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Date: c. 370-365 B.C.

He "who thinks that even the best of writings are but a memorandum for those who know, and that only in principles of justice and goodness and nobility taught and communicated orally for the sake of instruction and graven in the soul, which is the true way of writing, is there clearness and perfe...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 1581

"And for that the minde in infantes is like a payre of tables, wherein nothing is written, and like & tender twig which may be bowed euery way, it is cleare, that vertue or vice may easily be planted in it."

— Guazzo, Stefano (1530-1593); Pettie, George, trans. (1548-1589)

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Date: 1611-12, 1623

"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased; / Pluck from the memory of a rooted sorrow; / Raze out the written troubles of the brain; / And with some sweet oblivious antidote / Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff / Which weighs upon the heart?"

— Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

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Date: 1690, 1694, 1695, 1700, 1706

"In all these cases, Ideas in the Mind, quickly fade, and often vanish quite out of the Understanding, leaving no more footsteps or remaining Characters of themselves, than Shadows do flying over fields of Corn; and the Mind is as void of them, as if they never had been there."

— Locke, John (1632-1704)

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Date: 1697

"Besides, long causes working in her mind, / And secret seeds of envy, lay behind; / Deep graven in her heart the doom remain'd / Of partial Paris, and her form disdain'd; / The grace bestow'd on ravish'd Ganymed, / Electra's glories, and her injur'd bed."

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

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Date: 1704

"Now I confess I am of Opinion, that the Mind is so far from being a Rasa Tabula, that it is plentifully furnished with all Ideas of Truth, which are the Seeds and Principles of all Knowledge we have, or ever shall have; that we cannot form any one true Notion, but what is founded in some ...

— Sherlock, William (1639/40-1707)

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Date: 1738

"And as the Mind in Infants, is like a white Sheet of Paper, where nothing is written; or like a tender Twig, which may be bent every Way; it is evident, that either Virtue or Vice may be planted in it."

— Guazzo, Stefano (1530-1593)

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Date: 1740

"Some have said that the human Mind contained within it the Seeds of all Sciences; the Mind is indeed a Soil in which any of these Seeds may be sown, but it must be cultivated; and without an Husbandman it will continue a mere Tabula rasa, except what the Instincts write on it, without a p...

— Philalethes [pseud.]

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Date: 1741

"Vertue's noble mark ... extending by degrees, / Shall grow like Letters carv'd on Trees / That widen with the Bark."

— Duck, Stephen (1705-1756)

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Date: 1754

"The human soul is so far from being furnished with forms and ideas to perceive all things by, or from being impregnated, I would rather say than printed over, with the seeds of universal knowledge, that we have no ideas till we receive passively the ideas of sensible qualities from without."

— St John, Henry, styled first Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.