LOCKE, JOHN.

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Lot 150
LOCKE, JOHN.

Sold for US$ 10,980 inc. premium
LOCKE, JOHN.
An Essay concerning Humane Understanding. London: [Elizabeth Holt] for Thomas Basset, and sold by Edward Mory, 1690. [12], 362, [22] pp. Folio (325 x 182 mm). Period calf, spine gilt. Title-page with effaced inkstamp and some soiling to edges, two marginal wormholes (short tracks to first couple of leaves and about 10 leaves in middle), closed marginal tear to Y3, somewhat clumsy rebacking with old spine laid down, corners showing, hinges taped and wear to endpapers.

First edition, second issue (with cancel title) of the most important English philosophical work of the Enlightenment. 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. In the past, similar enquiries had been vitiated by the human propensity to extend them beyond the range of human understanding, and to invent causes for what it cannot explain. Therefore, Locke’s first task was to ascertain ‘the original certainty and extent of human knowledge’ and, excluding ‘the physical consideration of the mind, to show how far it can comprehend the universe.’ His conclusion is that though knowledge must necessarily fall short of complete comprehension, it can at least be ‘sufficient;’ enough to convince us that we are not at the mercy of pure chance, and can to some extent control our own destiny" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Pforzheimer 600; PMM 164; Wing L-2739.
Provenance: Gilt-stamped initials on upper cover "J.T."; 19th-century marginalia on p 5.
See illustration.
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