The Documents

The Development of the American Character

Essay on Human Understanding

Essay on Human Understanding

Essay on Human Understanding

Short Description

This essay was the first attempt on a great scale to estimate the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. Locke’s authority as a philosopher was unrivaled in England, and he was called “the unquestioned founder of the analytic philosophy of mind.”

Remnant Trust Description

Bearing Locke’s signature. The foundation of liberalism Two Treatises of Government, The foundation of the principles of democracy. English philosopher. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Locke was a lecturer in Greek rhetoric, and philosophy at that university and apparently practiced medicine, though he never received a medical degree. He became confidential secretary to the Earl of Shaftesbury, who, as one of the proprietors of Carolina, induced Locke to write a well-known constitution of the colony in 1669. Suspected of complicity in Shaftebury’s plot against the government, Locke was forced to leave England, and he lived in the Netherlands from 1684 to 1689. He returned to England at the accession of William and Mary and was appointed commissioner of appeals. First edition, first issue, with an inlaid leaf at the front bearing Locke’s signature. First issue, with the cancelland title, the dedication undated. Inlaid at the front is an endpaper leaf bearing Locke’s full signature above the bookplate of Richard Palmer. With the bookplates of the renown Johnsonian collector R.B. Adam and the great collector of literature and Americana, Roderick Terry. With several contemporary ink corrections and additions. “The Essay Concerning Humane Understanding...was the first attempt on a great scale, and in the Baconian spirit, to estimate critically the certainty and the adequacy of human knowledge”. “[Locke’s] design... covers a remarkably wide field of investigation into human knowledge; it is the first modern attempt to analyse it”. “Locke’s authority as a philosopher was unrivaled in England during the first half of the eighteenth century... His spiritual descendant, J.S. Mill, indicates his main achievement by calling him ‘the unquestioned founder of the analytic philosophy of mind’”. An extraordinary copy of a landmark book, rare in the first edition, containing Locke’s signature and with a superb provenance.