Ideas from 'Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed)' by John Locke [1694], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding' by Locke,John (ed/tr Nidditch,P.H.) [OUP 1979,0-19-824595-5]].

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
I am just an under-labourer, clearing the ground in preparation for knowledge
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 7. Status of Reason
Opposition to reason is mad
2. Reason / D. Definition / 5. Genus and Differentia
Genus is a partial conception of species, and species a partial idea of individuals
2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence
Maybe Locke described the real essence of a person
2. Reason / F. Fallacies / 7. Ad Hominem
Ad Hominem: press a man with the consequences of his own principle
2. Reason / F. Fallacies / 8. Category Mistake / a. Category mistakes
Asking whether man's will is free is liking asking if sleep is fast or virtue is square
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
Nothing is so beautiful to the eye as truth is to the mind
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 5. Truth Bearers
Truth only belongs to mental or verbal propositions
It is propositions which are true or false, though it is sometimes said of ideas
If they refer to real substances, 'man' is a true idea and 'centaur' a false one
4. Formal Logic / A. Syllogistic Logic / 2. Syllogistic Logic
Syllogisms are verbal fencing, not discovery
Many people can reason well, yet can't make a syllogism
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 3. If-Thenism
Mathematical proofs work, irrespective of whether the objects exist
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / m. One
The idea of 'one' is the simplest, most obvious and most widespread idea
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. The Infinite / d. Actual infinite
If there were real infinities, you could add two together, which is ridiculous
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / b. Against mathematical platonism
Mathematics is just about ideas, so whether circles exist is irrelevant
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / a. Mathematical empiricism
Every simple idea we ever have brings the idea of unity along with it
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Abstract Existence
General and universal are not real entities, but useful inventions of the mind, concerning words or ideas
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 8. Criterion for Existence
Existences can only be known by experience
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / d. Logical atoms
Comparisons boil down to simple elements of sensation or reflection
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
God assures me of the existence of external things
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 9. Vagueness / b. Vagueness as epistemic
Obscure simple ideas result from poor senses, brief impressions, or poor memory
Ideas are uncertain when they are unnamed, because too close to other ideas
7. Existence / E. Categories / 2. Categorisation
We can't categorise things by their real essences, because these are unknown
If we discovered real essences, we would still categorise things by the external appearance
7. Existence / E. Categories / 5. Category Anti-Realism
There are no gaps in the continuum of nature, and everything has something closely resembling it
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Power is active or passive, and has a relation to actions
We get the idea of power from our own actions, and the interaction of external bodies
We can only know a thing's powers when we have combined it with many things
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
The essence of whiteness in a man is nothing but the power to produce the idea of whiteness
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
What is the texture - the real essence - which makes substances behave in distinct ways?
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers
Locke explains powers, but effectively eliminates them with his talk of internal structure
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Locke, Berkeley and Hume did no serious thinking about universals
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / b. Nominalism about universals
All things that exist are particulars
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Bodies distinctively have cohesion of parts, and power to communicate motion
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / a. Individuation
Viewing an object at an instant, we perceive identity when we see it must be that thing and not another
Living things retain identity through change, by a principle of organisation
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / c. Individuation by location
Obviously two bodies cannot be in the same place
A thing is individuated just by existing at a time and place
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
I speak of a 'sortal' name, from the word 'sort'
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
Powers are part of our idea of substances
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
We can conceive of three sorts of substance: God, finite intelligence, and bodies
We sort and name substances by nominal and not by real essence
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
We think of substance as experienced qualities plus a presumed substratum of support
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
We don't know what substance is, and only vaguely know what it does
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / d. Coincident objects
Locke may accept coinciding material substances, such as body, man and person
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
A mass consists of its atoms, so the addition or removal of one changes its identity
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
Complex ideas are collections of qualities we attach to an unknown substratum
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 1. Essences of Objects
Particular substances are coexisting ideas that seem to flow from a hidden essence
The best I can make of real essence is figure, size and connection of solid parts
Real essence is the constitution of the unknown parts of a body which produce its qualities
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 2. Types of Essence
Locke may distinguish real essence from internal constitution, claiming the latter are knowable
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
We can conceive an individual without assigning it to a kind
You can't distinguish individuals without the species as a standard
Many individuals grouped under one name vary more than some things that have different names
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 5. Essence as Kind
The less rational view of essences is that they are moulds for kinds of natural thing
Even real essence depends on a sort, since it is sorts which have the properties
If every sort has its real essence, one horse, being many sorts, will have many essences
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
Not all identity is unity of substance
Essence is the very being of any thing, whereby it is what it is
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / c. Essentials are necessary
We can only slightly know necessary co-existence of qualities, if they are primary
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 8. Essence as Explanatory
Explanatory essence won't do, because it won't distinguish the accidental from the essential
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
Lockean real essence makes a thing what it is, and produces its observable qualities
Locke's essences determine the other properties, so the two will change together
It is impossible for two things with the same real essence to differ in properties
We cannot know what properties are necessary to gold, unless we first know its real essence
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 10. Essence as Species
In our ideas, the idea of essence is inseparable from the concept of a species
If we based species on real essences, the individuals would be as indistinguishable as two circles
Internal constitution doesn't decide a species; should a watch contain four wheels or five?
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 11. Essence of Artefacts
Artificial things like watches and pistols have distinct kinds
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 13. Nominal Essence
To be a nominal essence, a complex idea must exhibit unity
Real essence explains observable qualities, but not what kind of thing it is
'Nominal essence' is everything contained in the idea of a particular sort of thing
The observable qualities are never the real essence, since they depend on real essence
In nominal essence, Locke confuses the set of properties with the abstracted idea of them
Locke's real and nominal essence refers back to Aristotle's real and nominal definitions
Nominal Essence is the abstract idea to which a name is attached
Essences relate to sorting words; if you replace those with names, essences vanish
Real essences are unknown, so only the nominal essence connects things to a species
Our ideas of substance are based on mental archetypes, but these come from the world
For 'all gold is malleable' to be necessary, it must be part of gold's nominal essence
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 14. Knowledge of Essences
The essence of a triangle is simple; presumably substance essences are similar
A space between three lines is both the nominal and real essence of a triangle, the source of its properties
The schools recognised that they don't really know essences, because they couldn't coin names for them
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
There are no independent natural kinds - or our classifications have to be subjective
We know five properties of gold, but cannot use four of them to predict the fifth one
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 1. Objects over Time
Identity means that the idea of a thing remains the same over time
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 7. Intermittent Objects
One thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 3. Relative Identity
Same person, man or substance are different identities, belonging to different ideas
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity
Two things can't occupy one place and time, which leads us to the idea of self-identity
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
Some of our ideas contain relations which we cannot conceive to be absent
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
Our knowledge falls short of the extent of our own ideas
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 3. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs
When two ideas agree in my mind, I cannot refuse to see and know it
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
The greatest certainty is knowing our own ideas, and that two ideas are different
General certainty is only found in ideas
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 4. Fallibilism
Knowledge by senses is less certain than that by intuition or reason, but it is still knowledge
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 5. The Cogito
I am as certain of the thing doubting, as I am of the doubt
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge
If the only test of innateness is knowing, then all of our knowledge is innate
Innate ideas were followed up with innate doctrines, which stopped reasoning and made social control possible
Innate ideas are trivial (if they are just potentials) or absurd (if they claim infants know a lot)
A proposition can't be in the mind if we aren't conscious of it
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / c. Tabula rasa
The senses first let in particular ideas, which furnish the empty cabinet
The mind is white paper, with no writing, or ideas
The mind is a blank page, on which only experience can write
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 10. A Priori as Subjective
The mind cannot produce simple ideas
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / a. Qualities in perception
A 'quality' is a power to produce an idea in our minds
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / b. Primary/secondary
Colours, smells and tastes are ideas; the secondary qualities have no colour, smell or taste
Secondary qualities are powers of complex primary qualities to produce sensations in us
Hands can report conflicting temperatures, but not conflicting shapes
We can't know how primary and secondary qualities connect together
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / c. Primary qualities
Primary qualities produce simple ideas, such as solidity, extension, motion and number
Ideas of primary qualities resemble their objects, but those of secondary qualities don't
Locke believes matter is an inert, senseless substance, with extension, figure and motion
Qualities are named as primary if they are needed for scientific explanation
In Locke, the primary qualities are also powers
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
In my view Locke's 'textures' are groups of corpuscles which are powers (rather than 'having' powers)
I suspect that Locke did not actually believe colours are 'in the mind'
Secondary qualities are simply the bare powers of an object
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
Molyneux's Question: could a blind man distinguish cube from sphere, if he regained his sight?
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
All the ideas written on the white paper of the mind can only come from one place - experience
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
Some ideas connect together naturally, while others connect by chance or custom
The constant link between whiteness and things that produce it is the basis of our knowledge
Knowledge is just the connection or disagreement of our ideas
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 4. Pro-Empiricism
The absolute boundaries of our thought are the ideas we get from senses and the mind
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 1. Intuition
Intuition gives us direct and certain knowledge of what is obvious
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / b. Need for justification
Believing without a reason may just be love of your own fantasies
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / a. Coherence as justification
Facts beyond immediate experience are assessed by agreement with known truths and observations
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 8. Social Justification
Other men's opinions don't add to our knowledge - even when they are true
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
Locke has no patience with scepticism
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
Locke seems to use real essence for scientific explanation, and substratum for the being of a thing
To explain qualities, Locke invokes primary and secondary qualities, not real essences
Gold is supposed to have a real essence, from whence its detectable properties flow
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / c. Knowing other minds
We are satisfied that other men have minds, from their words and actions
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 7. Animal Minds
Unlike humans, animals cannot entertain general ideas
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 1. Consciousness / f. Higher-order thought
Consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man's own mind
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
If we aren't aware that an idea is innate, the concept of innate is meaningless; if we do, all ideas seem innate
15. Nature of Minds / B. Properties of Minds / 6. Inverted Qualia
The same object might produce violet in one mind and marigold in another
There is nothing illogical about inverted qualia
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 4. Objectification
Every external object or internal idea suggests to us the idea of unity
The mind can make a unity out of anything, no matter how diverse
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
The mind creates abstractions by generalising about appearances of objects, ignoring time or place
General words represent general ideas, which are abstractions from immediate circumstances
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 8. Remembering Contiguity
If a man sees a friend die in a room, he associates the pain with the room
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 1. Existence of Persons
A person is intelligent, rational, self-aware, continuous, conscious
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 2. Persons as Responsible
Should we punish people who commit crimes in their sleep?
Someone mad then sane is two persons, judging by our laws and punishments
'Person' is a term used about responsibility, involving law, and happiness and misery
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 5. Persistence of Self
Locke uses 'self' for a momentary entity, and 'person' for an extended one
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 1. Self and Memory
Locke mistakes similarity of a memory to its original event for identity
Identity over time involves remembering actions just as they happened
Personal identity is my perceptions, but not my memory, as I forget too much
Locke's theory confusingly tries to unite consciousness and memory
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 2. Psychological Continuity
For Locke, conscious awareness unifies a person at an instant and over time
If the soul individuates a man, and souls are transferable, then a hog could be a man
Our personal identity must depend on something we are aware of, namely consciousness
Identity must be in consciousness not substance, because it seems transferable
If someone becomes conscious of Nestor's actions, then he is Nestor
If a prince's soul entered a cobbler's body, the person would be the prince (and the man the cobbler)
On Judgement Day, no one will be punished for actions they cannot remember
Locke sees underlying substance as irrelevant to personal identity
Nothing about me is essential
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 3. Psychological Self critique
Locke's move from substance to consciousness is a slippery slope
No two thoughts at different times can be the same, as they have different beginnings
Locke confuses the test for personal identity with the thing itself
If consciousness is interrupted, and we forget our past selves, are we still the same thinking thing?
If identity is consciousness, could a person move between bodies or fragment into parts?
Butler thought Locke's theory was doomed once he rejected mental substance
Locke implies that each thought has two thinkers - me, and 'my' substance
Two persons might have qualitatively identical consciousnesses, so that isn't enough
16. Persons / F. Self as Body / 1. Role of the Body
My little finger is part of me if I am conscious of it
16. Persons / G. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
We are free to decide not to follow our desires
16. Persons / G. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / b. Determinism
Men are not free to will, because they cannot help willing
16. Persons / G. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / c. Compatibilism
Liberty is a power of agents, so can't be an attribute of wills
A man is free insofar as he can act according to his own preferences
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 8. Dualism of Mind Critique
For all we know, an omnipotent being might have enabled material beings to think
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
We can't begin to conceive what would produce some particular experience within our minds
Thoughts moving bodies, and bodies producing thoughts, are equally unknowable
Thinking without matter and matter that thinks are equally baffling
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 8. Human Thought
For Locke, abstract ideas are our main superiority of understanding over animals
18. Thought / C. Content / 2. Ideas
The word 'idea' covers thinking best, for imaginings, concepts, and basic experiences
Complex ideas are all resolvable into simple ideas
Ideas are the objects of understanding when we think
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Origin of Concepts / b. Empirical concepts
All our ideas derive either from sensation, or from inner reflection
Simple ideas are produced in us by external things, and they match their appearances
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 5. Origin of Concepts / c. Nativist concepts
Innate ideas are nothing, if they are in the mind but we are unaware of them
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 6. Abstract Concepts / a. Abstract concepts
A species of thing is an abstract idea, and a word is a sign that refers to the idea
19. Language / A. Language / 7. Private Language
Since words are just conventional, we can represent our own ideas with any words we please
19. Language / B. Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
Words were devised as signs for inner ideas, and their basic meaning is those ideas
19. Language / B. Meaning / 3. Meaning as Verification
Words stand for the ideas in the mind of him that uses them
19. Language / D. Theories of Reference / 3. Direct Reference / c. Social reference
For the correct reference of complex ideas, we can only refer to experts
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 5. Happiness / c. Value of happiness
Pursuit of happiness is the highest perfection of intellectual nature
A concern for happiness is the inevitable result of consciousness
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 2. Moral Theory
There couldn't be a moral rule of which a man could not justly demand a reason
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 6. Ethics from Reason
We can demand a reason for any moral rule
Morality can be demonstrated, because we know the real essences behind moral words
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 2. Hedonism
Things are good and evil only in reference to pleasure and pain
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
Actions are virtuous if they are judged praiseworthy
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / c. Property rights
It is certain that injustice requires property, since it is a violation of the right to property
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 1. Basis of Nature
We are so far from understanding the workings of natural bodies that it is pointless to even try
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / d. Relational space
We can locate the parts of the universe, but not the whole thing
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / a. Time
We can never show that two successive periods of time were equal
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / f. Presentism
An 'instant' is where we perceive no succession, and is the time of a single idea
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / c. Knowing kinds
We distinguish species by their nominal essence, not by their real essence
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / d. Source of kinds
If we observe total regularity, there must be some unknown law and relationships controlling it
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / d. Naturalised causation
Causes are the substances which have the powers to produce action
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
If we knew the minute mechanics of hemlock, we could predict that it kills men
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Boyle and Locke believed corpuscular structures necessitate their powers of interaction
The corpuscular hypothesis is the best explanation of the necessary connection and co-existence of powers
We will only understand substance when we know the necessary connections between powers and qualities
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences
We identify substances by supposing that groups of sensations arise from an essence
Other spirits may exceed us in knowledge, by knowing the inward constitution of things
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / i. Modern matter
I take 'matter' to be a body, excluding its extension in space and its shape
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 2. Movement
Motion is just change of distance between two things
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 3. Force
Boyle and Locke suspect forces of being occult
An insurmountable force in a body keeps our hands apart when we handle it
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
It is inconceivable that unthinking matter could produce intelligence
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / d. God decrees morality
The finite and dependent should obey the supreme and infinite
28. God / B. Proving God / 1. Proof of God
God has given us no innate idea of himself
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 1. Cosmological Proof
We exist, so there is Being, which requires eternal being
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 5. Miracles
If miracles aim at producing belief, it is plausible that their events are very unusual