An Essay Concerning Human Understanding - Book II, Chapters 1-15 Summary & Analysis

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Book II, Chapters 1-15 Summary and Analysis

In Book I, Locke considers whether or not the material of our understanding, that is, ideas are innate or supplied to us by experience. Locke gives several proofs that suggest ideas come solely from experience and in Book II he sets out to give a full account of how ideas are developed from experience and the different aspects of our ideas and how they fit together in understanding. In Book II we find the famous metaphor from Locke of the mind as a "blank slate," though he actually writes that, before experience, the mind is a white piece of paper. Continuing the metaphor, ideas are written on the paper by experience. In this Book, Locke will explain exactly how experience writes those ideas into understanding and exactly how understanding then uses those ideas.

The first...

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