Posthumous Works


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LOCKE, John. Posthumous Works of Mr. John Locke: Viz. I. Of the Conduct of the Understanding. London: W.B.for A. and J. Churchill, 1706. Octavo, period-style full paneled brown calf, raised bands, red spine morocco label.

First edition of Locke's Posthumous Works, featuring the first publication of his Conduct of the Understanding, once planned as "the largest chapter of my Essay [on Humane Understanding]," along with the first appearance of two works from his final years—Discourse of Miracles and his unfinished Fourth Letter on Toleration—together with Memoirs of Shaftsbury (1705), New Method (1686) and the first publication of Examination of P. Malebranche's Opinion.

Locke's groundbreaking Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (1690) was "the first modern attempt" to analyze human knowledge (PMM 164). Locke noted that Conduct of the Understanding, first issued herein, was conceived "as part of 'some additions to my book [the Essay], against the next edition, and within these few days have fallen upon a subject that I know not how far it will lead me… but the matter, the farther I go, opens the more upon me, and I cannot yet get sight of any end of it. The title of the chapter will be Of the Conduct of the Understanding, which, if I shall pursue, as far as I can imagine it will reach, and as it deserves, will, I conclude, make the largest chapter of my Essay" (Yolton 299). While "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), Conduct "is the only one of Locke's works that shows clear evidence of having been influenced by Bacon… Locke intended that the Conduct should be published, though it did not in fact appear until it was included by his executors in the Posthumous Works." This important collection also contains the first appearance of two works "from Locke's last years. Discourse of Miracles was written in 1702; the unfinished Fourth Letter on Toleration was begun in the last months of Locke's life. Both were published posthumously" herein (Cambridge Companion, 23-24). Additionally with the previously unpublished Examination of P. Malebranche's Opinion; Memoirs… of Shaftsbury, which "first appeared in Bibliotheque Choisie (1705); and New Method in French in the Bibliotheque Universelle et Historique (1686)" (Continuum Companion, 44). Locke's "New Method of a Common-Place Book" (312-3) printed in red and black. Page 174 numbered 274 as issued. Yolton 299. Pforzheimer 609.Christophersen, 71-74.

Interior with light scattered foxing, slight edge toning. A handsome copy.

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