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Philosophy & Religious Studies   >   The Philosophy of John Locke

The Essay

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The Philosophy of John Locke

In this course, Dr Barnaby Walker (University of Warwick) explores the work of the seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke, particularly his writings on epistemology. We begin with a general overview of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding and its key themes, before moving on in the second and third module to Locke’s radical rejection of the concept of innate knowledge. We then think about the relationship in Locke’s theory between sense perception and the ideas created in the human mind in module four. The fifth module focuses on Locke’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities in material objects, while the sixth module explores in more detail how Locke thought human beings can acquire knowledge of the world through their senses. The seventh and final module concludes with a discussion of the problem of personal identity and Locke’s solution to this problem.

The Essay

In this module, we think about Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. We explore the general philosophical project of this work and look at some key themes within the Essay, such as empiricism, realism, anti-scepticism and humility.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Walker, B. (2018, November 22). The Philosophy of John Locke - The Essay [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Walker, B. "The Philosophy of John Locke – The Essay." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Nov 2018,


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Dr Barney Walker

Warwick University