Spinoza: The Ethics
John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

John_LockeAn Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a 1689 work by John Locke setting out a new theory of knowledge influenced by contemporary scientific developments. In Book 1 of the essay, Locke strongly attacked Cartesian rationalism and its doctrine that the human mind has access to innate ideas. In Book 2 he posited that the mind was like a white sheet of paper (often paraphrased as a 'blank slate'), with its only source of knowledge being experience.

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Chinese University of Hong Kong: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Framed HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Essay concerning Human Understanding, edited by Alexander Campbell Fraser. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, with other works by Locke, Berkeley and Hume. (Great Books of the Western World edition, 1937). Multiple formats.

Liberty Fund: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

The Guardian: The 100 best nonfiction books - No 90 – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1689), by Robert McCrum, 23 October 2017.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: John Locke (1632-1704) - John Locke: Knowledge of the External World.

Librivox: An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding - public domain audiobook.

Marxists.org: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding - excerpts.

Penn State University: John Locke Resources, by John C. Attig.

PhilPapers: Locke - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding - bibliography with open source option.

Philosophy Pages: A Guide to Locke's Essay, by Garth Kemmerling.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: John Locke - Locke's Philosophy of Science.

Wikipedia: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

YouTube: Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" Book I, ch's 1-2 | Book II | Finishing up Locke's Essay and Starting Hume's Inquiry. Lectures by Adam Rosenfeld.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Aristotle: Posterior Analytics - established a demonstrative concept of science at odds with the experimental natural philosophy of Locke's day.

Descartes: Discourse on Method and The Meditations - argue for the existence of innate ideas in the human mind, a position which is the target of a systematic critique in the first book of the Essay.

Leibniz: New Essays on Human Understanding - a direct rationalist response to and critique of Locke's argument.

Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

Voltaire: Philosophical Letters - popularised Locke's work in France.

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