preview

The Existence Of Innate Ideas

Better Essays
John Locke is a great English philosopher of the late 17th century. In Book 1 of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he presents many ideas of knowledge and its origins. He rejects the existence of innate ideas and proves his beliefs with many arguments, one being that “universal consent proves nothing innate” (Locke 630). Another argument is that children and idiots do not have this knowledge imprinted on their minds, which must prove innate knowledge to be nonexistent. I disagree with Locke because I believe we all have immortal souls that carry on knowledge from our past lives, and in the theory of recollection corresponding Plato, which is innate. In this paper, I will try to disprove Locke’s arguments against the existence of innate ideas using Plato’s theories along my own beliefs. First, I will explain his statements and arguments then those of Plato and mine, as they are parallel.
John Locke believes there is no such thing as innate ideas. Innate ideas are inherent, meaning it is knowledge that was derived even before birth. “It is an established opinion amongst some men, that there are in the understanding certain ‘innate principles’; some primary notions… characters, as it were stamped upon the mind of man; which the soul receives in its very first being, and brings into the world with it” (Locke 630). Locke is saying that he believes the mind to be a “blank slate” when we are born. He says all knowledge either comes from perception or reflection. The unique
Get Access