Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Go to advanced search...

Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects - Assignment Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
In the paper “Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects,” the author provides the two different classifications of properties the primary and secondary qualities of an object. Locke acknowledged the corpuscular proposition as the most likely proposition…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER93.5% of users find it useful
Lockes Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects"

Download file to see previous pages I shall argue that the distinction is well-grounded and interesting, that Locke had grasped an important truth about it, and that Berkeley's treatment of this matter is impercipient and unhelpful. Berkeley assimilated the primary/ secondary distinction to that monolithic 'theory of material substance' which he thought he detected in Locke's writings, and I shall argue that that is the dominating fact about his failure to deal competently with the distinction between primary and secondary qualities.
Locke has two general, true things to say about the primary/ secondary distinction. One of them is his thesis that primary qualities are such as are utterly inseparable from the body, in what state soever it be; and such as in all the alterations and changes it suffers, all the force can be used upon it, it constantly keeps, and such as sense constantly finds in every particle of matter which has bulk enough to be perceived.
In most of Locke's theorizing, a thing's primary qualities are taken to consist in its being spherical, two feet across, and falling rapidly; but here they are thought of rather as a thing's being shaped, of some size, mobile, etc. That is, in the thesis that primary qualities are ones which a body cannot lose, it is determinable qualities that are in question and not determinate ones. Locke's example reinforces this reading: 'Take a grain of wheat, divide it into two parts; each part has still solidity, extension, figure, and mobility: divide it again, and it remains still the same qualities.' It is not clear that 'solidity' is a determinable, either in its normal meaning or in Locke's specialized sense in which 'solid' means 'impenetrable'. Locke has a good point here, but he ought not to express it as though it were a prediction about the outcome of an experiment, for really it is a point about the meaning of the word 'body', or about the concept of a body or a physical thing. Indeed the word 'primary' for Locke partly means that these are qualities a thing must have to count as a 'body'. Locke's discussions of the concept of body involve detailed points which are of some interest but which lie beyond my present scope. His general thesis that the raw materials which constitute the concept of the body are to be found within the realm of primary qualities, and that secondary qualities are conceptually inessential, seems safe enough. Yet Berkeley apparently denies it: 'It is not in my power to frame an idea of a body extended and moved, but I must withal give it some color or other sensible quality. In short, extension, figure, and motion, abstracted from all other qualities, are inconceivable.' The quoted passage is, as it stands, true: a thing's being extended, or it is taking up space, must involve some spatial region's being occupied by something--some quality must be manifested in that region other than mere extension. But the quality could be solidity, which is on Locke's list of primary qualities. If Berkeley really is saying only that 'body' could not be defined out of the extension, figure and motion, without recourse to solidity. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects Assignment, n.d.)
Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects Assignment.
(Locke'S Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects Assignment)
Locke'S Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects Assignment.
“Locke'S Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects Assignment”.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects


... Locke John Locke was A British philosopher who was best known for his personal identity theory and an anti itarian state theory. John Locke contended that owning property privately was everyone’s natural right since it is the only manner through which man can be self-sustaining in physical comfort. Despite the fact that resources on earth are by nature without prior claim by an individual and in common ownership, Locke argues that, labor is required in order to utilize the resources (Locke 34). Labor, in this sense, can be defined as application of lawful and natural effort by an individual to own what was previously common property without any individual owner. Without getting consent from the original owner, at this point, no one can...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

John Locke

Insert Explanations on John Locke’s Notion of Property Rights Known widely as the father ical liberalism, John Locke (August 29, 1632-October 28 1704) had a very strong conviction on property right. To Locke, the earth and the fullness therein is property which is to be used by people in common, to the benefit of these people and to these people’s existence. To possess this property in common, every individual in the society should be accorded with the right to that property. Therefore, an individual has to have a way of earning all of his properties, in order to possess individual property which is to be used by only by a sole individual. Locke also points out that the property that is acquired has to be expended by an individual...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay


... it with a new one. Locke's writings sought to justify the revolt of 1688 against the Stuart monarchy and the establishment of William and Mary as constitutional monarchs, subject to parliamentary rule, on the English throne. John Locke's difference with Saint Augustine (354-430) lies in the latter's notable writings, among them Confessions and The City of God. Saint Augustine made Plato's philosophy the basis of Christian ethics. Augustine's system was two-sided. On the one side, the life of reason leads to temporal well-being; on the other, faith leads to salvation and eternal happiness. The divine center of St. Augustine's arguments maintained a twofold sovereignty over human life. One aspect of this sovereignty was the idea of divine...
7 Pages(1750 words)Book Report/Review

Astronomical objects

... that SGRs are magnetars. The origin of the strong magnetic field in compact stars, especially neutron stars, have been an open problem. Recent discovery of magnetars seems to renew this problem. Conservation of the magnetic flux during the collapse of a main sequence star has been a nave idea to understand the magnetic filed in neutron stars. WIMPS: WIMPS is an acronym for weakly interacting massive particles. Since, the 1980s they have been the standard cold dark matter (CDM) candidate. The primary motivation for including such objects comes from the theory of structure formation that suggests the existence of CDM. Super symmetric extensions...
11 Pages(2750 words)Essay

John Locke

...). Second Treatise of Government (1690). Published by Harlan Davidson, 1982. 3. Madison, James. The Papers of James Madison. Edited by William T. Hutchinson et al. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, Volume 1, Chapter 16, Document 23. 4. Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1974. 5. Robinson, Dave; and Judy Groves. Introducing Political Philosophy. London: Icon Books. 2003. 6. Rousseau, George S. Nervous Acts: Essays on Literature, Culture and Sensibility. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. 7. Waldron, Jeremy. God, Locke and Equality: Christian Foundations of Locke's Political Thought. Cambridge, 2002...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

The Viability of Primary and Secondary Qualities

... Ideas: The Viability of Primary and Secondary Qualities For George Berkeley, the theory of Ideas espoused by Locke was flawed. He was particularly troubled by the notion that realism was defined by our ability to sever the idea of the existence of things from the things being perceived. Perception was thus a critical theoretical foundation for Berkeley's assault on Locke; it was critical because, in his view, an idea was simply an idea and did not resemble the material object (Berkeley, 1710). Locke's approach, by contrast, assumed a separate reality with a fixed extension, motion, and extension. The essence of the philosophical debate, therefore, centered on Berkeley's refusal to believe that reality consisted of abstractions...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

The Viability of Primary and Secondary Qualities

... the quality from our mind; more particularly, Locke establishes a causal relationship in which a quality inherent in an object causes us to have an idea about that object. From this initial definition of a quality, Locke proceeds to divide a quality into two specific types. He attempts to draw a distinction between what he terms primary qualities and secondary qualities. Locke characterizes primary qualities as being inseparable from the object being observed. Everything has fundamental properties. These fundamental properties are constant and cannot be ignored. As an example, Locke presents the following, Take a grain of wheat, divide it into two parts; each part has still solidity, extension, figure, and mobility: divide it again...
7 Pages(1750 words)Book Report/Review


The role of a primary school teacher is critical in establishing a strong foundation in the pupils’ learning; the teacher creates lesson plans in tune with the curriculum of the students enabling them not only to enhance their already learned skills, but also to discover new abilities and to have a deeper knowledge and understanding with regard to their learning. The primary school teacher builds a positive learning environment, ensuring that his/her pupils are motivated and enthusiastic to develop and improve their skills. The teacher instils the students with a sense of imagination, while ensuring that there is enough discipline maintained in the classroom for the pupils to channel their enthusiasm and ideas productively. The te...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Gould 's argument for evolution

... objects cannot remain suspended in mid-air (Gould 73). Gould also thinks that science creation is a contradiction. According to him, facts are not absolute assurance. Scientists argue that their explanation in creation science is true because it presents facts unlike evolution theories. However, they contradict themselves because they are not certain about the facts presented. Evolutionists do not always claim that their explanation is true. However, scientists always claim that they only offer true explanations because they give facts. They use arguments which favor themselves whenever they attack evolutionists. Gould also thinks that scientists contradict themselves by trying to explain old information in new ways. An example...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

John Locke

... secondary qualities because everything can be explained using primary qualities. He explains an idea by connecting its meaning to perception and thinking. An idea is the object of perception and thinking in human beings. The essay presents confusing ideas on the idea of essence and its influence the functions of the human mind. It seems the whole idea of the essay is to drive towards a philosophical understanding of the mind as a free agent. In the essay, Locke presents an interesting discussion of liberty and freedom (Brubaker 208). He discusses the freedom of the will and the agent. According to Locke, power is something that has ability to influence a specific change in the world. The two kinds of powers that are in existence...
8 Pages(2000 words)Research Paper
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Assignment on topic Locke's Argument on the Primary Qualities of Objects for FREE!

Contact Us