David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Lex Newman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press (2007)
In the 17th century, there was a lively debate in the intellectual circles with which Locke was familiar, revolving around the question whether the human mind is furnished with innate ideas. Although a few scholars declared that there is no good reason to believe, and good reason not to believe, in the existence of innate ideas, the vast majority took for granted that God, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, has inscribed in human minds innate principles that constitute the foundation of knowledge, as well in practical as in theoretical matters. It was in opposition to the latter group, which included Descartes, leading Anglican divines, and the Cambridge Platonists, that Locke directed his attack upon innate ideas in the first book of the Essay.1 In the minds of those who weighed in on one side or the other, the importance of the controversy related to epistemological, moral, and religious doctrines. At the epistemological level, innatists (or, as I will also call them, nativists) held that all knowledge of the natural and supernatural world available to humans is based on fundamental “speculative” axioms, theoretical principles that neither require nor are capable of proof. These principles, such as the causal principle – that nothing comes from nothing – or the principle of non-contradiction – that nothing can both be and not be at the same time, were taken to be both universal and necessary, and hence impossible to derive from experience. To the mind of an innatist, if these principles are not based on experience and are not (as chimerical ideas were thought to be) constructed out..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
E. J. Lowe (2005). Locke. Routledge.
Stephen P. Stich (ed.) (1975). Innate Ideas. University of California Press.
Shaun Nichols (2005). Innateness and Moral Psychology. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 353--369.
Keith Allen (2010). Locke and the Nature of Ideas. Archiv fur Geschishte der Philosophie 92 (3):236-255.
Raffaella Rosa (2004). Locke's "Essay, Book I": The Question-Begging Status of the Anti-Nativist Arguments. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):37 - 64.
Saul Traiger, IDEAS. Locke Used the Term "to Stand for Whatsoever is the Object of the Understanding When a Man Thinks.".
I. C. Tipton (ed.) (1977). Locke on Human Understanding: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads64 ( #19,248 of 1,089,047 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #30,948 of 1,089,047 )
How can I increase my downloads?