John Locke 's Theory Of Perception And Knowledge

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In his work A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), George Berkeley is presenting a theory of perception and knowledge which is both a counter to and development of John Locke’s own theory as set out in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). Both Locke and Berkeley are empiricists, that is to say that they believe that all important truths and knowledge can be found out through attention to the senses and as such, having a valid theory of perception is crucial to them and their work. However, their theories are very different. Locke devised a causal theory of perception, that sense data that we receive from the outside world then causes us to have ideas of objects and it is these ideas that we perceive. Berkeley, on the other hand, has a theory called subjective idealism which will be discussed here. In any piece of epistemological work it is vital that we know what is meant by ‘knowledge’. At the start of his work, Berkeley explains knowledge by saying that it is all ideas which are formed through: the input of sense data; a consideration of one’s own thoughts, feelings and mental processes; or using one’s memory and/or imagination to bring together, split apart or change in some way that which has already been perceived. When certain ideas are experienced together on multiple occasions these ideas are then brought together to form a whole which is then known as a certain kind of thing. Berkeley then goes on to say that there must also be
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