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Philosophy 2200F/G
Charles Middleton

Week Two Lecture 1 Locke Answer to Descartes Nativism EXPERIENCE • all of our knowledge comes from wisdom and we can be certain of that • convincing argument of common principles; Aristotle has a theory about how we can have knowledge as an answer to skepticism • a certain or demonstrative truth is a series of deductive premises that lead to a conclusion that is necessarily true • all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal valid, it is true if the premises are true. truths like premises can be subjected to more • demonstrations of this kind (where more premises are added above and or below) • common principles are the axioms that ground this kind of deductive knowledge • principles such as identity, that a equals a or that it is not the case that a is and is not at the same time • the kinds of basic idea that rational thought is built out of and they are innate, they are reliable to manage our sensory data according to Descartes • Aristotle's view that conclusions can be determined through demonstrations, or demonstrative knowledge or deductive syllogisms • the common principles originate from (god for descartes) aristotle thinks they come from induction, to look at a great number of things and look at how they are for the most part (sun rising everyday before, it will likely rise again tomorrow) this is for the case of locke as well Locke we come to know principles through our sensory acquaintances with these • things, empirically. He thinks that these things can be certain as well. • practical ideas are moral ideas, ideas are basic items of the mind, the mind is composed of many different basic ideas. ideas that concern practice rather than merely intelligible ideas • simple ideas are either speculative or practical • obvious that there are no universal or innate practical principles simply because there are no principles to which everyone agrees. Not everyone agrees that torture is necessary wrong, most people do, but no everyone. If it were an idea that was hardwired into us then everyone would agree • if you think that there are universal moral principles then you just don't understand how the world really is different time periods have held different ideas • Speculative Principles: a = b then b must = a, these ideas are innate because children and idiots don't attest to these ideas. the reason that they cant grasp this is but they can potentially. • Aristotle's theory of change; how is it that a flower can grow out of a seed his answer was the form of flower was there from in the seed rather than in some metaphysical different place potentially. as it grows into a flower, the actualization of the flower is in its growing potential - this is how they believe you can grasp knowledge. there is a chance that you could potentially grasp this power • once you know something to be true, then you are immediately acquainted with it in actualization - potentiality is an allusion - its just a way of speaking about stuff its not intelligible • potentiality - allusions, intelligible children have an idea, they just don't have it yet is an allusion and its not intelligible. if • you say these ideas are there potentially even if that it true that Locke's idea of empiricism HOW DO WE COME TO HAVE IDEAS • particular ideas come to the mind - mind is an empty cabinet • simple ideas can be a sensation of sweetness of bitterness • basic particular ideas are there from a very early age, even in the womb the fetus might experience a certain sensation or an idea that is having an effect on the mind • what is important is that it is not general, this bitter thing is a particular thing, its one thing and its not abstracted into anything general yet • basic sensations arrives or produced in the mind (an empty mind) is that it goes away and then another time the same experience is repeated and then over time you become familiar with this idea the identity of this particular thing becomes known to you then you come to extract ideas from your mind, like you dont have to see a banana • because you know you like them, you can familiarize yourself with it - known as abstraction • general idea - you cant grasp the idea of an idea until you are familiar enough with a particular thing to extract it from your brain
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