John Locke Vs. Bernard Williams
In this essay, I will be explaining John Locke’s case of the prince and the cobbler and Bernard Williams’s second description of the A-body person and the B-body person. Bernard Williams has the correct analysis of the situation where the body is part of self-identity since it is inevitable for us to fear future pain. John Locke claims that memory is the key to identity, so “as far [as] someone’s memory goes, is so far the identity of the person.” (Campbell) First, Locke explains the concept of body swapping in terms of the prince and the cobbler: the “transfer of memories between the body of the prince and the body of the cobbler would mean the people have swapped bodies.” (Campbell) In this example, the prince and the cobbler have their memories switched and everyone would see that the prince’s body, now inhabited by the memories of the cobbler would be identified as the cobbler. The same applies for the cobbler’s body; we would agree that the cobbler would now be the prince since the memories are the continued consciousness (memory) of the prince. If I was the prince and asked to choose selfishly, which of these future people should I choose to be tortured and which to be rewarded? Locke would say, I should choose my present prince’s body, to be tortured and my future cobbler’s body, to be rewarded since Locke explains that memory alone makes up identity.
However, in Bernard Williams’s second scenario of the A-body person and the B-body person, he argues that the body is needed for personal identity. William’s key point is “…the principle that one’s fears can extend to future pain, whatever psychological changes precede [the pain] seem positively straight forward.” (198) Whatever psychological changes there are, we will still care about our future pain. Williams starts off with John Locke’s body swapping example, but then Williams asks, suppose that you are told that you would be tortured tomorrow. In rational thought, it...
...Lockevs. Knowledge Innatism
In this paper, I will explore the topic of knowledge innatism and define what it is and what it isn’t, Locke’s objections to it, and responses to these objections. After raising an objection, I will argue either that 1) this objection is weak or 2) this objection works.
The sort of knowledge that nativists think are innate in the mind are truths that do not have to be learned through experience, such as knowledge of the laws of nature & mathematical truths. Examples of these are: 1) “What goes up must come down” (the law of gravity) & 2) “one plus one is two”. This school of thought is used to explain certain truths that might seem to have universal applicability. Nativists think that certain sorts of knowledge are innate because of 1) its universal applicability or 2) truths that go beyond sensory experience, such as: 1a) moral/ ethical truths such as the concepts of “right” & “wrong” & 2b) the idea of people having a “soul”.
For Locke, his biggest problem with the nativist school of thought is that their ultimate assertion is unclear; he is unsure if nativists are saying A) that everyone is born with knowledge of certain truths and is conscious of them all along, OR if they are saying that B) everyone is born with the innate capacity to come to know certain truths. As Locke understands it; if A), then it is empirically false, because infants and retards have no...
...Hobbes’s writing. John Locke on the other hand backed the ousting of the unpopular King James II, and advocated the institution of a constitutional monarchy. In both cases the effect of the context in which the writers were immersed affected their arguments and beliefs.
To understand Hobbes’s theory for the need of an absolute monarchy, the human state of nature has to be explained. "I put for a generall inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restlesse desire for Power after power, that ceaseth onely in Death." 1For Hobbes, our “appetites” or our “aversions” determine our nature, given that resources are limited and we are all equal, in a “State of Nature” were there is no common power to subdue the people’s wills, men will become enemies, “and in the way to their End will endeavor to destroy, or subdue one another.” 2Given our inability to escape this “State of Nature” an absolute monarchy, where a single man autocratically dominates the people under a common law, is needed. Locke starts from a different premise. There is no limit on resources. “As much Land as a Man Tills, Plants, Improves, Cultivates, and can use the Product: of, so much is his Property.”3The entirety of Hobbes’s argument collapses because in a world without scarcity, all men can obtain any resource they need, without competing with the other. In Locke, subjects don’t need a common power to mediate conflicts of interest because everyone has the same...
Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke both developed theories on human nature, the state of nature, how men govern themselves and the dynamics of the social contract. With the passing of time, political views on the philosophy of government steadily changed. In spite of their differences, Hobbes, and Locke, became two of the most influential political theorists in the world.
Hobbes believed that man is not by nature a social animal, that society could not exist except by the power of the state. The state of nature, “no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Leviathan I 13) Hobbes stated that “during the time men live without a common power to keep them in awe, they are in that condition called war; and such a way as if of every man against every man” (Leviathan I 13). Hobbes said that without a powerful centralized state “to hold man in awe”, every man had a natural liberty to do anything he wanted to in order to preserve his own life.
Hobbes believed that man would be locked in an eternal struggle with each other over attainment of limited resources such as food and shelter. This natural liberty without doubt leads to chaos as there would be in continuous
violence and conflict as each individual imposes his or her will on others to
gain access to limited resources necessary for their own...
...concerning the origin of ideas examine the ways in which we gain knowledge. John Locke’s “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” stands as one of the essential books for philosophers and non- philosophers alike (Spencer and Krauze 10). Locke, an English philosopher who was regarded as one of the great empiricist of the enlightenment, if not the greatest, differed vastly in his ideas than rationalists such as Rene Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz. Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician, is most well-known for his “New Essays on Human Understanding” which are in response to John Locke. Upon examining Locke’s empiricist view as well as Leibniz rationalist theory, the following conclusions will be clear: That both Locke and Leibniz reduce the origin of knowledge to the simplest explanation, that each philosopher believes their method of reasoning can prove the existence of God, but that ultimately both philosophers disagree on the origin of knowledge, specifically when it comes to innate ideas.
John Locke in his writing, “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” states his beliefs on the origin of the ideas within our minds. He concludes that there are no innate ideas and instead proposes the well-known theory that the mind is a blank slate. Locke continues that man gains all the knowledge he has from experience. This experience can be broken down further into two types of experience, the first...
...Philosophy Essay (Descartes vs. Locke)
Socrates once said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Several philosophers contradicted Socrates’ outlook and believed that true knowledge was in fact attainable. This epistemological view however had several stances to it, as philosophers held different beliefs in regards to the derivation of true knowledge. Rationalists believed that the mind was the source of true knowledge, while in Empiricism, true knowledge derived from the senses. Rene Descartes, a rationalist, and John Locke, an empiricist, were prime examples of epistemologists who were seen to differentiate greatly within each of their philosophies. However, although Descartes and Locke’s ideas did contrast in that sense, they both shared common concepts that helped mould the basis of their ideas.
Descartes and Locke both agreed that there were things in life that exist that we can be certain of. For Descartes, human experiences did not provide sufficient proof of existence. He indicated that through his Dream Conjecture and his Evil-Demon Theory (Paquette 205). Descartes stated that we cannot be certain if reality is a dream or not, thus questioning our existence (Paquette 205). In his Evil-Demon Theory, Descartes claimed that for all he knew, an evil demon could be putting thoughts into his head, making him think that reality was true when it was in fact false (Paquette 205). Ultimately, all this...
Exam 1: Hobbes/Locke
1. Compare and contrast Hobbes and Locke on political power? In answering this question explain Locke’s argument against Hobbes’s understanding of “paternal” and despotical power.
On the discussion of power and social structure, both John Locke and Thomas Hobbes introduce their theories on paternal and despotical power in Second Treatise of Government and Leviathan respectively. Both men believe that social order is constructed artificially and not by a divine being.
In Leviathan, Hobbes’s discusses the differences between paternal and despotical power. Even though he recognizes these differences he explains that power claimed by institution and power claimed by force incorporate the same rights and requirements of the contract. Contractual power is similar to parent over child in which there are two parents but only one can have absolute authority. The natural power is maternal but just as people give up their rights to a sovereign for security so do mother and child to the father for security. Religion and nature do not dictate paternal authority it is an accident of nature. Hobbes explains despotical power or acquired power is like the relation between master and servant. A despotical power is that of a “dominion acquired by conquest” that the people who are defeated have now entered into a contract as to avoid death (Hobbes 255). “The Master of the Servant,...
...A Comparative Essay of John Locke and Karl Marx Regarding The Privatization of Religion
Citizen’s views on today’s hotly debated topics such as: gay marriage, abortion, capital punishment, immigration, etc… are frequently affected by religious beliefs. This will be an examination of two different theorist’s opinions of how religion and political society affect each other including contrast and comparisons between the two views.
John Locke was a British political theorist. Much of our American Government is based on his writings. One of his most influential works, The Letter Concerning Toleration, has become a staple document, which it has granted us our freedom of religious choice.
First, he criticized the religious conflict. In essence, he was alarmed that religious wars were being waged. Basically religious groups were fighting against each other. He questioned the religious integrity of Christians, because he felt that they were not following Jesus, The Prince of Peace. Christians shouldn’t be fighting with swords, but instead “…follow the perfect example, of that prince of peace… not armed with the sword, or other instruments of force, but prepared with the gospel of peace... (778). Therefore, he says that toleration is a religious principle, because “the toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ…” (778).
Next, he talks about toleration in terms of a secular...
...that knowledge is gained largely by experience, observation, and sensory perception.
René Descartes and John Locke, both seventeenth century philosophers, are often seen as two of the first early modern philosophers. Both Descartes and Locke attempt to find answers to the same questions in metaphysics and epistemology; among these: What is knowledge? Is there certainty in knowledge? What roles do the mind and body play in the acquisition of knowledge? Descartes and Locke do not provide the same answers to these questions. In this paper the similarities and differences between the philosophies of Descartes and Locke will be addressed.
Locke's notion of the idea is one example of a term borrowed from Descartes. For Locke, an idea is that which ``the mind perceives in itself, or is the immediate object of perception, thought, or understanding'' (Locke, 48). This seems to be exactly Descartes' definition of idea: ``whatever is immediately perceived by the mind'' (Descartes, 132). Locke then goes on to consider the qualities (powers to produce ideas) of external objects. He distinguishes between primary and secondary qualities; the latter are those which are not in the objects themselves but are perceived or sensed, while the former are those which cannot be separated from the object and belong to it at all times such as solidity, extension, figure, and mobility...