Locke Essay Concerning Human

After we had a while puzzled our selves, without coming any nearer a Resolution of those Doubts which perplexed us, it came into my Thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and that, before we set our selves upon Enquiries of that Nature, it was necessary to examine our own Abilities, and see, what Objects our Understanding were, or were not fitted to deal with.This I proposed to the Company, who all readily assented; and thereupon it was agreed, that this should be our first Enquiry.They are also vital reading, often illuminating Locke’s argument in the later work.

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This great source of most of the ideas we have, depending wholly upon our senses, and derived by them to the understanding, I call SENSATION. And such are perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds;- which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understandings as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting our senses.

This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense.

-I know it is a received doctrine, that men have native ideas, and original characters, stamped upon their minds in their very first being.

This opinion I have at large examined already; and, I suppose what I have said in the foregoing Book will be much more easily admitted, when I have shown whence the understanding may get all the ideas it has; and by what ways and degrees they may come into the mind;- for which I shall appeal to every one's own observation and experience. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:- How comes it to be furnished?

But, equally it does not seem to be intended as a draft of a book.

In this sense it stands in contrast with Draft B, which is titled ‘’, and is organised in a way which promises publication, no doubt after revision and elaboration, but which in content is closely related to the earlier draft.

Our observation employed either, about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. First, our Senses, conversant about particular sensible objects, do convey into the mind several distinct perceptions of things, according to those various ways wherein those objects do affect them.

These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring. And thus we come by those ideas we have of yellow, white, heat, cold, soft, hard, bitter, sweet, and all those which we call sensible qualities; which when I say the senses convey into the mind, I mean, they from external objects convey into the mind what produces there those perceptions. Secondly, the other fountain from which experience furnisheth the understanding with ideas is,- the perception of the operations of our own mind within us, as it is employed about the ideas it has got;- which operations, when the soul comes to reflect on and consider, do furnish the understanding with another set of ideas, which could not be had from things without.

Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety?

Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself.

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