In Defense of Hylas and Support of Locke Essay

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In Defense of Hylas and Support of Locke


I wish to defend and support John Locke's "The Causal Theory of Perception" because it is a logical argument with many useful applications. Primarily, this argument allows us to make more objective judgments about the world we perceive - it allows us to more accurately see reality by telling us how to separate the object itself from our own opinions or qualitative value judgments about the object. However, just the fact that a particular theory is useful does not mean that the theory itself is correct, even though that might be the motive for trying to prove its correctness. Therefore, I must also address George Berkeley's argument, put forth by his character Philonous in Three
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If we truly believe an object (for example, a chair) to exist, we will be able to see it, to touch it, to hear it's sound. We will be able to do all of the above until we have a reason to believe that it does not exist. Notice that I have included several different senses in this example, including the sense of touch. However well we might perceive this particular chair to exist, if it is not real, we will fall to the floor if we try to sit in it. That is because our action of sitting depends on the chair being solid and actually existing.


Now, let us imagine me walking from the patio of a friend's home into the den. I turn and face the house and walk towards the doorway, heading towards the nice comfortable sofa. Suddenly, I am knocked flat on my back. Looking up, I see the sun reflecting off a perfectly cleaned sliding glass door. Up until the moment I hit the glass, I had no idea that it was there, or no conception of the door. However after being knocked down, and also seeing the reflection, I now know that the glass exists. There is Hylas's needed example of an object that is both conceived and unconceived. I had no conception of the object before I hit it, but does that mean that the object did not exist until I hit it? No, for what

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