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February 2019

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.

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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: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Multiple formats.

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

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Spinoza: The Ethics

SpinozaEthics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), is a Latin philosophical treatise by Baruch Spinoza, written in around 1664-5 and published shortly after Spinoza's death in 1677.

Spinoza presents his argument as a series of propositions, derived logically from a small number of axioms after the manner of Euclidean geometry. His system is monistic, in that posits reality as consisting of a single substance, and pantheistic in that identifies this substance with God.

Spinoza's conception of God is, however, sufficiently abstract that his thought has often been equated with atheism. This was for a long time a source of huge opprobrium, which meant that his influence on the radical enlightment of the seventeenth and eightenth centuries was largely subterranean. Since then, influence in his work has consistently grown. Among his twentieth century admirers was Albert Einstein who once said that he believed in Spinoza's God 'who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.'

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Free online texts

Bibliotheca Augustana: Ethica Ordine Geometrica Demonstrata. Latin text, HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

EthicaDB: The Ethics. Translations in multiple European languages. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Ethics, translated by R.H.M. Elwes. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Improvement of the Understanding, Ethics and Correspondence, translated by R.H.M. Elwes. Multiple formats.

Middle Tennessee State University: Ethics, translated by RH.M. Elwes. HTML format.

SpinozaBase: Ethica. Latin text. HTML format.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation by R.H.M. Elwes. HTML and other formats.

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