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Chapter II

No innate Principles in the Mind.

The way schewn how we come by any Knowledge, sufficient to prove it not innate.       §1. It is an established Opinion amongst some Men, That there
are in the Understanding certain innate Principles; some primary
Notions, κοιναὶ ἔννοιαι, 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. It would be sufficient to convince
unprejudiced Readers of the falseness of this Supposition, if I
should only shew (as I hope I shall in the following Parts of this
Discourse) how Men, barely by the Use of their natural Faculties,
may attain to all the Knowledge they have, without the help of any
innate Impressions; and may arrive at Certainty, without any such
Original Notions or Principles. For I imagine any one will easily
grant, That it would be impertinent to suppose, the Ideas of
Colours innate in a Creature, to whom God hath given Sight, and a
Power to receive them by the Eyes from external Objects: and no
less unreasonable would it be to attribute several Truths, to the
Impressions of Nature, and innate Characters, when we may
observe in our selves Faculties, fit to attain as easie and certain
Knowledge of them, as if they were Originally imprinted on the
Mind.
      But because a Man is not permitted without Censure to follow
his own Thoughts in the search of Truth, when they lead him ever
so little out of the common Road: I shall set down the Reasons,
that made me doubt of the Truth of that Opinion, as an Excuse for
my Mistake, if I be in one, which I leave to be consider’d by those,
who, with me, dispose themselves to embrace Truth, where-ever
they find it.
Locke Hum I, 2, §1, p. 48