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Ryan Summaries - Book II chapter i-vii Simple Ideas Summary...

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Book II chapter i-vii: Simple Ideas  Summary  Now that Locke feels he has demonstrated where knowledge does  not  come from (i.e. innate  principles or ideas), he sets out to show where it does, in fact, come from. This project will  consume the rest of the  Essay . The picture, on its surface, is exceedingly simple. Knowledge is  built up from ideas (the operation by which this occurs is discussed in Book IV). Ideas come in  two basic types: simple and complex. Complex ideas are built from simple ideas. All  knowledge, therefore, traces back to simple ideas, and simple ideas come exclusively through  experience. Book II chapters i-vii are all about the origin and nature of these simple ideas.  There are only two ways that a simple idea can find its way into a human mind: through  sensation, or by reflection. In sensation the mind turns outward to the world and receives  ideas through the faculties of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. In reflection the mind  turns toward its own operations, receiving such as ideas as "thinking," "willing," "believing,"  "doubting." In either case, the process is completely passive. Locke breaks simple ideas down  into four categories, each of which receives its own chapter. Chapter iii discusses the ideas we  receive from a single sense, such as from sight or touch. The idea of blue and of the sound of  a trumpet would be examples of ideas from this category. The idea of solidity, which receives  its own chapter (iv), would be another. Chapter v looks at those ideas that get into the mind  through more than one sense. Shape and size, for instance, are ideas that arise both from our  sense of sight and from our sense of touch. Ideas which come into the mind through reflection  are the topic of chapter vi, and chapter vii focuses on those ideas which are the product of  both sensation and reflection. As examples of this last type of idea, Locke uses the ideas of  unity, existence, pleasure, pain, and  substance Book II, chapter viii: Primary and Secondary Qualities  Summary  Under the unassuming heading "Other Considerations Concerning Simple Ideas," Locke next  introduces one of the most important topics in the entire  Essay : the distinction between  primary and  secondary qualities . Locke tells us that there is a crucial difference between two  kinds of simple ideas we receive from sensation. Some of the ideas we receive resemble their  causes out in the world, while others do not. The ideas which resemble their causes are the  ideas of  primary qualities : texture, number, size, shape, motion. The ideas which do not 
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