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Lecture 7

Lecture 7- John Locke’s empiricism.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1050
Professor
Patricia Sheridan
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture 7- John Locke’s empiricism • Theories of perception • Descartes vs. Locke • Locke: -The origin of ideas -Powers and qualities -The passive and active mind -The ideas of substances and substance in general Direct Realism • I get direct access to the independently existing world with my senses, just as it exists outside of my mind • Problems: senses are deceptive; senses are relative; senses are limited Theory of ideas: indirect realism • Locke’s and Descartes’s views -there is a world outside the mind, I just can’t get direct perceptual access to it -I only have direct access to my ideas (or perceptual experiences) • Problems: how are ideas and things related (are ideas like the things?); if we cannot see the world, as it really is, how can we ever determine if it is like the ideas or not; veil of perception problem; no privileged point of view on ʻ‘realʼ’ world Descartes’s answer • We have abstract ideas of thought and extension • Extension exists outside the mind (God would not deceive us) • Our ideas of extension do resemble reality -But they are Innate ideas -The mind has geometrical ideas built into it from birth • Particular sensory ideas? Probably don’t resemble, but doesn’t matter -They are not a source of knowledge about true and essential nature of things Empiricism • The case for sensation • Bottom line: all of our ideas come from sensation • Tabula Rasa: blank slate -The mind has no ideas at birth -the mind can think but needs content to think about! -Like a computer with no software! • (Descartes’s has a bit of basic software! Three major claims of Locke’s • all the simple ideas that make up our...ideas of substances are ”conveyed in by the senses, as they are found in exterior things, or by reflection on its own operations.” (183) • our ideas of subs
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