Lecture 12

What is characteristic of empiricism? (This may not necessarily be true of this book [ECHU] of Locke’s – it’s not the most consistent and clear philosophical book.)

The pure stream of empiricism – Locke is not in every respect.

Empiricism is a process of coming to know is a two stage process.

In the first stage the mind is passive and purely receptive. The mind is a tabula rasa

What is in the mind is unlike that which is in the outside world. What is in the outside world comes to the mind through sensations.

Two types: sensation and reflection. reflection is examining the processes of the mind – sense data, this is the second stage.

Empiricism is an epistemological theory.

ECHU Introduction para 1 ‘Since it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him advantage and dominion, which he has over them…’

For Locke it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of the sensible beings.

The Introduction is thoroughly anti-Christian, and yet many Christians would read it and think nothing wrong!

There are many faculties that a man has that sets him apart.
The word of God – the heart – which gives him dominion.

In two distinct and successive stages

Physical bodies affect the senses.
This bombardment of the mind by sense expressions causes the mind to become active and to do certain things to these already received sense expressions.

The mind is aroused to activity of its own, to compare, contrast, combine these impressions received from outside.

Direction: from outside world into the mind.
All traffic is outside in.

Descartes – to show there are other epistemologies.
Six Meditations on First Philsophy 1641
Second meditation – about wax.
Large section of this read out:

Let us take, for example, this piece of wax: it has been taken quite freshly from the hive, and it has not ….

We don’t know the wax through the senses – this is a contrast between Descartes and Locke – understanding goes out through the senses – an intellectual perception.

Serious problem of a logical nature

[end of tape 11]

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