"THE FIRST MODERN ATTEMPT TO ANALYSE HUMAN KNOWLEDGE": LOCKE'S ESSAY CONCERNING HUMANE UNDERSTANDING, AN EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE WIDE-MARGINED COPY
LOCKE, John. An Essay concerning Humane Understanding. In Four Books. London: Awnsham and John Churchill, 1706. Folio (11 by 16 inches), contemporary full paneled calf rebacked with original gilt-decorated spine laid down, raised bands. $4800.
1706 edition, the last folio edition of Locke's remarkable study of the nature of knowledge and the last with alterations by Locke. A handsome, exceptionally large wide-margined copy.
"Locke was the first to take up the challenge of Bacon and to attempt to estimate critically the certainty and the adequacy of human knowledge 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 own well being—became a touchstone for the Age of Enlightenment. With the Essay Locke initiated the criticism of human knowledge and furthered the discourse on free inquiry. "The Essay Concerning Humane Understanding… was the first attempt on a great scale, and in the Baconian spirit, to estimate critically the certainty and the adequacy of human knowledge" (Fraser). A notable inclusion in this edition is Locke's Letter to Bishop Edward Stillingfleet, his Reply, and his second Reply, with brief quotations from the bishop. Yolton 65. See PMM 164.
Text with only faint marginal dampstaining to inner lower margin. A most handsome copy of this fundamental work in the history of Western thought.