Chapter

A Philosophical Enquiry, 1757

F.P. Lock

in Edmund Burke, Volume I

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.003.0004
A Philosophical Enquiry, 1757

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Less than a month after his marriage appeared the book which established Burke's reputation in the literary world: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. The seminal work in the philosophical tradition to which Burke's Enquiry belongs is John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Burke set out to explain how the mind receives and responds to the categories of ideas that he calls ‘the sublime’ and ‘the beautiful’. Burke based this on his observation and experience as well as on his reading. The hypothesis of uniformity is crucial to his theory. The Enquiry demonstrates Burke's early understanding of the essentially emotive nature of the workings of the human mind.

Keywords: A Philosophical Enquiry; Locke; sublime; beautiful; human mind; uniformity

Chapter.  18029 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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