifetime collection dominated by religious and political writings.

There is no indication that Locke showed any interest in epistemology prior to , electing instead to focus his energies on questions of politics, religion, and science.

John Locke (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)