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A tabula rasa is Latin for a blank slate. Locke believes that all people are born without any knowledge. Instead of instinctual or innate knowledge, Locke argues that, “All knowledge comes from experience.” All of our knowledge must come to us through sense data. As an empiricist, Locke believed that sense experiences are the most reliable source of knowledge. Using induction and the scientific method we add to our brains and build knowledge that way.


John Locke claims that the human mind at birth is a tabula rasa. What does he mean by this? How, according to Locke, do human beings acquire knowledge? Do Locke’s views make him an empiricist or a rationalist? Why?

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