The Empiricist Journey of Young Goodman Brown Essay

1605 Words 7 Pages
The Empiricist Journey of Young Goodman Brown

In the late 17th century, John Locke was one of the most influential people of his age. He was a renowned philosopher who established radical ideas about the political, social, and psychological ideals of mankind. One of his philosophical ideas, which he is said to be the founder of, is British Empiricism. This idea holds that "all knowledge is derived from experience whether of the mind or the senses" ("Empiricism" 480). In any man’s life, there arises such a point in time where he comes to the realization that there is a sense of evil in the world. Whether it is by something as subtle as locking the door at night before going to bed or being directly confronted at gun point as a
…show more content…
These views are shared by Locke and many other empiricists. The first is that:

Experience is intelligible in isolation, or atomistically, without reference to the nature of its object or to the circumstances of its subject. Hence an experience can be described without saying anything about the mind which has it, the thoughts that describe it, or the world which contains it ("Empiricism" 480).

Likewise, Hawthorne describes Young Goodman Brown’s experience without divulging much into his inner thought. The interpretation of his thought is mostly left up to reader response. The empiricist experience is, therefore, one in which the experience is in and of the mind.

The second idea states that:

The person who undergoes experience is in some sense the recipient of data that are imprinted upon his intelligence irrespective of his activity; the person brings nothing to experience, but gains everything from it (480).

This idea directly relates to Brown’s journey as he goes along on a daunting quest for no particular reason, but to find out something which is unknown to him. Through the journey, Young Goodman Brown gains his knowledge of a sense of evil.

The next empiricist idea holds that:

All method is scientific method. To discover the nature of the world, it is necessary to develop a method of experiment whereby all claims to knowledge are

Related Documents