Lecture 8- Locke (multiple concepts)
Qualities and substances
The mental construction of the world
Appearance vs. reality
• If I put a cold hand in lukewarm water, the water feels hot, but if I put a warm hand in the
same water it feels cool; does the water itself change?
• A siren approaching and receding from us changes in tone, but does that change
resemble something in the object?
• Do our experiences resemble the world itself? Is there any way to know?
• Locke is a kind of skeptic in this regard
Powers and Qualities
• Simple ideas seem to be caused in our minds
-And they seem to indicate perceived qualities or properties things have
• By qualities we really mean powers bodies have to produce ideas in us
• So , to say that a lemon is yellow means:
-i.e. something in the world produces the idea of yellow, the colour experience, in our
Do any of our ideas resemble objects in the world?
• Primary Qualities
-These seem to resemble qualities of the objects themselves
-Less subjective in nature
-What might he have in mind here?
-Solidity, extension, figure, motion
• Secondary Qualities
-These seem to be a function of our experience; and not in the objects themselves
-Do not resemble qualities in the object
-What does he have in mind here
• Colours, sounds, textures, tastes, smells • Secondary qualities are by- products of the interaction of primary qualities with my
senses -They are powers in the object, just not resembling of them
The active mind: complex ideas
The mind is active once it gets simple ideas to work on
-Combines simple ideas into complex ideas
Substance combining simple ideas into once compound idea
-E.g. red, scented, soft… a rose
-The rose refers to the thing that has the qualities we perceive
• Substances are “all the ideas we have of p