Locke on Experience and Notions

Adam Grzeliński

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/szhf.2017.033


In the present paper, I analyze the terminology John Locke used in his description of experience. Although he makes idea the principal term, also image, impression, and notion frequently appear in his Essay. Their meanings and interrelations are rooted in the seventeenth-century discussion in post-Cartesian philosophy which was the reason for using them in various contexts by Locke. Additionally, I suggest that three different approaches to experience can be found intermingling in Locke’s Essay: the commonsensical, the psychological, and the psychological one. Depending on a perspective taken in various parts of the work, they complement one another. Distinguishing them makes it possible to appreciate the coherence of Locke’s philosophy in which the individuality of individual experience is made the ground of objective knowledge.


John Locke; empiricism; experience; idea; notion; epistemology; natural philosophy

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