Discussion Questions on John
We continue to look at Locke's empiricist
attempt to explain the origin of our ideas. At this point, however,
Locke focuses on how certain complex ideas arise out of
simple ones. In addition, Locke discusses a number of
interesting philosophic issues that have no direct bearing on
the empiricist program.
1. In his discussion of power, Locke addresses one of the standard
questions of philosophy: Are human beings really free or are
all human actions determined? How does Locke attempt to solve
this question? Do you agree with his solution?
2. Locke's discussion of substance begins with his attempt to
explain the origin of this idea. Where does this idea come from?
What do you think of Locke's attempt to explain its origin?
3. Locke then goes on to make a distinction between the primary
and secondary qualities of a substance. What is the basis of
this distinction? How does it relate to Descartes' distinction
between ideas of sense and ideas of reason? How is the physical
world actually constituted according to Locke?
4. After discussing the ideas of
identity and diversity, Locke goes on to discuss the interesting
question of personal identity: What makes me the same thing from
one moment to another? In discussing this question, Locke distinguishes
various different senses in which I might be the same, as a person,
a man, and a substance. What is the ground for the differences
in these different senses of identity? Which are central to our
understanding of ourselves?