4. Locke, Ideas and Qualities (Feb 27) (1).pptx

4. Locke, Ideas and Qualities (Feb 27) (1).pptx - John...

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John Locke (1632- 1704) Main themes: Indirect Realism Ideas and Qualities Primary and Secondary Qualities Arguments for the existence of things outside of us Readings: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Book II, Chapter VIII (Some Farther Considerations Concerning Our Simple Ideas) Book II, Chapter XXIII, (Of Our Complex Ideas of Substances) Book IV, Chapter XI (Of Our Knowledge of the Existence of Other Things)
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John Locke (1632- 1704) Like Descartes who preceded him, the British philosopher John Locke was preoccupied with epistemological problems (of how we know things), such as whether we can be certain about the existence of external things, and whether we can locate the origin of this knowledge only in the mind, or whether we can establish what things are like in themselves.
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Initial Comparisons But Locke presents us with a significantly different strategy for establishing the existence of external things. Whereas Descartes argues that there is a sharp separation between mind and body, claiming that we can only deduce the existence of things from the foundation of the “I think” and from the existence of God, Locke claims that we have indirect access to the things as they exist in themselves, that the qualities of things generate the ideas we have of them in our mind, and that these ideas often legitimately correspond to the real existence of external things.
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Rationalism vs. Empiricism From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “The dispute between rationalism and empiricism concerns the extent to which we are dependent upon sense experience in our effort to gain knowledge. Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.”
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Direct (or naïve) Realism Direct realism describes a very common, everyday attitude: that real things exist in the external world. that we can perceive these things directly through immediate sensation. that we have basic access to the things as they really are in themselves.
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Locke’s perceptual system In contrast to direct realism, Locke presents us with a subtle theory of the interplay between the real world and our minds. The relationship between ideas and qualities, and the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, serve as an explanation of Locke’s indirect realism.
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Ideas “1. Concerning the simple ideas of Sensation, it is to be considered, that whatsoever is so constituted in nature as to be able, by affecting our senses, to cause any perception in the mind, doth thereby produce in the understanding a simple idea, which, whatever be the external cause of it, when it comes to be taken notice of by our discerning faculty, it is by the mind looked on and considered there to be a real positive idea in the understanding…”
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What are ideas?
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