Oscar Wilde —
oh my favorite. John Locke.
So in this essay, in short of an Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he says that our minds are completely empty or blank sheet when we are born rather than already having the knowledge.
His idea was based upon empiricism so he oppose to the idea of the innatism and rationalism. So basically, he insisted that all the knowledge comes from experience and five senses.
He also talks much about finding origin and limit of human knowledge and level of understanding from the point of view of Epistemology(인식론) aspect.
so, lets see the “Innatism.”(본유주의)
- Innatism = Point of view where it tells, When we are born, we bear the knowledge or the origin/root of the knowledge already.
- Application of innate principle would be saying “Whatever it is, is.”
- One of the famous “-ism” in that era.
However, John Locke thought differently. He challenged the idea of it, and said there need to be some separation between innate principle and some situation/conditions. Locke was saying people think, react, and behave differently; and their opinions are affected by external factors such as: AGE/EXPERIENCE/CULTURAL BACKGROUND
Lets look at the ethic.
- One who learned about the ethic according to Oriental manner, it wouldn’t be the same ethic or aspect that one person has comparing to one who learned according to Western manner.
- Baby vs. Grown man. Grown man would likely be more moral and ethical and have rational idea because they are older AND more experienced.
Now, he also talked about “ideas.” Ideas he talked about are different than what we are thinking. We see/perceive/memorize; that’s how people can recognize thing/ideas. Infant who only have the capability of distinguish colors of black and white won’t tell what Green is or what Red is. Also for example, people who hasn’t tasted banana won’t have any idea what it tastes like.
Primary vs. Secondary Quality.
He also mentions about the two quality statuses.
- Primary quality, that describes the properties of the subject, exist in the thing itself. ex) solidity, motion, shape
- Secondary quality shows the properties that produce sensations in observers. ex) color, taste, smell, temperature
- Primary can be determined with certainty but varies with people. It’s very subjective
- Secondary can not provide objective facts about the subjects.
John asks us.
- what makes a man to be “same man” in later time?
- what makes a person to have personality to be a “same person” in later time?
As of living organism, as we adapting the environment, we cannot be the same person/man. It’s scientifically impossible.
However, for Locke, Human is merely just a specific living organism, Homo Sapiens. For example, Oak tree will be same oak tree even if 20 years past even if it got bigger and have more branches.
So as Human being, even if physically changes, one will be the same person as he/she was.
What makes individual so special is “personality”(인격)
So, this is all i got. I’m sure there are more to talk about. Especially, if someone can clarify personal identity, it would be awesome. because.. I think what he says about Personal identity and how he oppose against the idea of innatism are much likely mismatching.
and next, I will continue write about John Locke, but different book/essay/documents he wrote: Second Treatise of Government.
John Locke —
Get comfortable in your own skin - it’s the only one you’re going to get*