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Every Man being conscious to himself, That he thinks, and that which his Mind is employ'd about whilst thinking, being the Ideas, that are there, 'tis past doubt, that Men have in their Minds several Ideas, such as are those expressed by the words, Whiteness, Hardness, Sweetness, Thinking, Motion, Man, Elephant, Army, Drunkenness, and others: It is in the first place then to be inquired, How he comes by them?I know it is a received Doctrine, That Men have native Ideas, and original Characters stamped upon their Minds, in their very first Being.John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an influential English philosopher and social contract theorist.
If such a consent was not achieved, Locke argued in favour of a right of rebellion, which he referred to as an "appeal to heaven".
The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others.
For the saving the long progression of the thoughts to remote and first principles in every case, the mind should provide itself several stages; that is to say, intermediate principles, which it might have recourse to in the examining those positions that come in its way.
These, though they are not self-evident principles, yet, if they have been made out from them by a wary and unquestionable deduction, may be depended on as certain and infallible truths, and serve as unquestionable truths to prove other points depending upon them, by a nearer and shorter view than remote and general maxims.
From whence it is obvious to conclude that, since our Faculties are not fitted to penetrate into the internal Fabrick and real Essences of Bodies; but yet plainly discover to us the Being of a GOD, and the Knowledge of our selves, enough to lead us into a full and clear discovery of our Duty, and great Concernment, it will become us, as rational Creatures, to imploy those Faculties we have about what they are most adapted to, and follow the direction of Nature, where it seems to point us out the way.
Had you or I been born at the Bay of Soldania, possibly our Thoughts, and Notions, had not exceeded those brutish ones of the Hotentots that inhabit there: And had the Virginia King Apochancana, been educated in England, he had, perhaps been as knowing a Divine, and as good a Mathematician as any in it.Truth then seems to me, in the proper import of the Word, to signifie nothing but the joining or separating of Signs, as the Things signified by them do agree or disagree one with another; which way of joining or separating of Signs, we call Proposition.So that Truth properly belongs only to Propositions: whereof there are two sorts, viz.Reading is for the improvement of the understanding.The improvement of the understanding is for two ends; first, for our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver and make out that knowledge to others.Therefore he, who would be universally knowing, must acquaint himself with the objects of all sciences.But this is not necessary to a gentleman, whose proper calling is the service of his country; and so is most properly concerned in moral and political knowledge; and thus the studies, which more immediately belong to his calling, are those which treat of virtues and vices, of civil society, and the arts of government; and will take in also law and history.And therefore he that incloses land and has a greater plenty of the conveniences of life from ten acres than he could have from a hundred left to nature, may truly be said to give ninety acres to mankind.I have before mentioned mathematics, wherein algebra gives new helps and views to the understanding.He who appropriates land to himself by his labor, does not lessen but increases the common stock of mankind.For the provisions serving to the support of human life, produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, are ten times more than those which are yielded by an acre of land, of an equal richness lying waste in common.