About this text   Help

1. Of the Conduct of the Understanding (1697-1704)

Section 1 (of 99)

Normalized

1. Of the conduct of the understanding

Quid tam temerarium tamque indignum sapientis gravitate atque constantiâ, quam aut falsum sentire, aut quod non satis explorate perceptum sit et cognitum sine ullâ dubitatione defendere? Cic: de Nat: deorum l. 1.

<A>

<1.> B: IV C: XX Of the Conduct of the understanding (1697-1704)

1 IntroductionThe last resort a man has recourse to in the conduct of himself is his understanding for though we distinguish the faculties of the minde and give the supreme command to the Will as to an agent yet the truth is the man which is the agent determins him self to this or that voluntary action upon some precedent knowledg or appearance of knowledg in the understanding. no man ever sets himself about any thing but upon some view or other, which serves him for a reason for what he does.And what so ever faculties he imploysthe understanding with such light as it has well or ill informd constantly leads and by that light true or false all his operative powers are directed. The will it self how absolute and uncontrouleable so ever it may be thought never fails in its obedience to the dictates of the understanding, Temples have their sacred images and we see what influence they have always had over a great part of mankinde. But in truth the Ideas and images in mens mindes are the invisible powers that constantly governe them and to these they all universally pay a ready submission. It is therefor of the higest concernement that great care should be taken of the understanding to conduct it right in the search of knowledg and in the judgments it makes.

Diplomatic

1. Of the conduct of the understanding

iv

Quid tam temerarium tamque indignum sapientis gravitate atque constantiâ, quam aut falsum sentire, aut quod non satis explorate perceptum sit et cognitum sine ullâ dubitatione defendere? Cic: de Nat: deorum l. 1.

<A>

62

<1.> B: IV C: XX Of the Conduct of the understandingstanding (1697-1704)

IConduct IntroductionThe last resort a man has recourse to in the conduct of himself is his understanding for though we distinguish the faculties of the minde and give the supreme command to the Will as to an agent yet the truth is the mindeorman which is the agent determins it self him self to this or that voluntary action upon some precedent knowledg or reas<on> appearance of knowledg in the understanding. There is noe action that of Choice a man sets about but he has to him self some reason for doing of it and tis some light in the minde such as it is that always guides and which we all follow in all every step we take.in the understanding. He n<ever>no man ever sets himself about any thing but upon some view or other, which serves him for a reason for what he does.What so ever a man sets himself about tis always tis always in pursuance of some view he has.And what so ever faculties he imploysTthe understanding with such light as it has well or ill informd constantly leads and by that light true or false the will and all itshishis other facultiespowers are directed all his operative powers are directed. The will it self how absolute and uncontrouleable so ever it may be thought never fails in its obedience to the dictates of the mind understanding, and what ever complements may be made to those in the temples tis the images and Ideas in their mindes that as if these were are the invisible powers theythat men really pay Temples & have their sacred images and we see what influence they have always had in the world over a great part of mankinde. But in truth the Ideas and images in mens mindes .............. are the invisible powers that constantly governe them and to these they all universally pay a ready submission. It is therefor of the higest concernement that great care should be taken of the understanding to conduct it right in the search of knowledg and in the judgments it makes.


Locke’s texts are presented simultaneously in their normalized ‘clean’ version and in a diplomatic version that includes all additions and deletions. The normalized version includes philosophical and historical notes by the editor that can be consulted by clicking on the [n] symbol in the text. The additions in the diplomatic version are given in bold type, their start is marked by a —> and their end by a <—. Deletions are given in grey type, their start is marked by a square opening bracket and their end by a square closing bracket. The structure of nested additions, i.e. additions within additions, can be traced by following the pattern of opening and closing arrows within arrows. Similarly, the structure of nested deletions can be traced by following the patern of opening and closing square brackets. Red arrows signal additional text-critical information that becomes available by hovering with the cursor of the mouse on the arrow. New page numbers in the manuscript are marked between square brackets. The present version of the DLP database is a beta; more information, including ‘Help’ information, will follow soon in the complete version.
For a photographic copy from MS Locke e.1, p. iv, see ill. 1.
Cicero, De natura deorum, I, §1: ‘what is so ill-considered or so unworthy of the dignity and seriousness proper to a philosopher as to hold an opinion that is not true or to maintain with unhesitating certainty a propostion not based on adequate examination, comprehension and knowledge?’ Transl. H. Rackham. The quotation is part of a context where Cicero stresses the importance of Academic suspension of judgement in the face of insufficient proof; cf. the second motto on the title-page of the Essay concerning Human Understanding, also taken from ND, I, §84 : ‘Quam bellum est velle confiteri potius nescire quod nescias, quam ista effutientem nauseare, atque ipsum sibi displicere!’ Locke’s library was filled with a substantial collection of works by Cicero. LL does not mention a separate edition of ND, but does mention two general editions of Cicero’s works (711 and 721q).
For a photographic copy from MS Locke e.1, p. 62, see ill. 2.
The ‘Conduct’ was originally intended to form the penultimate chapter of Book IV of the Essay; see Textual Remarks 1. Of the Conduct of the Understanding (1697-1704) [21] and Schuurman, pp. 78-85.
On understanding and will see Essay, II.xxi.6, p. 236: ‘These Powers of the Mind, viz. of Perceiving, and of Preferring, are usually call’d by another Name: And the ordinary way of Speaking is, That the Understanding and Will are two Faculties of the mind …’ On the will following the dictates of the understanding, see ibid. p. 237. Cf. the priority given by Locke to the understanding over the will with Descartes, e.g. Principia philosophiae, I.xxxviii, AT VIII-I, p. 19: ‘Quòd autem in errores incidamus, defectus quidem est in nostrâ actione sive in usu libertatis, sed non in nostrâ naturâ …’ and Malebranche, e.g. Recherche, I.II.ii, p. 7: ‘Que les jugemens & les raisonnemens dépendent de la volonté.’
Add. p. 63, probably entered after next add., also on p. 63.
1, 2, 3 Section numbering; hover to see to which system it refers
sample Marginal note in manuscript
Folio or page break in Locke’s manuscript (normalized text); hover to view the folio number; click to synchronize the diplomatic text. This icon is also used in the diplomatic text to indicate pagebreaks within additions that run across folios.
1 Folio or page break in Locke’s manuscript (diplomatic text); click to synchronize the normalized text. Note that pagebreaks within additions are marked by the icon above.
1 Special folio break; view details by hovering this tag; click to synchronize the normalized text
Line break in Locke’s manuscript
Note containing editorial comments (note in normalized text) or comments on the transcription (note in diplomatic text); click to view the note
sample Note on the transcription attached not to a single point but to a range; the note tag is connected to an anchor tag with the same ID; ID’s can be viewed by hovering the tags
, sample Note on collation of variant readings; click to view
sample Addition in Locke’s manuscript
sample Addition within an addition
sample Special addition; view details by hovering the tag
sample Special addition within an addition; view details by hovering the tag
<sample> Editorial addition
sample. Editorial stop
sample Deletion in Locke’s manuscript
sample Deletion within a deletion
sample Special deletion; view details by hovering the tag
sample Special deletion within an deletion; view details by hovering the tag
sample Editorial deletion
sample Unclear text in Locke’s manuscript
sample ... sample Gap in Locke’s manuscript that is 3 characters wide