John Locke Essay

608 Words 3 Pages
John Locke


John Locke, born on Aug. 29, 1632, in Somerset, England, was an English philosopher and political theorist. Locke was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he followed the traditional classical curriculum and then turned to the study of medicine and science, receiving a medical degree, but his interest in philosophy was reawakened by the study of Descartes. He then joined the household of Anthony Ashley Cooper, later the earl of Shaftesbury, as a personal physician at first, becoming a close friend and advisor. Shaftesbury secured for Locke a series of minor government appointments. In 1669, in one of his official capacities, Locke wrote a constitution for the proprietors of the Carolina Colony in North America, but it
…show more content…
There are also immaterial substances associated with human bodies. These bodies have sense organs, which when stimulated produce "ideas of sensation." These ideas are operated on by our minds to produce "ideas of reflection." These two types of ideas are the material of our thoughts, perception, and consciousness, which are all derived from experience; we can have no knowledge beyond our ideas. In perception, according to this view, we are not directly aware of physical objects; we are directly aware of the ideas that objects "cause" in us and that "represent" the objects in our consciousness. Our ideas of primary qualities of objects, or the mathematically determinable qualities of an object, such as shape, motion, weight, and number, actually exist in the world. Secondary qualities, those which arise from the senses, do not exist in objects as they exist in ideas. According to Locke, secondary qualities, such as taste, "are nothing in the objects themselves but powers to produce ideas in use by their primary qualities." When an object is perceived, a person's ideas of its shape and weight represent qualities to be found in the object itself. Color and taste, however, are not copies of anything in the object. Genuine knowledge cannot be found in natural science since the essence of physical objects that science studies cannot be known.

Locke is better known for his political thought. The first of the Two Treatises of Government is a refutation of the…