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Compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet


LOCKE

(1632 — 1704)

 

EMPIRICISM

John Locke was born at Wrington in Somerset, the son of a Puritan attorney. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied classics and scholastic philosophy. He graduated B.A. in 1656, proceeded to the M.A. in 1658, and was appointed Student (that is, Fellow) and Tutor in Greek at Christ Church. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1668. He also studied medicine, though did not take his medical degree until 1675, and he never practised. Appointed secretary to Lord Ashley, the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1667, he took an active part in both the political and intellectual life of the day. He spent some time in France, then in 1683 in Holland, to which he fled because of his association with the by then discredited Shaftesbury. He was also deprived of his Studentship. While abroad he met many of the chief thinkers and continued his work on his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. This was published in 1690, Locke having returned to England after the revolution of 1688. Further books followed, and he was also once again active in public life until 1700.

 

PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE

[1] The term 'Idea' is employed in a wide sense to stand for "whatever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks" [Essay Concerning Human Understanding, I, 1, viii; II, 1, i], and includes sense-experiences, images, and concepts. These thus represent or 'signify' things or what the mind constructs from representations. Ideas, in their turn, are referred to by words. Words are to be used as "sensible marks of ideas": "the ideas they stand for are their proper or immediate signification" [III, 2, i]. Thus Locke seems to hold an 'ideational' version of the denotation theory of meaning [a]. This 'signification' is, however, a matter of arbitrary choice or convention. There are additionally some words which signify not ideas but "the connection that the mind gives to ideas or propositions" [III, 7, i], for example, 'particles' such as 'is', 'is not', 'but'. Now, many of our ideas can, by a process of abstraction, become general, that is, they can be made to represent more than one individual. Words can then become general by being made to signify these general ideas [III, 3, vi]. Thus 'man' may signify not just this man but all those individuals who conform to this abstract idea. Likewise the general term 'triangle' seems to refer to what all triangles have in common. Their different and inconsistent 'parts' have been abstracted and left out: it must therefore be "neither oblique nor rectangle, neither equilateral, equicrural, nor scalenon; but all of these and none at once" [IV, 7, ix]. General names thus stand for what Locke calls 'nominal essence', that is, the common features a thing we suppose a thing to possess by virtue of which it is that thing. However, the 'real' essence of a thing (that is, its inner constitution, that which makes it the individual thing it is) is unknowable; and we give it no name. (He rejects completely the notion of a real fixed essence as that which is common to members of a species [III, 3, xvii]. ) This is in effect Locke's 'conceptualist' treatment of the problem of 'universals' [b]. Despite his seemingly confident account, Locke says that language is in a sense imperfect [III, 9]. The ideal is that a given word will excite the same idea in different people: but it is clear that this does not happen in the case of 'complex ideas' and other ideas the mind puts together. He also discusses [III, 10] what he supposes to be abuses of words. These can give rise to error in a variety of ways [c]. Words may be misused, as when we employ them without clear ideas, or learn names before we know the ideas they signify. We may misapply them — old words being used with new significations, or new ones that do not signify (for example, 'matter', which we suppose stands for an idea signifying something distinct from body and real in nature), or cannot signify (for example, 'real essence'). (If we assume that Locke in effect accepts a denotation theory of meaning, such non-signifying words must presumably be regarded as meaningless.) It is equally mistaken to suppose that words have "a certain and evident signification". Language being used to convey rapidly our ideas and thereby the knowledge of things, Locke recognises the seriousness of the errors misuse of language leads to; and he devotes Bk III, chapter 11 to a discussion of how they might be avoided.

 

KNOWLEDGE

[2] In the Essay Locke sets out to discover the origin, certainty, and extent of human knowledge, and to investigate the "grounds and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent" [I, 1, ii]. Where do ideas come from? How do we acquire them? Can we distinguish between knowledge and opinion? He starts [1, 2-4] by rejecting all theories of innate ideas or principles, whether they be of a logical nature, such as 'it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be', or are practical/ moral ones. The argument from "universal consent" is, he says, worthless. Such agreement can be explained in other ways. And in any case there is no genuine universal consent; small children and idiots are unaware of such principles.

What then is Locke's account of ideas? All our ideas come from experience, that is, from sensation or from reflection [see II, 1] [a]. The former is the result of the effect on the mind of external objects, while the latter is the result of considering the operation of our minds (that is, through perception, thinking, doubting, believing, willing) on sensations, through the 'internal sense' [II, 1, iv]. He goes on [throughout Book II] to distinguish different kinds of ideas. Firstly, ideas are either simple or complex. Simple ideas [5-11] are received passively and are (1) of sensations — colour, taste, etc. (one sense), or space, figure (two or more senses); (2) of reflection, such as perception, willing; or (3) of a mixture of sensation and reflection, for example, pleasure, pain, power, existence, unity. Complex ideas [13 ff.] are divided into types of 'objects': ideas of substances, modes, and relations, all of which result from the mind's acting on simple ideas. (He also includes an alternative classification in terms of 'activities': simple ideas are combined into one complex one; two ideas, simple or complex, can be compared without being united and can produce relations; ideas can be separated (abstracted) from others accompanying them to produce general ideas.) How do we account for the origin of our simple ideas? Locke says that things possess 'powers' [7] to produce ideas in our minds; and he calls these powers qualities. Now, qualities are either original or primary, or are secondary [8]. Primary ideas are those which produce in us simple, ideas of solidity, extension, figure, motion, rest, and number. Our ideas of primary qualities actually resemble the bodies possessing them — their patterns exist in the bodies themselves. Our ideas of secondary qualities, however, (colours, sounds, etc.) do not resemble anything in the bodies which give rise to them [b].

Complex ideas of substances [23]. We can have clear and distinct ideas of individual 'substances', that is, corporeal, extended things [c] (for example, the sun), because these are just collections or combinations of simple ideas. And we learn to associate the qualities of things. Thus a sound can lead us to think of a colour or shape as belonging to the idea of a particular thing. But we also go further, Locke says, when we ask what keeps a collection of ideas together in a complex. How can they 'subsist'? To answer this we must suppose there must be a 'substratum' which supports the qualities producing our ideas. It is this substratum we call substance, the primary qualities being 'accidents'. This is Locke's idea of substance in general [23] [d]. Clearly we do neither perceive nor have knowledge of such substance: it is but an abstraction and an inference. In the same way we can arrive at ideas of a 'spiritual substance' underpinning our simple ideas of thinking, doubting, perceiving, etc., and of a Supreme Being. Such ideas, in contrast to those of ideas of particular substances, are neither clear nor distinct. The mind is conceived by Locke as consisting in an unknowable 'substratum'; and he believes that we are probably both material and immaterial substance — though this cannot be proved. (We might of course be just material but with the capacity to think added by God.) [See IV, xxiii, 19.] He also says that there can be no solution to the problem of the relationship between mind and body [e].

Ideas of relations. [25] Relations are regarded by Locke as (1) complex ideas derived from a general activity of reflection on the data of sensation; (2) the result of a specific activity, viz, the comparing of two simple or complex ideas [f]. Of particular importance is the relation of causality. [26] We notice, says Locke, that particular things begin to exist. That which produces any simple or complex idea we call the cause; that which is produced is the effect. Thus when wax melts the simple idea of heat is the cause, the simple idea of fluid is the effect. Similarly the complex idea of wood is the effect of the complex idea of fire. He distinguishes between three kinds of production: (1) generation — when a new substance comes from a pre-existent material; (2) alteration — when a pre-existent idea produces in itself a new simple idea; and (3) creation — when something comes into existence from no pre-existent material. The relation of cause and effect is one which obtains between ideas. Nevertheless, Locke says that it is grounded in active power possessed by substances to affect each other and to produce ideas in us [see II, 21]. We get the idea of this power mainly by 'introspecting' and thereby discovering in ourselves our own capacity to exercise power over our minds and bodies — by volition or willing. (And willing, he says, is to be distinguished from desire: desire, as a state of "uneasiness of the mind for want of some absent good", determines the will [II, 21, xxx-xxxii].) We can also get an 'obscure idea' of active power by looking at the way a ball communicates its motion to another at rest. Although the relation between cause and effect is discovered through experience, Locke seems to regard the connection as necessary in that he says that everything which has a beginning must have a cause [g]. Locke's discussion of relations leads on to the concepts of identity and diversity. [27] It is clear, he says, that two things apparently alike in all respects but existing in different places at the same time must have their own separate identity. To allow for the possibility of two substances of different kind occupying the same place at a given time (they would presumably have to be spiritual beings) he says that existence itself must be the principle of individuation, existence being "incommunicable" to the two beings. Identity can change, however, if parts of the thing are added or removed. Furthermore living things possess an identity in a different way from non-living things, in that, while in both cases continuous existence in space and time is required, in living things (vegetables and animals) the fleeting increasing or decreasing particles of matter are "vitally united" and constitute the continuing organization appropriate to that thing. The criterion of self-identity is thus bodily continuity. This is the case also with man; and Locke rejects the possibility that a continuous soul can constitute the criterion, on the grounds that, given reincarnation, we could never be sure that a particular living thing was, say, a hog or a man. Nevertheless, consciousness as the manifestation of an immortal soul substance is the basis for identification of a man as a person — the self [h]: "a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places" [II, 27, xii]. Thus separate and distinct consciousnesses existing at different time in the same body would constitute different persons for the same man.

Having set out his view as to the origin of knowledge Locke must now [Book IV] consider what knowledge involves and what can be known. Knowledge, he says, consists in "the perception of the connection and agreement, or disagreement or repugnancy, of any of our ideas" [IV, 1, ii]. He explains this by reference to a number of kinds of agreement or disagreement:

(1) Identity or diversity. Here the mind recognises, when it has an idea, that it is what it is and is not another; for example, "Blue is not yellow".

(2) Relation. The mind perceives a relation between any two ideas, such as "Two triangles upon equal bases between two parallels are equal".

(3) Coexistence. In cases of this type the mind recognises that particular ideas always accompany others in a given complex. Example: "Iron is susceptible of magnetical impression".

(4) Lastly Locke refers to ideas as corresponding to a "real existence". "God is" is of this kind.

(These 'real' connections are to be contrasted with those connections or associations of ideas [i] which are attributable to chance or custom — many of which, Locke says lead us into error [see II, 33].)

He goes on [IV, 2] to distinguish three degrees of knowledge: (1) We have intuitive knowledge when we perceive an agreement or disagreement without the intervention of another idea, as, for example, "White is not black". This is the paradigm, the clearest and most certain kind of knowledge, he says.

(2) Less clear than intuition is demonstrative knowledge, which requires intervening ideas to perceive agreement or disagreement. It thus depends on proofs. A typical example is the discovery that three angle of a triangle are equal to two right angles.

(3) Sensitive knowledge — of "particular existence". Thus we suppose ourselves to be aware of the existence of external objects through our senses (for example, of a rose by its scent). However, this is the least certain or clear degree of knowledge; we must recognise the possibility of error. Strictly speaking, we cannot pass beyond what is present to our senses [j]. Sensitive knowledge apart, whatever falls short of intuition or demonstration in general truths is said by Locke to be faith or opinion.

What then are the limits of our knowledge, given these three degrees? [3 -11] Knowledge of identity and diversity extends as far as the ideas: we perceive them and their agreement or disagreement intuitively. Knowledge of coexistence is more limited; for in the collection of ideas we are confined to we can discern no visible connection between simples making up the complex ideas. Neither can we discover any connection between any secondary quality and the primary qualities it depends on. As for relations, we cannot easily say how far our knowledge extends, because we can never be sure there are no more intermediate ideas to be discovered. Locke also says we can have intuitive knowledge of our own existence as immaterial substance in so far as through the very process of doubting other things we perceive that we are thinking selves, although he denied that its essence consists in its thinking; we may not always be doing so [k]. Locke rejects the ontological argument for the existence of God [IV, 10, vii; see also King's Life of Locke, ii] on the grounds that the idea of a necessary existence does not prove that a perfect being actually exists. But he claims to have demonstrative knowledge, although he says we cannot know God's essence; we are limited to our complex idea of the infinite being and our arguments must proceed only by analogy [IV, 16, xii] [l]. Starting from his knowledge of his own existence, he says he could not have produced himself and that therefore he must have had a beginning in something which existed eternally and which contains in itself all the qualities, power, intelligence, etc. we ourselves posses but to an absolute degree. Other than knowledge of our self and of God our knowledge must be of the sensitive kind — confined to general experiences of our senses. However, while we may thereby have good reason in everyday life for supposing external things to exist corresponding to our sensitive ideas, there is no necessary connection. But Locke nevertheless says that our simple ideas have 'conformity' with the reality of things that produce them which is sufficient for "real knowledge" [IV, 4, ii-iv] [m]. As for complex ideas, they can give us real knowledge in mathematics, but this is formal, concerned only with the properties of ideas or the intuitable relations between them, and says nothing about the external world [n]. We can also have 'real' knowledge of substances in so far as our ideas of substances are constructed out of simple ideas which have been found consistently to coexist; but this knowledge is of nominal essences not of real essences — though Locke supposes they correspond to 'archetypes' in the external world [o]. All such sensitive and 'real' knowledge is thus only probable [IV, 15]. The grounds for the truth of a given proposition about things, substances, etc. are derived from (1) what we may discover from our own observation and previous experience which has proved to be consistently regular; and (2) the testimony of others. Locke [IV, 16, v ff.] divides propositions which admit degrees of probability into (i) verifiable matters of fact (for example, "It froze in England the last winter"); and (ii) matters which cannot be empirically verified (for example, heat consists in a violent agitation of its minute burning parts). In such cases we may appeal to analogy [p] (arguing from our observation that heat is produced by rubbing two bodies together). Both natural science and history are therefore grounded in propositions which are only probable. Locke also notes that identical statements (such as 'An A is an A', and statements in which a part of any complex idea is predicted of the whole (for example, 'Lead is a metal'), or is part of the definition of the term defined ('Every man is an animal or living body') are but 'trifling' propositions which bring no increase to our knowledge [IV, 8] [q].

As for matters of faith (Locke seems to have been a committed Anglican), he says [IV, 16, xiv] that what is revealed by God is not probable but certain. Nevertheless, we must appeal to reason to show that what is claimed to be a revealed truth is in fact so [r]. Revealed truth, although not discoverable by human reason (without God's help), must yet not be contrary to it. And Locke is highly critical of those whom he terms 'enthusiasts' who are convinced of the truth of what they feel simply because of the strength of their convictions.

 

ETHICS

UTILITARIANISM

[3] Locke argues [Essay, Books II and IV] that the basic rules of morality can be demonstrated and known through reason working on experience [a]. The ideas which occur in ethical statements, such as justice and honesty (and which are 'real essences'), are derived from our own experience: but the statements themselves, which are made up of relations between the ideas, can be shown to be true independently of that experience and to be so with clarity and certainty; for we have real knowledge of them. In Book II he distinguishes between a general sense of 'good' (we might call it 'natural' good) and moral good. Good, is that which is "apt to cause or increase pleasure" (bad or evil conversely producing pain) [II, 20, ii; 21, 42]. Moral good, on the other hand, is "the conformity of our voluntary actions to some law" [b], as a result of which we experience our 'reward' according to the law-giver's will. Moral evil correspondingly involves disagreement with the law-giver and leads to an experience of pain [II, 28, v]. Locke uses the term 'law' in three ways [II, 28, vii-xl. There is divine law, which determines an action as a (morally good) duty or as a (morally evil) sin: God's will is the "true ground of morality" [I, 3, xii]. Subordinate to this is civil law, by which action is adjudged to be innocent or criminal. And lastly an action is virtuous or vicious with respect to the "philosophical" law of opinion. Morality for Locke thus consists in following rules ultimately laid down by God. How then are they known? While he seems to accept the possibility of revelation, he argues that we acquire a sufficient knowledge of divine law through "the light of nature", that is, reason... Locke accepts the concept of a positive 'natural' law and says it cannot be ascertained by the reason independently of God [c].

 

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY

[4] In his second Treatise on Civil Government Locke says that man started in a state of nature. This was not, however, a state of war; because there is a natural law, discoverable by reason and originating in , which grounds the idea of equality of all men as rational beings [section 6] [a]. Natural law gives rise to natural rights. It obliges a man not to harm another "in his life, health, liberty or possessions" [6]. Correspondingly a man has a duty and hence a right to self-preservation, freedom, and to property (which Locke understands to comprise "life, liberty, and estates", and which he regards as the basic right in so far as it contributes to his self-preservation [b]. We possess property by virtue of our labour [c] (clearing land, sowing seed, building the home, and so on). But Locke stresses that we should acquire goods only to extent that they are sufficient for his needs. Now, because many men in the state of nature do not actually respect the rights of others, Locke says that an organized society should be formed so as to ensure their rights are protected. In forming such a society, that is, joining what he calls a social compact, men give their consent freely to relinquish a degree of their natural liberty by vesting authority in a legislative body to make and enforce laws for the common good (as he says, quoting Cicero, "salus populi suprema lex": the welfare of the people is the supreme law [158] ), and by agreeing to abide by the will of the majority. Their liberties, although more restricted, will thereby be made more secure [d]; and he argues that all people born into the society or 'commonwealth' have given at least their tacit consent to their membership. Locke rejects absolute monarchy as being inconsistent with civil society [e]. But he also advocates a separation of powers as between the legislature, executive (including judicial), and federative functions — the latter being concerned with relations of the society with other states. However, the legislature remains supreme and cannot be altered by, say, a hereditary ruler without the consent of the people. If a government is dissolved as a result of such alteration, or by conquest from outside, the people have the right to rebel if they judge the revolution to be justified [f]. (He says also that anyone can always withdraw from the society if he ceases to accept the compact.)

 

CRITICAL SUMMARY

Locke is arguably more 'modern' than Descartes, not simply because of the bare chronological fact but also on account of his more rigorous rejection of scholastic assumptions (which Descartes, for all his radicalism, had not discarded), and his acceptance of Newton's methodology in the natural sciences [a] (as against Descartes' emphasis on deduction and reason). He is noteworthy too for the substantial contribution he made to a genuine theory of knowledge grounded in sense-experience and utilizing justification criteria. Nevertheless, there is much in Locke's philosophy that later thinkers have criticized.

(1) How far Locke should be regarded as being wedded to a denotation theory of meaning is debatable. If this is his position then it is open to a double objection: (a) that words have many different uses, and the denotation theory is too restrictive; (b) that words primarily refer to things rather than 'ideas'. (Locke's usage of the term 'idea' is in any case too wide-ranging.) However, as an 'ideational' variant, his theory may be understood as emphasizing language as playing a mediational role: my utterances elicit in you similar ideas to those with which my words are associated... Nevertheless, although he does talk of 'common use', he is still committed to the view that the ideas (of sense or reflection) supposedly denoted by words are private to each user; and this gives rise to a problem concerning communication of shared meanings in the 'public' context. He has also been criticized for holding the view that general terms denote 'nominal essences' — common features abstracted from a number of different sorts of thing (triangles, for example). On the credit side, he has been praised for having drawn attention to the various ways in which the misuse of words leads to error.

(2) In his theory of knowledge and metaphysics, while firmly empiricist in his account of the derivation of ideas (he rejects innate ideas in a strong sense), Locke allows for intuitive and demonstrative knowledge. But it is doubtful whether this (moderate) rationalist feature of his thought is consistent with his acceptance of sense-experience as his starting point. More serious problems arise with his acceptance of a rigid distinction between primary and secondary qualities (the latter being 'powers' of the former) and their corresponding ideas. Is the distinction tenable — at least in the Lockean form? This is clearly relevant to his realist theory of perception. How can we know primary qualities 'represent' the world? Even more serious is his assumption that underlying qualities of a thing is a substance or substrate about which we can know nothing, and which is endowed with a 'power' to produce in us complex ideas. Is this a 'real' essence or but a collection of ideas? What is this 'power' (the paradigm case of which is ourselves as active, willing beings), which grounds the causal relation between ideas? Whether they actually exist in material entities is questionable. In the last analysis, Locke appeals to 'commonsense' and practical considerations to dismiss scepticism about such issues.

(3) Locke's theory of the self and personal identity is original but controversial. We can know nothing of spiritual substance (he equivocates as to whether it is material or immaterial) except that it thinks. However, his criterion of identity — that it lies neither in thinking nor in bodily continuity, but in memory and responsibility poses obvious problems for amnesiacs. It has been suggested also that his references to 'sameness' of memory involves him in circular reasoning.

(4) Locke's political philosophy arguably marks an advance on that of Hobbes. His account of human nature and society is less depressing and more liberal — there being no suggestion of absolutism. But while one can accept the importance of the preservation of life and liberty, his emphasis on property as the basis of freedom and a natural right is less acceptable to many theorists today, especially with reference to such issues as universal rights and fair distribution of goods. Likewise his attitude to minorities and his provision for their opting out of the social contract is arguably unrealistic. The underpinning by God of the natural law also represents an approach different from Hobbes's. But God might seem to be redundant in Locke's utilitarian ethics in so far as the laws which when acted upon produce our 'good' are in principle discoverable through reflection on experience. However, it is no doubt comforting to find out through the natural light of reason that God has sanctioned them.

 

READING

Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding(1689), (ed.) P. H. Nidditch; Two Treatises of Government (1690) — there are several editions, for example, those of E. Barker and P. Laslett.

Studies:

Introductory

J. Dunn, John Locke.

D. J. O'Connor, John Locke.

Advanced

R. I. Aaron, John Locke.

J. Bennett, Central Themes: Locke, Berkeley and Hume .

J. L. Mackie, Problems from Locke .

J. W. Yolton, Locke and the Way of Ideas.

Collections of essays

V. C. Chappell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Locke.

C. B. Martin and D. M. Armstrong eds), Locke and Berkeley: A Collection of Critical Essays.

I. C. Tipton (ed.), Locke on Human Understanding.

 

 

CONNECTIONS

Locke

 

Note: In the following it is assumed that the influence of Plato on Locke was mediated through the Cambridge Platonists; and any Epicurean influence may be attributed to his reading of the works of Gassendi (1592-1665). Although Locke was critical of the Aristotelian scholasticism in which he had been educated at Oxford, he does not seem to have extricated himself fully from that tradition — as is shown by much of his language and many of his concepts. A number of references to Aquinas are therefore included — primarily as the representative scholastic thinker.

 

[1a] Ideas as mental contents, objects of the understanding; signification of words for ideas and thence for things (denotation theory)

   Ockham

   Hobbes

Berkeley

Condillac

Mill

Brentano

Peirce

Moore

[1a b]

[1b]

[1a]

[1a]

[1b 1c]

[1a]

[1a 1c d]

[2c d 2g]

 

[1b; cf. 2o] General ideas through abstraction, stand for nominal essences; conceptalist/ nominalist account of universals

   Plato

   Aquinas

Berkeley

Hume

Condillac

Mill

[1b c 2a c 7e]

[6e]

[1a 1c]

[1f]

[3b]

[1b c]

 

[1c] Abuse of words leads to error

   Ockham

   Bacon (Francis)

   Hobbes

Berkeley

[1e]

[2c]

[1d]

[1a]

 

[2a; cf. 1b 2o] No innate ideas; all knowledge (ideas) from sensation and reflection; sensualizing of concepts of the understanding?

   Plato

   Epicurus

   Aquinas

   Ockham

   Descartes

   Malebranche

Leibniz

Shaftesbury

Berkeley

Hutcheson

Hume

Diderot

Condillac

Kant

Mill

James

Royce

[sec. 8]

[1a]

[6f]

[2b]

[2b c]

[3e]

[6c]

[1d]

[2b e]

[1a]

[1c 2a]

[1c]

[3a]

[2a d 3c 4a]

[2a]

[1c e j]

[1c j]

 

[2b; cf. 2d] Primary and secondary qualities: latter only as 'powers' in substances — no resemblance

   Democritus

   Aquinas

   Hobbes

   Descartes

Berkeley

Hume

Whitehead

Ayer

[2b]

[1c]

[3a]

[2c]

[2c]

[2c]

[3a]

[2c 3c]

 

[2c; cf. 2o] Clear and distinct ideas of extended bodies

   Descartes

Kant

[2a c 3e]

[3c]

 

[2d; cf. 2b] Idea of substance in general (as 'substrate') by abstraction

   Aquinas

   Descartes

Leibniz

Berkeley

Hume

Kant

[1c 2a]

[3a]

[2a]

[1c]

[1e f]

[3d]

 

[2e; cf. 2c h k ] Ideas of spiritual substance: God and mind; mind as substratum; or matter with power of thinking added? mind-body problem

   Plato

   Epicurus

   Cicero

   Aquinas

   Hobbes

   Descartes

Leibniz

Berkeley

Hume

Kant

Bradley

[sec. 9]

[3a b]

[1e]

[5e]

[5a]

[3a g]

[2e]

[2f]

[2d]

[3b 5a b]

[4a]

 

[2f] Relations from complex ideas and comparisons Hume [1d]

 

[2g] Necessary relation of efficient causality — producer and effect: grounded in 'active power' of substance; will and desire (as 'uneasiness'; rejection of formal and final causes

   Epicurus

   Aquinas

   Ockham

   Hobbes

   Descartes

Berkeley

Hume

Condillac

Kant

[2c]

[2f]

[2c]

[4a]

[3d e]

[3d 4b]

[1h]

[4a]

[3e]

 

[2h; cf. 2e k] Self-identity in bodily continuity; personality in self-consciousness; immortality but cannot be proved; memory

   Aquinas

   Descartes

Leibniz

Butler

Kant

Bradley

Ricoeur

[5e]

[2a]

[2f]

[1c]

[5a]

[4a]

[5i]

 

[2i; cf. 2 j m o] Knowledge/ judgement as perception of agreement/ disagreement of ideas; contrast real with chance associations

   Descartes

Hume

Diderot

Condillac

Brentano

[1b 2c]

[2a]

[1c]

[3a]

[1c]

 

[2j; cf. 2i m] Degrees of knowledge: intuitive (the ideal), demonstrative, sensitive knowledge of external objects — but strictly we are confined to ideas

   Descartes

Condillac

Kant

   Mill

Brentano

James

[1a 1b]

[3c]

[2d 4a]

[2b]

[1a 2c]

[1j]

 

[2k; cf. 2c h] Limits of knowledge; intuitive knowledge of self via doubt (but not a thinking 'essence' or substance)

   Descartes

Condillac

Mill

[2a]

[3d 4b]

[2c]

 

[2l; cf. 2p] Demonstrative knowledge of God's existence (cosmological argument) but not of His essence; argument by analogy; rejection of ontological argument

   Cicero

   Aquinas

   Descartes

Hume

Kant

[1d]

[3d e 7a]

[3b 3c]

[5a]

[5d 5d]

 

[2m; cf. 2i j] Real knowledge as 'conformity of ideas' to things (but no necessary connection)

   Descartes

Hume

Condillac

[2b]

[2a c]

[3b c]

 

[2n] Mathematical propositions — relations of ideas; give no knowledge of external world

   Descartes

Hume

   Kant

[1d]

[1g 2a]

[1b]

 

[2o; cf. 1b 2a c l] 'Real' knowledge of substance — but only nominal essence; real essences not knowable

   Plato

   Aquinas

   Descartes

[1b c 2a c 7e]

[6a e]

[2a b]

 

[2p; cf. 2l] Sensitive and real knowledge only probable: matters of fact verifiable through observation or testimony; analogy for non-verifiable

   Epicurus

Hume

Mill

[1a]

[1g]

[2a]

 

[2q] Identical propositions are 'trifling' and give no knowledge

   Kant

   Mill

[1a]

[1c]

 

[2r] Certain knowledge in revelation (reason needed to confirm)    Aquinas [1a]

 

[3a] Rules of morality through reason on experience    Hobbes [7e]

 

[3b] Good/ bad as pleasure/ pain; moral good in conformity of action to law

   Epicurus

   Aquinas

   Hobbes

Hume

Bentham

[1b]

[8c]

[7a e]

[3e 5d]

[1a]

 

[3c] Law — divine, civil, opinion; natural law positive but not independent of God (His will the true ground)

   Plato

   Aquinas

   Ockham

   Hobbes

[11e]

[8c 10b]

[6a]

[7c]

 

[4a] State of nature not a 'war'; natural law and equality of men as rational beings

   Hobbes

Hume

Rousseau

Bentham

[7b]

[4a]

[1a]

[1c]

 

[4b] Natural rights: self-preservation, freedom, 'property' (includes life and liberty)

   Hobbes

Rousseau

Bentham

[7c]

[1e]

[1c]

 

[4c] Property through labour    Marx [2e]

 

[4d] Social 'compact' between members: authority to legislature only for the common good; natural liberty restricted but more secure

   Cicero

   Hobbes

Hume

Rousseau

Bentham

Rawls

[2f]

[7c d 7f]

[4c]

[1f-h]

[1c 1e]

[1d]

 

[4e] Rejection of absolute monarchy; separation of powers

   Hobbes

Rousseau

[7d]

[1j]

 

[4f] Citizen's right to rebel, or to opt out of contract

   Hobbes

   Berkeley

Rousseau

   Holbach

Rawls

[7g]

[3h]

[1j]

[2b]

[1f]

 

[CSa] Rejection of Cartesian methodology in favour of Newton's

   Descartes

Condillac

[1c 1d]

[2a]