An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Book - 2008
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Oxford University Press
John Locke's classic work An Essay Concerning Human Understanding laid the foundation of British empiricism and remains of enduring interest today. Rejecting doctrines of innate principles and ideas, Locke shows how all our ideas, even the most abstract and complex, are grounded in human experience--attained by sensation of external things or reflection upon our mental activities. A thorough examination of the communication of ideas through language and the convention of taking words as signs of ideas paves the way for his penetrating critique of the limitations of ideas and the extent of our knowledge of ourselves, the world, God and morals. This abridgement, based on P.H. Nidditch's acclaimed critical edition, retains in full all key passages, thus enabling Locke's arguments to be more clearly followed. The new introduction by Pauline Phemister provides valuable background on Locke's essay, illuminating its arguments and conclusions. The book also includes a chronological table of significant events, select bibliography, succinct explanatory notes, and an index--all of which supply additional historical information and aids to navigating the text.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780199296620
Characteristics: lvi, 520 p. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Phemister, Pauline


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Feb 15, 2018

I cannot understand, and am hostile to the supposed justification for, the excisions made from this work: if none were made, it would only be about 150 pages longer, which is still within the range of OUP Classics publications. There is more editing as one gets nearer to the end. Reading I had a few surprises: several mentions of pineapples and how delicious they are, and even of football. At 3.4.12 (pg. 285-86 in this edition) there is a wondrous discussion of animals, their qualities and even their reason and ultimately of God and how they and man are to be conceived of in nature. The index is okay; the appendix is useful for the development and exposition of arguments (its good that it was added); and the explanatory notes are at times silly (eg. 'Euclid', 'Moses', 'extrinsical', 'in infinitum' all get entries). The retention of the spelling and capitalization from the late 1600s makes it a bit more fun and interesting to read.


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