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Volume :37 Issue : 147 2019      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Controversy between the Innate and the Acquired: John Locke's, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding – Book I as a Model (in Arabic).

Auther : Mabrouk Tahtah

There is a great controversy concerning the origin of ideas, and whether any of mankind’s ideas are innate or acquired. Are we born with them? Do they naturally belong to our minds? Or do they stem from experience? In his first book of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke utterly denies anything related to the innate. He attacks the doctrine of innate knowledge and states that all our ideas are acquired. The main question that must be asked here is: Against whom is Locke's polemic directed?
The answers to this question given today are somewhat confusing. The view that is gaining popularity among historians of philosophy is that the doctrine of innate ideas which Locke opposed was the theory supported by Descartes. Thus, Locke's well-known polemic was directed against Descartes and Cartesianism. As is widely known, the only person mentioned by Locke in his work is Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
However, when Locke's own debt to Descartes is brought to light and the rationalist elements in his writings are rediscovered, and when the concept of innate ideas as viewed by Descartes are closely examined, one would feel that the answers provided are unsatisfactory.

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