“The First Modern Attempt To Analyse Human Knowledge”:
Essay Concerning Humane Understanding,
And Rare First-Issue Copy Of His Great Work, 1690
5. LOCKE, John.
An Essay concerning Humane Understanding.
Books. London, 1690. Folio, period-style full dark brown calf.
Rare first edition, first issue, of Locke’s remarkable study of the nature of
knowledge, a fundamental work in the history of Western thought.
text was added to the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum
This is an excellent, wide-margined copy of Locke’s most famous
work, a touchstone of the Age of Enlightenment, with extensive margina-
lia in a neat early hand indicating that this copy was well-read.
“Locke was the first to take up the challenge of Bacon and to attempt
to estimate critically the certainty and the adequacy of human knowl-
edge when confronted with God and the universe” (PMM 164). Locke’s
conclusion—that while man can never attain a perfect and universal
understanding of the world, he can gain sufficient knowledge to secure
his ownwell being—became a touchstone for the Age of Enlightenment.
Locke initiated the criticism of human knowledge and
further opened the discourse on free inquiry. “
The Essay Concerning