Problems from Locke

Paperback | May 1, 1994

byJ. L. Mackie

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J. L. Mackie selects for critical discussion six related topics which are prominent in John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding: the distinction between primary and secondary qualities; representative theories of perception; substance, real essence, and nominal essence; abstractideas, universals, and the meaning of general terms; identity, especially personal identity; and the conflict between empiricism and the doctrine of innate ideas. He examines Locke's arguments carefully, but his chief interest is in the problems themselves, which are important for our attempt todecide what sort of world we live in and how we can defend our claim to know about it. The book shows that on most of these topics, views close to Locke's are more defensible than has commonly been supposed, but that there is nonetheless a tension in Locke's thought between extreme empiricism and common-sense or scientific realism. Whereas Locke's immediate successors, Berkeley andHume, and many later thinkers, have stressed the empiricism at the expense of the realism, this book argues against the more extreme empiricist doctrines but supports the more moderate ones, especially the claims that innate ideas cannot be a source of necessary truth and that authoritative,autonomous knowledge of synthetic truths requires empirical support. The position J. L. Mackie advocates thus reconciles realism with moderate empiricism.

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From Our Editors

In this book Mr. Mackie selects for critical discussion six related topic which are prominent in John Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding: the distinction between primary and secondary qualities; representative theories of perception; substance, real essence, and nominal essence; abstract ideas, universals, and the meaning of ...

From the Publisher

J. L. Mackie selects for critical discussion six related topics which are prominent in John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding: the distinction between primary and secondary qualities; representative theories of perception; substance, real essence, and nominal essence; abstractideas, universals, and the meaning of general ter...

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In this book Mr. Mackie selects for critical discussion six related topic which are prominent in John Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding: the distinction between primary and secondary qualities; representative theories of perception; substance, real essence, and nominal essence; abstract ideas, universals, and the meaning of ...

J. L. Mackie is at University College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.75 inPublished:May 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198750366

ISBN - 13:9780198750369

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From Our Editors

In this book Mr. Mackie selects for critical discussion six related topic which are prominent in John Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding: the distinction between primary and secondary qualities; representative theories of perception; substance, real essence, and nominal essence; abstract ideas, universals, and the meaning of general terms; identity, especially personal identity; and the conflict between empiricism and the doctrine of innate ideas.

Editorial Reviews

"A clear, lively, and original series of discussions which reflect well on both Locke and their author."--Times Literary Supplement
"Extremely lucid and...readable....What emerges is an appreciation of the extent to which Locke's philosophy is constitutive of our contemporary view of the world....This should prove to be a very useful addition to any undergraduate library. Highly recommended."--Choice