Earlier this week saw that Locke’s indirect realism raised questions about whether there really are objects that exist independent of our minds. Berkeley adopted idealism, the view that there are no material objects. In Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding he gives several arguments for the existence of mind-independent objects. The following passage is one of them.
In the text box below, write this argument out as a series of numbered statements with the conclusion of the argument at the end. If you believe this is a multistep argument, then include marginal notations that indicate how the statements are related. Briefly note whether you think Locke’s argument is good.
Note: Locke understands “idea” to mean “..an object that exists in a mind. For example, mental images are ideas. Sensations (e.g. sensations of pain) are also ideas” (Stich & Donaldson 115).
“First, it is obvious that those perceptions that we think are produced by outer things are produced in us by exterior causes affecting our senses […] When my eyes are shut, I can choose to recall to my mind the ideas of light or the sun that former sensations have lodged in my memory […] But if at noon I turn my eyes towards the sun, I can’t avoid the ideas that the light or sun then produces in me. So there is a clear difference between the ideas stored in my memory (over which, if they were only in my memory, I would always have the same power to call them up or set them aside as I choose) and those that force themselves on me and that I can’t avoid having. The latter ideas—the ones I have whether I want them or not—must be produced in my mind by some exterior cause, and the brisk acting of some external objects whose power I can’t resist.” -John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in the version by Jonathan Bennett presented at www.earlymoderntexts.com For more information on Locke Argument check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke
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