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Ideas of John Locke, by Text

[English, 1632 - 1704, Born at Wrington. Studied in Oxford. Based at Christ Church College, Oxford. Died in Essex.]

1690 Second Treatise of Government
p.74 Locke (and Marx) held that ownership of objects is a natural relation, based on the labour put into it [Fogelin]
p.140 Locke says 'mixing of labour' entitles you to land, as well as nuts and berries [Wolff,J]
p.200 The Second Treatise explores the consequences of the contractual view of the state [Scruton]
003 p.118 Politics is the right to make enforceable laws to protect property and the state, for the common good
004 p.118 In nature men can dispose of possessions and their persons in any way that is possible
004 p.118 There is no subjection in nature, and all creatures of the same species are equal
006 p.119 The rational law of nature says we are all equal and independent, and should show mutual respect
008 p.120 Reparation and restraint are the only justifications for punishment
009 p.121 It is only by a law of Nature that we can justify punishing foreigners
012 p.122 Punishment should make crime a bad bargain, leading to repentance and deterrence
017 p.125 If you try to enslave me, you have declared war on me
022 p.127 Freedom is not absence of laws, but living under laws arrived at by consent
026 p.129 The animals and fruits of the earth belong to mankind
027 p.130 We all own our bodies, and the work we do is our own
027 p.130 A man's labour gives ownership rights - as long as there are fair shares for all
027 p.130 If a man mixes his labour with something in Nature, he thereby comes to own it
028 p.130 Gathering natural fruits gives ownership; the consent of other people is irrelevant
029 p.131 Fountain water is everyone's, but a drawn pitcher of water has an owner
031 p.131 Mixing labour with a thing bestows ownership - as long as the thing is not wasted
032 p.132 A man owns land if he cultivates it, to the limits of what he needs
040 p.136 All value depends on the labour involved
057 p.143 The aim of law is not restraint, but to make freedom possible
077 p.154 We are not created for solitude, but are driven into society by our needs
085 p.158 Slaves captured in a just war have no right to property, so are not part of civil society
089 p.160 There is only a civil society if the members give up all of their natural executive rights
090 p.160 Absolute monarchy is inconsistent with civil society
092 p.162 The idea that absolute power improves mankind is confuted by history
096 p.165 Unanimous consent makes a united community, which is then ruled by the majority
106 p.169 A society only begins if there is consent of all the individuals to join it
118 p.177 Children are not born into citizenship of a state
119 p.166 If anyone enjoys the benefits of government (even using a road) they give tacit assent to its laws
119 p.177 Anyone who enjoys the benefits of a state has given tacit consent to be part of it
122 p.179 You can only become an actual member of a commonwealth by an express promise
134 p.183 Even the legislature must be preceded by a law which gives it power to make laws
139 p.188 Soldiers can be commanded to die, but not to hand over their money
142 p.189 The consent of the people is essential for any tax
143 p.190 The executive must not be the legislature, or they may exempt themselves from laws
149 p.192 The people have supreme power, to depose a legislature which has breached their trust
153 p.211 All countries are in a mutual state of nature
155 p.196 Any obstruction to the operation of the legislature can be removed forcibly by the people
172 p.205 Despotism is arbitrary power to kill, based neither on natural equality, nor any social contract
173 p.206 People stripped of their property are legitimately subject to despotism
190 p.214 There is a natural right to inheritance within a family
196 p.217 Rebelling against an illegitimate power is no sin
205 p.205 Legitimate prisoners of war are subject to despotism, because that continues the state of war
211 p.224 A politic society is created from a state of nature by a unanimous agreement
212 p.225 A single will creates the legislature, which is duty-bound to preserve that will
222 p.229 If legislators confiscate property, or enslave people, they are no longer owed obedience
236 p.236 Self-defence is natural, but not the punishment of superiors by inferiors
237 p.239 A master forfeits ownership of slaves he abandons
1692 Letters to William Molyneux
1693.01.20 p.179 Things have real essences, but we categorise them according to the ideas we receive
1694 Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed)
p.1 Lockean real essence makes a thing what it is, and produces its observable qualities [Jones,J-E]
p.5 Real essence explains observable qualities, but not what kind of thing it is [Jones,J-E]
p.6 If essence is 'nominal', artificial gold (with its surface features) would qualify as 'gold' [Eagle]
p.12 Locke, Berkeley and Hume did no serious thinking about universals [Robinson,H]
p.13 Locke has no patience with scepticism [Robinson,H]
p.16 A species of thing is an abstract idea, and a word is a sign that refers to the idea
p.18 Locke seems to use real essence for scientific explanation, and substratum for the being of a thing [Jones,J-E]
p.37 For Locke, conscious awareness unifies a person at an instant and over time [Martin/Barresi]
p.38 Locke uses 'self' for a momentary entity, and 'person' for an extended one [Martin/Barresi]
p.48 Locke implies that each thought has two thinkers - me, and 'my' substance [Merricks]
p.51 For Locke, abstract ideas are our main superiority of understanding over animals [Berkeley]
p.60 Two persons might have qualitatively identical consciousnesses, so that isn't enough [Kant]
p.62 Syllogisms are verbal fencing, not discovery
p.69 Locke believes matter is an inert, senseless substance, with extension, figure and motion [Berkeley]
p.73 Boyle and Locke believed corpuscular structures necessitate their powers of interaction [Alexander,P]
p.102 Locke's move from substance to consciousness is a slippery slope [Butler]
p.121 In my view Locke's 'textures' are groups of corpuscles which are powers (rather than 'having' powers) [Alexander,P]
p.128 Maybe analysis seeks the 'nominal essence', and metaphysics seeks the 'real essence' [Mumford]
p.141 For Locke knowledge relates to objects, not to propositions [Rorty]
p.142 Qualities are named as primary if they are needed for scientific explanation [Alexander,P]
p.152 Locke explains powers, but effectively eliminates them with his talk of internal structure [Alexander,P]
p.163 Boyle and Locke suspect forces of being occult [Alexander,P]
p.167 Personal identity is my perceptions, but not my memory, as I forget too much [Ayer]
p.167 Locke's view that thoughts are made of ideas asserts the crucial role of imagination
p.173 Colours, smells and tastes are ideas; the secondary qualities have no colour, smell or taste [Alexander,P]
p.199 There are no independent natural kinds - or our classifications have to be subjective [Jolley]
p.205 We can conceive an individual without assigning it to a kind [Jolley]
p.213 It is unclear how identity, equality, perfection, God, power and cause derive from experience [Dancy,J]
p.660 Explanatory essence won't do, because it won't distinguish the accidental from the essential [Pasnau]
p.712 'Nominal essence' is everything contained in the idea of a particular sort of thing [Copi]
Epistle p.10 I am just an under-labourer, clearing the ground in preparation for knowledge
1 p.113 Innate ideas are trivial (if they are just potentials) or absurd (if they claim infants know a lot) [Jolley]
1.01.08 p.47 Ideas are the objects of understanding when we think
1.01.08 p.92 The word 'idea' covers thinking best, for imaginings, concepts, and basic experiences
1.02.05 p.50 Innate ideas are nothing, if they are in the mind but we are unaware of them
1.02.05 p.50 If we aren't aware that an idea is innate, the concept of innate is meaningless; if we do, all ideas seem innate
1.02.05 p.50 If the only test of innateness is knowing, then all of our knowledge is innate
1.02.05 p.50 A proposition can't be in the mind if we aren't conscious of it
1.02.15 p.55 The senses first let in particular ideas, which furnish the empty cabinet
1.03.04 p.68 There couldn't be a moral rule of which a man could not justly demand a reason
1.03.04 p.68 We can demand a reason for any moral rule
1.03.25? p.169 Innate ideas were followed up with innate doctrines, which stopped reasoning and made social control possible
1.04.23 p.101 Other men's opinions don't add to our knowledge - even when they are true
2.01.02 p.104 All the ideas written on the white paper of the mind can only come from one place - experience
2.01.02 p.104 The mind is white paper, with no writing, or ideas
2.01.02 p.106 The mind is a blank page, on which only experience can write
2.01.04 p.105 All our ideas derive either from sensation, or from inner reflection
2.01.19 p.115 Consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man's own mind
2.04.01 p.123 An insurmountable force in a body keeps our hands apart when we handle it
2.07.07 p.131 Every external object or internal idea suggests to us the idea of unity
2.07.08 p.131 We get the idea of power from our own actions, and the interaction of external bodies
2.08.08 p.135 A 'quality' is a power to produce an idea in our minds
2.08.09 p.135 Primary qualities produce simple ideas, such as solidity, extension, motion and number
2.08.10 p.135 Secondary qualities are powers of complex primary qualities to produce sensations in us
2.08.10-26 p.6 To explain qualities, Locke invokes primary and secondary qualities, not real essences [Jones,J-E]
2.08.15 p.137 Ideas of primary qualities resemble their objects, but those of secondary qualities don't
2.08.15 p.197 In Locke, the primary qualities are also powers [Heil]
2.08.15 p.199 I suspect that Locke did not actually believe colours are 'in the mind' [Heil]
2.08.21 p.139 Hands can report conflicting temperatures, but not conflicting shapes
2.09.08 p.146 Molyneux's Question: could a blind man distinguish cube from sphere, if he regained his sight?
2.09.09 p.159 The mind creates abstractions by generalising about appearances of objects, ignoring time or place
2.11.10 p.159 Unlike humans, animals cannot entertain general ideas
2.13.10 p.171 We can locate the parts of the universe, but not the whole thing
2.13.14 p.173 Motion is just change of distance between two things
2.13.19 p.175 We don't know what substance is, and only vaguely know what it does
2.14.10 p.185 An 'instant' is where we perceive no succession, and is the time of a single idea
2.14.21 p.190 We can never show that two successive periods of time were equal
2.16.01 p.205 Every simple idea we ever have brings the idea of unity along with it
2.16.01 p.205 The idea of 'one' is the simplest, most obvious and most widespread idea
2.17.20 p.222 If there were real infinities, you could add two together, which is ridiculous
2.20.02 p.229 Things are good and evil only in reference to pleasure and pain
2.21.02 p.234 Power is active or passive, and has a relation to actions
2.21.14 p.240 Asking whether man's will is free is liking asking if sleep is fast or virtue is square
2.21.14 p.240 Liberty is a power of agents, so can't be an attribute of wills
2.21.21 p.244 A man is free insofar as he can act according to his own preferences
2.21.24 p.246 Men are not free to will, because they cannot help willing
2.21.47 p.263 We are free to decide not to follow our desires
2.21.51 p.266 Pursuit of happiness is the highest perfection of intellectual nature
2.22.09 p.292 Complex ideas are all resolvable into simple ideas
2.22.11 p.294 Causes are the substances which have the powers to produce action
2.23.03 p.296 We identify substances by supposing that groups of sensations arise from an essence
2.23.03 p.296 Particular substances are coexisting ideas that seem to flow from a hidden essence
2.23.06 p.298 We think of substance as experienced qualities plus a presumed substratum of support
2.23.08 p.300 Powers are part of our idea of substances
2.23.08 p.300 Secondary qualities are simply the bare powers of an object
2.23.12 p.18 Locke may distinguish real essence from internal constitution, claiming the latter is knowable [Jones,J-E]
2.23.17 p.306 Bodies distinctively have cohesion of parts, and power to communicate motion
2.23.29 p.175 The absolute boundaries of our thought are the ideas we get from senses and the mind
2.23.32 p.314 Thinking without matter and matter that thinks are equally baffling
2.24.01 p.328 Identity means that the idea of a thing remains the same over time
2.24.03 p.318 The mind can make a unity out of anything, no matter how diverse
2.25.09 p.323 Comparisons boil down to simple elements of sensation or reflection
2.27 p.721 Locke may accept coinciding material substances, such as body, man and person [Pasnau]
2.27.01 p.328 Viewing an object at an instant, we perceive identity when we see it must be that thing and not another
2.27.01 p.328 One thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning
2.27.01 p.328 Two things can't occupy one place and time, which leads us to the idea of self-identity
2.27.02 p.329 We can conceive of three sorts of substance: God, finite intelligence, and bodies
2.27.02 p.329 No two thoughts at different times can be the same, as they have different beginnings
2.27.03 p.330 A mass consists of its atoms, so the addition or removal of one changes its identity
2.27.03 p.330 Living things retain identity through change, by a principle of organisation
2.27.03 p.330 A thing is individuated just by existing at a time and place
2.27.06 p.332 If the soul individuates a man, and souls are transferable, then a hog could be a man
2.27.07 p.332 Not all identity is unity of substance
2.27.07 p.332 Same person, man or substance are different identities, belonging to different ideas
2.27.09 p.335 A person is intelligent, rational, self-aware, continuous, conscious
2.27.09 p.725 Maybe Locke described the real essence of a person [Pasnau]
2.27.10 p.115 Locke's theory confusingly tries to unite consciousness and memory [Reid]
2.27.10 p.115 Locke confuses the test for personal identity with the thing itself [Reid]
2.27.10 p.117 Locke mistakes similarity of a memory to its original event for identity [Reid]
2.27.10 p.336 Identity over time involves remembering actions just as they happened
2.27.10 p.336 If consciousness is interrupted, and we forget our past selves, are we still the same thinking thing?
2.27.10 p.336 Our personal identity must depend on something we are aware of, namely consciousness
2.27.13 p.114 If identity is consciousness, could a person move between bodies or fragment into parts? [Reid]
2.27.13 p.338 Identity must be in consciousness not substance, because it seems transferable
2.27.14 p.115 Locke's memory theory of identity confuses personal identity with the test for it [Reid]
2.27.14 p.340 If someone becomes conscious of Nestor's actions, then he is Nestor
2.27.15 p.340 If a prince's soul entered a cobbler's body, the person would be the prince (and the man the cobbler)
2.27.17 p.341 My little finger is part of me if I am conscious of it
2.27.19 p.342 Should we punish people who commit crimes in their sleep?
2.27.20 p.342 Someone mad then sane is two persons, judging by our laws and punishments
2.27.22 p.344 On Judgement Day, no one will be punished for actions they cannot remember
2.27.25 p.49 Locke sees underlying substance as irrelevant to personal identity [Noonan]
2.27.25 p.49 Butler thought Locke's theory was doomed once he rejected mental substance [Perry]
2.27.26 p.346 'Person' is a term used about responsibility, involving law, and happiness and misery
2.27.26 p.346 A concern for happiness is the inevitable result of consciousness
2.28.10 p.353 Actions are virtuous if they are judged praiseworthy
2.29.03 p.363 Obscure simple ideas result from poor senses, brief impressions, or poor memory
2.29.07 p.365 Ideas are uncertain when they are unnamed, because too close to other ideas
2.31.02 p.375 The mind cannot produce simple ideas
2.31.06 p.379 The best I can make of real essence is figure, size and connection of solid parts
2.31.06 p.379 Gold is supposed to have a real essence, from whence its detectable properties flow
2.31.08 p.381 We can only know a thing's powers when we have combined it with many things
2.31.13 p.383 The observable qualities are never the real essence, since they depend on real essence
2.32.01 p.384 It is propositions which are true or false, though it is sometimes said of ideas
2.32.05 p.385 If they refer to real substances, 'man' is a true idea and 'centaur' a false one
2.32.12 p.388 For the correct reference of complex ideas, we can only refer to experts
2.32.15 p.389 There is nothing illogical about inverted qualia
2.32.15 p.389 The same object might produce violet in one mind and marigold in another
2.32.24 p.393 The essence of a triangle is simple; presumably substance essences are similar
2.33.04 p.395 Opposition to reason is mad
2.33.05 p.395 Some ideas connect together naturally, while others connect by chance or custom
2.33.12 p.398 If a man sees a friend die in a room, he associates the pain with the room
3.02.01-2 p.405 Words were devised as signs for inner ideas, and their basic meaning is those ideas
3.02.02 p.405 Words stand for the ideas in the mind of him that uses them
3.03 p.712 Locke's essences determine the other properties, so the two will change together [Copi]
3.03.01 p.409 All things that exist are particulars
3.03.06 p.411 General words represent general ideas, which are abstractions from immediate circumstances
3.03.11 p.414 General and universal are not real entities, but useful inventions of the mind, concerning words or ideas
3.03.13 p.5 In nominal essence, Locke confuses the set of properties with the abstracted idea of them [Eagle]
3.03.15 p.417 I speak of a 'sortal' name, from the word 'sort'
3.03.15 p.417 Essence is the very being of any thing, whereby it is what it is
3.03.17 p.418 It is impossible for two things with the same real essence to differ in properties
3.03.17 p.418 The less rational view of essences is that they are moulds for kinds of natural thing
3.03.18 p.418 A space between three lines is both the nominal and real essence of a triangle, the source of its properties
3.06.02 p.4 Locke's real and nominal essence refers back to Aristotle's real and nominal definitions [Jones,J-E]
3.06.02 p.439 Nominal Essence is the abstract idea to which a name is attached
3.06.02 p.439 Real essence is the constitution of the unknown parts of a body which produce its qualities
3.06.04 p.440 Essences relate to sorting words; if you replace those with names, essences vanish
3.06.04 p.440 In our ideas, the idea of essence is inseparable from the concept of a species
3.06.04 p.440 Nothing about me is essential
3.06.05 p.441 You can't distinguish individuals without the species as a standard
3.06.06 p.442 Even real essence depends on a sort, since it is sorts which have the properties
3.06.06 p.442 Real essences are unknown, so only the nominal essence connects things to a species
3.06.08 p.443 If we based species on real essences, the individuals would be as indistinguishable as two circles
3.06.09 p.444 We can't categorise things by their real essences, because these are unknown
3.06.09 p.444 What is the texture - the real essence - which makes substances behave in distinct ways?
3.06.11 p.444 We distinguish species by their nominal essence, not by their real essence
3.06.12 p.446 There are no gaps in the continuum of nature, and everything has something closely resembling it
3.06.19 p.449 We cannot know what properties are necessary to gold, unless we first know its real essence
3.06.25 p.452 If we discovered real essences, we would still categorise things by the external appearance
3.06.26 p.453 We sort and name substances by nominal and not by real essence
3.06.28 p.455 To be a nominal essence, a complex idea must exhibit unity
3.06.32 p.460 If every sort has its real essence, one horse, being many sorts, will have many essences
3.06.32 p.460 Genus is a partial conception of species, and species a partial idea of individuals
3.06.39 p.463 Internal constitution doesn't decide a species; should a watch contain four wheels or five?
3.06.41 p.465 Artificial things like watches and pistols have distinct kinds
3.08.01 p.474 The essence of whiteness in a man is nothing but the power to produce the idea of whiteness
3.08.2 p.475 The schools recognised that they don't really know essences, because they couldn't coin names for them
3.09.02 p.476 Since words are just conventional, we can represent our own ideas with any words we please
3.10.15 p.498 I take 'matter' to be a body, excluding its extension in space and its shape
3.10.20 p.501 Many individuals grouped under one name vary more than some things that have different names
3.11.16 p.516 Morality can be demonstrated, because we know the real essences behind moral words
4.01.02 p.524 Knowledge is just the connection or disagreement of our ideas
4.02.01 p.531 Intuition gives us direct and certain knowledge of what is obvious
4.02.01 p.531 The greatest certainty is knowing our own ideas, and that two ideas are different
4.03.06 p.539 Our knowledge falls short of the extent of our own ideas
4.03.06 p.540 For all we know, an omnipotent being might have enabled material beings to think
4.03.06 p.543 Other spirits may exceed us in knowledge, by knowing the inward constitution of things
4.03.12 p.545 We can't know how primary and secondary qualities connect together
4.03.13 p.292 We can't begin to conceive what would produce some particular experience within our minds
4.03.14 p.546 We know five properties of gold, but cannot use four of them to predict the fifth one
4.03.16 p.547 The corpuscular hypothesis is the best explanation of the necessary connection and co-existence of powers
4.03.16 p.548 We will only understand substance when we know the necessary connections between powers and qualities
4.03.18 p.549 It is certain that injustice requires property, since it is a violation of the right to property
4.03.20 p.552 Nothing is so beautiful to the eye as truth is to the mind
4.03.25 p.556 If we knew the minute mechanics of hemlock, we could predict that it kills men
4.03.27 p.558 We are satisfied that other men have minds, from their words and actions
4.03.28 p.559 Thoughts moving bodies, and bodies producing thoughts, are equally unknowable
4.03.28 p.560 We are so far from understanding the workings of natural bodies that it is pointless to even try
4.03.29 p.559 Some of our ideas contain relations which we cannot conceive to be absent
4.03.29 p.560 If we observe total regularity, there must be some unknown law and relationships controlling it
4.03.31 p.562 Existences can only be known by experience
4.04.04 p.564 Simple ideas are produced in us by external things, and they match their appearances
4.04.05 p.564 The constant link between whiteness and things that produce it is the basis of our knowledge
4.04.08 p.566 Mathematical proofs work, irrespective of whether the objects exist
4.04.08 p.566 Mathematics is just about ideas, so whether circles exist is irrelevant
4.04.12 p.568 Our ideas of substance are based on mental archetypes, but these come from the world
4.05.02 p.574 Truth only belongs to mental or verbal propositions
4.06.07 p.582 We can only slightly know necessary co-existence of qualities, if they are primary
4.06.07 p.582 Complex ideas are collections of qualities we attach to an unknown substratum
4.06.08 p.583 For 'all gold is malleable' to be necessary, it must be part of gold's nominal essence
4.06.16 p.591 General certainty is only found in ideas
4.07.05 p.594 Obviously two bodies cannot be in the same place
4.09.03 p.618 I am as certain of the thing doubting, as I am of the doubt
4.10.01 p.619 God has given us no innate idea of himself
4.10.03 p.620 We exist, so there is Being, which requires eternal being
4.10.10 p.623 It is inconceivable that unthinking matter could produce intelligence
4.11.03 p.631 Knowledge by senses is less certain than that by intuition or reason, but it is still knowledge
4.11.03 p.631 God assures me of the existence of external things
4.13.03 p.651 The finite and dependent should obey the supreme and infinite
4.16.12 p.665 Facts beyond immediate experience are assessed by agreement with known truths and observations
4.16.13 p.667 If miracles aim at producing belief, it is plausible that their events are very unusual
4.17.04 p.670 Many people can reason well, yet can't make a syllogism
4.17.21 p.686 Ad Hominem: press a man with the consequences of his own principle
4.17.24 p.687 Believing without a reason may just be love of your own fantasies
4.20.16 p.717 When two ideas agree in my mind, I cannot refuse to see and know it
III.3.11 p.414 Universals do not exist, but are useful inventions of the mind, involving words or ideas
1695 Letters to Edward Stillingfleet
Letter 1 p.232 Every individual thing which exists has an essence, which is its internal constitution
Letter 2 p.282 If it is knowledge, it is certain; if it isn't certain, it isn't knowledge