John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume Essay

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Locke, Berkeley, and Hume

Enlightenment began with an unparalleled confidence in human reason. The new science's success in making clear the natural world through Locke, Berkeley, and Hume affected the efforts of philosophy in two ways. The first is by locating the basis of human knowledge in the human mind and its encounter with the physical world. Second is by directing philosophy's attention to an analysis of the mind that was capable of such cognitive success. John Locke set the tone for enlightenment by affirming the foundational principle of empiricism: There is nothing in the intellect that was not previously in the senses. Locke could not accept the Cartesian rationalist belief in innate ideas. According to Locke, all
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Locke fought off skepticism with the argument that in the end both types of qualities must be regarded as experiences of the mind. Lockes Doctrine of Representation was therefore undefendable. According to Berkley's analysis all human experience is phenomenal, limited to appearances in the mind. One's perception of nature is one's mental experience of nature, making all sense data "objects for the mind" and not representations of material substances. In effect while Locke had reduced all mental contents to an ultimate basis in sensation, Berkeley now further reduced all sense data to mental contents. The distinction, by Locke, between qualities that belong to the mind and qualities that belong to matter could not be sustained. Berkeley sought to overcome the contemporary tendency toward "atheistic Materialism" which he felt arose without just cause with modern science. The empiricist correctly aims that all knowledge rests on experience. In the end, however, Berkeley pointed out that experience is nothing more than experience. All representations, mentally, of supposed substances, materially, are as a final result ideas in the mind presuming that the existence of a material world external to the mind as an unwarranted assumption. The idea is that "to be" does not mean "to be a material substance;" rather "to be" means "to be perceived by a mind." Through this Berkeley held that the individual mind does not subjectively determine its experience of

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