April 13, 2014
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Book I, Chapter II: "No Innate Principles in the Mind"
As the title suggests, the main problem in this chapter of Locke's Essay is whether or not innate principles exist in the mind. The term "innate principles" refers to ideas which are necessarily in the mind by the time of birth. This is what John Locke's Chapter II is all about. The concept from Locke is that these innate ideas are understood either right away at the start of consciousness, or recognized later in life after some relevant experience in the subjects. The key trait which distinguishes innate principles from most ideas is the contention that they are not learned by a mind after birth. But, instead they are always intentionally known or else they guide the development of reason in such a way that makes their discovery foreseeable and absolute.
Locke's interpretation had led him to believe that one of the most common sources of error and false pretense in his day was the generally accepted belief in innate ideas. They were also referred to as the "self-evident truths." These truth were the foundation for many of the popular doctrines proclaimed by intellectuals of the time, and were generally accepted as true by the people who chose to blindly follow and not think for themselves. According to Locke, innate ideas don't exist and everything that comes into the mind is from experience. Innate ideas are ideas that are said to be implanted in the human mind without any prior knowledge or experience leading to that idea's origin. Innate ideas originate in the human mind and not from anything external, outside of the mind.
The principles that most do agree with by all rational minds are called "universal principles." The Aristotelian...