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PHL210Y1 Lecture Notes - Tennis Ball, Thought Experiment

Course Code
Linda Hunter

of 2
Philosophy Lecture
July 9, 2012
John Locke
Primary qualities: ways that bodies are arranged [really out there
in the world]
Secondary qualities: ways that bodies are arranged that are of
specific interest to human beings; if we had more refined senses
and look at everything like microscopes, we wouldn’t talk about
secondary qualities nor would we need to- just primary qualities.
Ex. dogs [subjective- depend on the subject doing the perceiving]
Locke is interested in secondary qualities and the certain ones
that strike human beings- these qualities are only interesting if
you are a human being
Three complex ideas:
oPower (property relations)
oSubstance (substance)
oIdentity (property relations)
oCausal event requires an active power and a passive power
Libertarian: believes in freedom but not determinism
Hard-determinism: says we have no freedom but determinism only
Compatibilist/soft-determinist: Yes to freedom and determinism
Locke says to be free, you need to be exercising both powers
[freedom and will]
oWill: you think of willing as trying [act of will is called
volition] a tennis ball doesn’t have a will or doesn’t try to do
anything- doesn’t try to do anything- and since it doesn’t
have volition, it also cant have freedom because to be free,
you need to have both
Thought experiment: at night someone comes into your room to
abduct you and take you to see someone you really admire and
you wake up and youre across the table from them. Locke is
gonna say its really clear you want to talk to this person and youre
willing to, and unknowingly to you, youre held in an underground
bunker and cant leave, but you don’t want to leave. You can will
something without willing to will- you can want to do something
even if you don’t have any choice in the matter
Liberty is a power to choose between two options
What it takes to be free is to be able to do or not do- if you try to
do something and fail, it means you were willed to do it, but you
were not at liberty to do it
Substance: ‘something that stands underneath’; Locke’s worry is
that he doesn’t know how to get beyond that meaning of the word
Ideas of substance are complex ideas made of:
oIdeas of primary qualities
oIdeas of secondary qualities
oIdeas of powers
We don’t directly experience qualities, but rather the ideas of