The Viability of Primary and Secondary Qualities

Masters
Book Report/Review
Philosophy
Pages 7 (1757 words)
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The distinction between primary and secondary qualities, for John Locke, is an issue of fundamental importance. Our knowledge of the world around us, in his view, is dependent on this distinction. He was not the first philosopher to believe in the validity of the distinction…

Introduction

First, his work serves as an authoritative statement of the distinction. Second, his work serves as the basis for those whom deny the validity of the distinction. Therefore, the work of Locke is quite suitable as a starting point for an analysis of the validity of the distinction between primary qualities and secondary qualities.
One of Locke's main points is that what we do know about the world is a matter of perception. In this way he sets out to distinguish, by virtue of his primary versus secondary qualities analysis, actuality from our sensory interpretations.
The viability of this distinction has been questioned. George Berkeley and A.J. Ayers have pointed out what they claim to be contradictory assertions by Locke. They deny the logical cohesion and therefore the viability of his distinction. They point out epistemological problems which, they assert, render his distinction nothing more than speculation. Locke, in their view, is hardly an empiricist. Some have argued that Berkeley and his philosophical progeny have either misunderstood or mischaracterized Locke's work. What is the truth of the matter This essay will present Locke's distinction between primary and secondary qualities, criticisms of this distinction, and a personal statement regarding the validity of the distinction between primary qualities and secondary qualities.
As a preliminary, it is necessary to define what Locke means by ...
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