An Essay Concerning Human Understanding concerns the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. Locke describes the mind at birth as a blank slate filled later through experience.
An 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 the Essay is Locke’s attempt to refute the rationalist notion of innate ideas. Book II sets out Locke’s theory of ideas, including his distinction between passively acquired simple ideas, such as “red,” “sweet,” “round,” etc., and actively built complex ideas, such as numbers, causes and effects, abstract ideas, ideas of substances, identity, and diversity.
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