more from John Locke

Single Idea 2603

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind]

Full Idea

To say a notion is imprinted on the mind, but the mind is ignorant of it, is to make this impression nothing. .But if the capacity of knowing be the test of innateness, all the truths a man ever comes to know will be every one of them innate.

Gist of Idea

If we aren't aware that an idea is innate, the concept of innate is meaningless; if we do, all ideas seem innate


John Locke (Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed) [1694], 1.02.05)

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', ed/tr. Nidditch,P.H. [OUP 1979], p.50

A Reaction

The problem is, I think, that Locke is relying wholly on introspection to decide on what is innate. If you turn to Chomsky's evidence, of children learning more language than they could possibly taught, there seems to be lots of evidence.