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INTRODUCTION

BOOK I. NEITHER PRINCIPLES NOR IDEAS ARE INNATE.

I. NO INNATE SPECULATIVE PRINCIPLES

II. NO INNATE PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES

III. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS CONCERNING INNATE PRINCIPLES, BOTH

SPECULATIVE AND PRACTICAL

BOOK II. OF IDEAS.

I. OF IDEAS IN GENERAL, AND THEIR ORIGINAL

II. OF SIMPLE IDEAS

III. OF SIMPLE IDEAS OF SENSATION

IV. IDEA OF SOLIDITY

V. OF SIMPLE IDEAS OF DIVERS SENSES

VI. OF SIMPLE IDEAS OF REFLECTION ...

VII. OF SIMPLE IDEAS OF BOTH SENSATION AND REFLECTION

VIII. SOME FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS CONCERNING OUR SIMPLE

IDEAS OF SENSATION

IX. OF PERCEPTION

X. OF RETENTION

XI. OF DISCERNING, AND OTHER OPERATIONS OF THE MIND

XII. OF COMPLEX IDEAS

XIII. OF SIMPLE MODES:--AND FIRST, OF THE SIMPLE MODES OF

THE IDEA OF SPACE

XIV. IDEA OF DURATION AND ITS SIMPLE MODES

XV. IDEAS OF DURATION AND EXPANSION, CONSIDERED TOGETHER

XVI. IDEA OF NUMBER AND ITS SIMPLE MODES

XVII. OF THE IDEA OF INFINITY

XVIII. OF OTHER SIMPLE MODES

XIX. OF THE MODES OF THINKING

XX. OF MODES OF PLEASURE AND PAIN

XXI. OF THE IDEA OF POWER

XXII. OF MIXED MODES

XXIII. OF OUR COMPLEX IDEAS OF SUBSTANCES

XXIV. OF COLLECTIVE IDEAS OF SUBSTANCES

XXV. OF IDEAS OF RELATION

XXVI. OF IDEAS OF CAUSE AND EFFECT, AND OTHER RELATIONS

XXVII. OF IDEAS OF IDENTITY AND DIVERSITY

XXVIII. OF IDEAS OF OTHER RELATIONS

XXIX. OF CLEAR AND OBSCURE, DISTINCT AND CONFUSED IDEAS

XXX. OF REAL AND FANTASTICAL IDEAS

XXXI. OF ADEQUATE AND INADEQUATE IDEAS

XXXII. OF TRUE AND FALSE IDEAS

XXXIII. OF THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THOMAS, EARL OF PEMBROKE AND MONTGOMERY, BARON

HERBERT OF CARDIFF LORD ROSS, OF KENDAL, PAR, FITZHUGH, MARMION, ST.

QUINTIN, AND SHURLAND;

LORD PRESIDENT OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL; AND

LORD

LIEUTENANT OF THE COUNTY OF WILTS, AND OF SOUTH WALES.

MY LORD,

This Treatise, which is grown up under your lordship's eye, and has

ventured into the world by your order, does now, by a natural kind of

right, come to your lordship for that protection which you several years

since promised it. It is not that I think any name, how great soever,

set at the beginning of a book, will be able to cover the faults that

are to be found in it. Things in print must stand and fall by their own

worth, or the reader's fancy. But there being nothing more to be desired

for truth than a fair unprejudiced hearing, nobody is more likely to

procure me that than your lordship, who are allowed to have got so

intimate an acquaintance with her, in her more retired recesses. Your

lordship is known to have so far advanced your speculations in the most

abstract and general knowledge of things, beyond the ordinary reach or

common methods, that your al owance and approbation of the design of

this Treatise wil at least preserve it from being condemned without

reading, and wil prevail to have those parts a little weighed, which

might otherwise perhaps be thought to deserve no consideration, for

being somewhat out of the common road. The imputation of Novelty is a

terrible charge amongst those who judge of men's heads, as they do of

their perukes, by the fashion, and can al ow none to be right but the

received doctrines. Truth scarce ever yet carried it by vote anywhere

at its first appearance: new opinions are always suspected, and usually

opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already

common. But truth, like gold, is not the less so for being newly brought

out of the mine. It is trial and examination must give it price, and

not any antique fashion; and though it be not yet current by the public

stamp, yet it may, for al that, be as old as nature, and is certainly

not the less genuine. Your lordship can give great and convincing

instances of this, whenever you please to oblige the public with some

of those large and comprehensive discoveries you have made of truths

hitherto unknown, unless to some few, from whom your lordship has been

pleased not whol y to conceal them. This alone were a sufficient reason,

were there no other, why I should dedicate this Essay to your lordship;

and its having some little correspondence with some parts of that nobler

and vast system of the sciences your lordship has made so new, exact,

and instructive a draught of, I think it glory enough, if your lordship

permit me to boast, that here and there I have fallen into some thoughts

not wholly different from yours. If your lordship think fit that, by

your encouragement, this should appear in the world, I hope it may be a

reason, some time or other, to lead your lordship further; and you will

al ow me to say, that you here give the world an earnest of something

that, if they can bear with this, will be truly worth their expectation.

This, my lord, shows what a present I here make to your lordship; just

such as the poor man does to his rich and great neighbour, by whom the

basket of flowers or fruit is not il taken, though he has more plenty

of his own growth, and in much greater perfection. Worthless things

receive a value when they are made the offerings of respect, esteem, and

gratitude: these you have given me so mighty and peculiar reasons to

have, in the highest degree, for your lordship, that if they can add a

price to what they go along with, proportionable to their own greatness,

I can with confidence brag, I here make your lordship the richest

present you ever received. This I am sure, I am under the greatest

obligations to seek all occasions to acknowledge a long train of favours

I have received from your lordship; favours, though great and important

in themselves, yet made much more so by the forwardness, concern,

and kindness, and other obliging circumstances, that never failed to

accompany them. To all this you are pleased to add that which gives yet

more weight and relish to al the rest: you vouchsafe to continue me in

some degrees of your esteem, and allow me a place in your good thoughts,

I had almost said friendship. This, my lord, your words and actions so

constantly show on al occasions, even to others when I am absent, that

it is not vanity in me to mention what everybody knows: but it would be

want of good manners not to acknowledge what so many are witnesses of,

and every day tell me I am indebted to your lordship for. I wish they

could as easily assist my gratitude, as they convince me of the great

and growing engagements it has to your lordship. This I am sure, I

should write of the UNDERSTANDING without having any, if I were not

extremely sensible of them, and did not lay hold on this opportunity to

testify to the world how much I am obliged to be, and how much I am,

MY LORD,

Your Lordship's most humble and most obedient servant,

JOHN LOCKE

2 Dorset Court, 24th of May, 1689

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER

READER,

I have put into thy hands what has been the diversion of some of my idle

and heavy hours. If it has the good luck to prove so of any of thine,

and thou hast but half so much pleasure in reading as I had in writing

it, thou wilt as little think thy money, as I do my pains, il bestowed.

Mistake not this for a commendation of my work; nor conclude, because I

was pleased with the doing of it, that therefore I am fondly taken with

it now it is done. He that hawks at larks and sparrows has no less

sport, though a much less considerable quarry, than he that flies at

nobler game: and he is little acquainted with the subject of this

treatise--the UNDERSTANDING--who does not know that, as it is the most

elevated faculty of the soul, so it is employed with a greater and more

constant delight than any of the other. Its searches after truth are a

sort of hawking and hunting, wherein the very pursuit makes a great

part of the pleasure. Every step the mind takes in its progress towards

Knowledge makes some discovery, which is not only new, but the best too,

for the time at least.

For the understanding, like the eye, judging of objects only by its own

sight, cannot but be pleased with what it discovers, having less regret

for what has escaped it, because it is unknown. Thus he who has raised

himself above the alms-basket, and, not content to live lazily on scraps

of begged opinions, sets his own thoughts on work, to find and follow

truth, wil (whatever he lights on) not miss the hunter's satisfaction;

every moment of his pursuit will reward his pains with some delight; and

he wil have reason to think his time not ill spent, even when he cannot

much boast of any great acquisition.

This, Reader, is the entertainment of those who let loose their own

thoughts, and follow them in writing; which thou oughtest not to envy

them, since they afford thee an opportunity of the like diversion, if

thou wilt make use of thy own thoughts in reading. It is to them, if

they are thy own, that I refer myself: but if they are taken upon trust

from others, it is no great matter what they are; they are not following

truth, but some meaner consideration; and it is not worth while to be

concerned what he says or thinks, who says or thinks only as he is

directed by another. If thou judgest for thyself I know thou wilt judge

candidly, and then I shall not be harmed or offended, whatever be thy

censure. For though it be certain that there is nothing in this Treatise

of the truth whereof I am not fully persuaded, yet I consider myself as

liable to mistakes as I can think thee, and know that this book must

stand or fall with thee, not by any opinion I have of it, but thy own.

If thou findest little in it new or instructive to thee, thou art not to

blame me for it. It was not meant for those that had already mastered

this subject, and made a thorough acquaintance with their own

understandings; but for my own information, and the satisfaction of

a few friends, who acknowledged themselves not to have sufficiently

considered it.

Were it fit to trouble thee with the history of this Essay, I should

tell thee, that five or six friends meeting at my chamber, and

discoursing on a subject very remote from this, found themselves quickly

at a stand, by the difficulties that rose on every side. After we had

awhile puzzled ourselves, 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 ourselves upon inquiries of that

nature, it was necessary to examine our own abilities, and see what

OBJECTS our understandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with. This

I proposed to the company, who al readily assented; and thereupon

it was agreed that this should be our first inquiry. Some hasty and

undigested thoughts, on a subject I had never before considered, which

I set down against our next meeting, gave the first entrance into this

Discourse; which having been thus begun by chance, was continued by

intreaty; written by incoherent parcels; and after long intervals of

neglect, resumed again, as my humour or occasions permitted; and at

last, in a retirement where an attendance on my health gave me leisure,

it was brought into that order thou now seest it.

This discontinued way of writing may have occasioned, besides others,

two contrary faults, viz., that too little and too much may be said in

it. If thou findest anything wanting, I shall be glad that what I have

written gives thee any desire that I should have gone further. If it

seems too much to thee, thou must blame the subject; for when I put pen

to paper, I thought all I should have to say on this matter would have

been contained in one sheet of paper; but the further I went the

larger prospect I had; new discoveries led me still on, and so it grew

insensibly to the bulk it now appears in. I wil not deny, but possibly

it might be reduced to a narrower compass than it is, and that some

parts of it might be contracted, the way it has been writ in, by

catches, and many long intervals of interruption, being apt to cause

some repetitions. But to confess the truth, I am now too lazy, or too

busy, to make it shorter. I am not ignorant how little I herein consult

my own reputation, when I knowingly let it go with a fault, so apt to

disgust the most judicious, who are always the nicest readers. But they

who know sloth is apt to content itself with any excuse, will pardon me

if mine has prevailed on me, where I think I have a very good one. I

will not therefore allege in my defence, that the same notion, having

different respects, may be convenient or necessary to prove or

il ustrate several parts of the same discourse, and that so it has

happened in many parts of this: but waiving that, I shall frankly avow

that I have sometimes dwelt long upon the same argument, and expressed

it different ways, with a quite different design. I pretend not to

publish this Essay for the information of men of large thoughts and

quick apprehensions; to such masters of knowledge I profess myself a

scholar, and therefore warn them beforehand not to expect anything here,

but what, being spun out of my own coarse thoughts, is fitted to men of

my own size, to whom, perhaps, it will not be unacceptable that I have

taken some pains to make plain and familiar to their thoughts some

truths which established prejudice, or the abstractedness of the ideas

themselves, might render difficult. Some objects had need be turned on

every side; and when the notion is new, as I confess some of these are

to me; or out of the ordinary road, as I suspect they wil appear to

others, it is not one simple view of it that will gain it admittance

into every understanding, or fix it there with a clear and lasting

impression. There are few, I believe, who have not observed in

themselves or others, that what in one way of proposing was very

obscure, another way of expressing it has made very clear and

intelligible; though afterwards the mind found little difference in the

phrases, and wondered why one failed to be understood more than the

other. But everything does not hit alike upon every man's imagination.

We have our understandings no less different than our palates; and he

that thinks the same truth shall be equally relished by every one in the

same dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the same sort of

cookery: the meat may be the same, and the nourishment good, yet every

one not be able to receive it with that seasoning; and it must be

dressed another way, if you wil have it go down with some, even of

strong constitutions. The truth is, those who advised me to publish it,

advised me, for this reason, to publish it as it is: and since I have

been brought to let it go abroad, I desire it should be understood by

whoever gives himself the pains to read it. I have so little affection

to be in print, that if I were not flattered this Essay might be of some

use to others, as I think it has been to me, I should have confined

it to the view of some friends, who gave the first occasion to it. My

appearing therefore in print being on purpose to be as useful as I may,

I think it necessary to make what I have to say as easy and intelligible

to all sorts of readers as I can. And I had much rather the speculative

and quick-sighted should complain of my being in some parts tedious,

than that any one, not accustomed to abstract speculations, or

prepossessed with different notions, should mistake or not comprehend my

meaning.

It wil possibly be censured as a great piece of vanity or insolence in

me, to pretend to instruct this our knowing age; it amounting to little

less, when I own, that I publish this Essay with hopes it may be useful

to others. But, if it may be permitted to speak freely of those who

with a feigned modesty condemn as useless what they themselves write,

methinks it savours much more of vanity or insolence to publish a book

for any other end; and he fails very much of that respect he owes the

public, who prints, and consequently expects men should read, that

wherein he intends not they should meet with anything of use to

themselves or others: and should nothing else be found allowable in this

Treatise, yet my design wil not cease to be so; and the goodness of my

intention ought to be some excuse for the worthlessness of my present.

It is that chiefly which secures me from the fear of censure, which

I expect not to escape more than better writers. Men's principles,

notions, and relishes are so different, that it is hard to find a book

which pleases or displeases all men. I acknowledge the age we live in is

not the least knowing, and therefore not the most easy to be satisfied.

If I have not the good luck to please, yet nobody ought to be offended

with me. I plainly tell al my readers, except half a dozen, this

Treatise was not at first intended for them; and therefore they need not

be at the trouble to be of that number. But yet if any one thinks fit to

be angry and rail at it, he may do it securely, for I shall find some

better way of spending my time than in such kind of conversation. I

shall always have the satisfaction to have aimed sincerely at truth

and usefulness, though in one of the meanest ways. The commonwealth

of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty

designs, in advancing the sciences, wil leave lasting monuments to the

admiration of posterity: but every one must not hope to be a Boyle or

a Sydenham; and in an age that produces such masters as the great

Huygenius and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with some others of that

strain, it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in

clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that

lies in the way to knowledge;--which certainly had been very much more

advanced in the world, if the endeavours of ingenious and industrious

men had not been much cumbered with the learned but frivolous use

of uncouth, affected, or unintelligible terms, introduced into the

sciences, and there made an art of, to that degree that Philosophy,

which is nothing but the true knowledge of things, was thought unfit or

incapable to be brought into wel -bred company and polite conversation.

Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language, have so

long passed for mysteries of science; and hard and misapplied words,

with little or no meaning, have, by prescription, such a right to be

mistaken for deep learning and height of speculation, that it will not

be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that

they are but the covers of ignorance, and hindrance of true knowledge.

To break in upon the sanctuary of vanity and ignorance wil be, I

suppose, some service to human understanding; though so few are apt to

think they deceive or are deceived in the use of words; or that the

language of the sect they are of has any faults in it which ought to be

examined or corrected, that I hope I shall be pardoned if I have in the

Third Book dwelt long on this subject, and endeavoured to make it

so plain, that neither the inveterateness of the mischief, nor the

prevalency of the fashion, shall be any excuse for those who will not

take care about the meaning of their own words, and wil not suffer the

significancy of their expressions to be inquired into.

I have been told that a short Epitome of this Treatise, which was

printed in 1688, was by some condemned without reading, because INNATE

IDEAS were denied in it; they too hastily concluding, that if innate

ideas were not supposed, there would be little left either of the notion

or proof of spirits. If any one take the like offence at the entrance of

this Treatise, I shall desire him to read it through; and then I hope he

will be convinced, that the taking away false foundations is not to the

prejudice but advantage of truth, which is never injured or endangered

so much as when mixed with, or built on, falsehood. In the Second

Edition I added as followeth:--

The bookseller wil not forgive me if I say nothing of this New Edition,

which he has promised, by the correctness of it, shall make amends for

the many faults committed in the former. He desires too, that it should

be known that it has one whole new chapter concerning Identity, and many

additions and amendments in other places. These I must inform my reader

are not all new matter, but most of them either further confirmation of

what I had said, or explications, to prevent others being mistaken in

the sense of what was formerly printed, and not any variation in me from

it.

I must only except the alterations I have made in Book II. chap. xxi.

What I had there written concerning Liberty and the Will, I thought

deserved as accurate a view as I am capable of; those subjects having

in al ages exercised the learned part of the world with questions and

difficulties, that have not a little perplexed morality and divinity,

those parts of knowledge that men are most concerned to be clear in.

Upon a closer inspection into the working of men's minds, and a stricter

examination of those motives and views they are turned by, I have found

reason somewhat to alter the thoughts I formerly had concerning that

which gives the last determination to the Wil in all voluntary actions.

This I cannot forbear to acknowledge to the world with as much freedom

and readiness; as I at first published what then seemed to me to be

right; thinking myself more concerned to quit and renounce any opinion

of my own, than oppose that of another, when truth appears against it.

For it is truth alone I seek, and that wil always be welcome to me,

when or from whencesoever it comes. But what forwardness soever I have

to resign any opinion I have, or to recede from anything I have writ,

upon the first evidence of any error in it; yet this I must own, that I

have not had the good luck to receive any light from those exceptions

I have met with in print against any part of my book, nor have, from

anything that has been urged against it, found reason to alter my sense

in any of the points that have been questioned. Whether the subject I

have in hand requires often more thought and attention than cursory

readers, at least such as are prepossessed, are willing to allow; or

whether any obscurity in my expressions casts a cloud over it, and

these notions are made difficult to others' apprehensions in my way of

treating them; so it is, that my meaning, I find, is often mistaken, and

I have not the good luck to be everywhere rightly understood.

Of this the ingenious author of the Discourse Concerning the Nature of

Man has given me a late instance, to mention no other. For the civility

of his expressions, and the candour that belongs to his order, forbid me

to think that he would have closed his Preface with an insinuation, as

if in what I had said, Book II. ch. xxvi , concerning the third rule

which men refer their actions to, I went about to make virtue vice and

vice virtue, unless he had mistaken my meaning; which he could not have

done if he had given himself the trouble to consider what the argument

was I was then upon, and what was the chief design of that chapter,

plainly enough set down in the fourth section and those following. For

I was there not laying down moral rules, but showing the original and

nature of moral ideas, and enumerating the rules men make use of in

moral relations, whether these rules were true or false: and pursuant

thereto I tel what is everywhere cal ed virtue and vice; which "alters not the nature of things," though men generally do judge of and

denominate their actions according to the esteem and fashion of the

place and sect they are of.

If he had been at the pains to