Philosophy 1020 Lecture Notes - Tabula Rasa

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14 October 2011
- John Locke
- there are ideas, truth, or concepts that all people know
- therefore, there are mate ideas, truth, or concepts
- we learn from experience (we are born with a blank slate = tabula rasa)
- Descartes says we are already born with knowledge
Book I, Chapter I:
- problems with a rationalist position
- the innate ideas don't exist
- children and idiots do not know all innate truths (however they should know it):
- recollection, someone just needs to remind them of it (Descartes)
- response: if they are born with the knowledge, they shouldn’t need to recollect it
- if something is in the understanding, you must know it
- not universal to everyone
- everyone may know what something is, but others were not born knowing it
The Law of non-contradiction:
- "This sentence is false" (this would violate the law)
- something cannot be true and false
- "It is both raining and not raining"
Question: If you have never perceived a circle, can you have the idea of a circle?
- Locke would say that you need to see it first
- Descartes would recollect it (slave boy, Plato)
Book II, Chapter VIII:
- primary and secondary qualities
- a quality: the power to produce something in your mind (property of an object that has
the power to produce an idea in our mind)
- a snowball is hard, white, cold, round
- a primary quality: it is inseparable or essential to object (it is impossible for an
objection to not have shape, extension, solidity, texture, motion, and rest)
- colour, sound, taste, temperature
- secondary quality: it is separable and not essential to an object
- must exist with primary quality
- read page 199 - 201