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Research Papers on Locke's Theory of Knowledge

Locke’s theory of knowledge research papers detail his Essay on Human Understanding and depends heavily on the ideas that are formed in the mind from sensations provided by experience and ideas that are in the mind which are cognizant to reflection. Learn more in a custom research paper on Locke or his theory of knowledge.

John Locke is the reason behind the popular acceptance of the phrase “tabula rasa”, which is translated as meaning a clean slate or a blank tablet. What this means in terms of Locke’s theory of ideas, is that a baby is born into this world with a clear mind. There is nothing imprinted on the brain, no innate ideas which are born with the child.  Instead, everything that a baby learns, from that first moment, is formed through impressions derived through the infant’s senses. Locke argued that, throughout life, we are limited in our knowledge and ideas by those things which we have experienced and if we do not have sensual input, we cannot know anything.  Locke's Theory of Knowledge

Locke assumed that, while some ideas are apparent at a very early age, this is not evidence of inherent knowledge, but of senses working from birth to distinguish such things as color and tastes. From there Locke points out that, if people have no innate knowledge from birth, they cannot have any innate principles guiding their behavior. In support of this theory, Locke offered the fact that nowhere in the world are there any absolute truths to which all people can universally agree. Building upon those first sensations after birth, Locke believed that human beings developed both simple and complex ideas.

In a research paper on Locke's Theory of Knowledge, do the following:

  1. Review John Locke's introductory paragraphs to his theory of understanding.
  2. Critique the sensation and perception which go into the ideas that are formed in the mind.
  3. Concentrate on the sensation and perception because if Locke's explanation of these is faulty, then his notion of the ideas that form in the mind is faulty.

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