tabula rasa

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tabula rasa

See LOCKE.

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).