John Locke pp 15-21 | Cite as

Simple and Complex Ideas

  • J. D. Mabbott
Part of the Philosophers in Perspective book series


Locke begins his enquiry into human understanding by apologising for the frequent use throughout the Essay of the word ‘idea’ … ‘that term which, I think, serves best to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks’. He adds ‘I presume it will easily be granted me that there are such ideas in men’s minds; every one is conscious of them in himself, and men’s words and actions will satisfy him that they are in others. Our first enquiry then shall be how they come into the mind’.1


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© J. D. Mabbott 1973

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  • J. D. Mabbott

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