17 June 2008
[LOCKE, John (1632-1704)]. An Essay concerning Humane Understanding. In four books. London: [Elizabeth Holt] for Thomas Basset, and sold by Edw[ard] Mory, 1690.
2o in 4s (324 x 92 mm). Title within printed double-ruled border. (Title-page re-margined, preliminaries with a few pale stains, one or two marginal tears.) Contemporary calf (rebacked to style preserving original lettering piece, extremities a bit rubbed); quarter niger slipcase. Provenance: Contemporary marginal annotations; near contemporary marginal annotations, probably a bookseller's, dated 15 May 1714 at end; 19th-century pencilled annotations noting mispagination and other anomalies; Lehigh College (discreet library stamp gutter of A2).
FIRST EDITION, second issue with cancel title, of the work forming the basis of 18th-century empirical philosophy. Although begun as early as 1671, it was finally brought to order during the years that Locke spent as an exile in Holland (January 1684-February 1688), in the company of a distinguished literary circle. In Book I he rejected the doctrine of "innate idea", maintaining that all knowledge was based on experience. Few philosophical works received such immediate and lasting recognition, leading John Stuart Mill to describe Locke as "the unquestioneed founder of the analytic philosophy of mind." Pforzheimer 600; PMM 164; Wing L-2739.
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