The Foundations Of Modern Empiricism Essay

1352 Words Nov 6th, 2015 6 Pages
The foundations for modern empiricism were laid out by John Locke, who distinguished between different kinds of qualities; primary qualities and secondary qualities. Primary qualities make up the mass, number, figure, and motion of objects. According to Locke, primary qualities do not depend on the ability to perceive due to their existence in real bodies. Locke attributed the ability to produce sensations in us, such as colours, sounds and tastes etc. to secondary qualities or powers. Unlike primary qualities they are not intrinsic to the object and instead produce an idea or experience within our minds which we ourselves perceive. Consequently it is acknowledged that secondary qualities cease to resemble anything without existing within the mind. However it is inconceivable to imagine extension, figure or motion independent of the secondary qualities. For example it is nigh on impossible to visualize mass without using colour as a tool to imagine, as the two are interdependent. If this is true, then it follows that extension, figure and motion are only ideas existing in the mind as they are unable to exist without a perceiving substance. Berkeley found the concept of matter, a contradiction in itself. This was due to the fact that ideas such as big/small, fast/slow are completely relative. If you were to see a car driving at 50 mph in a 20 mph zone you would perceive that to be fast. Whereas, if you were on a motorway and saw the same car going at the same speed it would…

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