tabula rasa

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tabula rasa

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tabula Rasa


(Latin, “smoothed tablet” or “clean slate”), a term used in sensationalism to describe the mind in its primary blank state, that is, before it has acquired any knowledge through external sensory experience—as, for example, the mind of a newborn infant. The notion of tabula rasa appears in Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, as well as in later philosophers, such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, who developed it from a theological standpoint. T. Hobbes and P. Gassendi compared the mind to a slate on which experience leaves its marks. The term came into wide use after J. Locke, who adopted it in his critique of the theory of innate ideas (see Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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