Virtue: Tentative Skepticism Deductive reason & Maths Vice: unsupportable intuitions that provide foundations of deduction. Demand for perfect certainty Innate Ideas Perceived Vices and Virtues of Descartes’ Rationalism from Locke’s Empiricist point of view.
Beginning with common sense The method of Inductive generalization Demands that we give up absolute certainty since inductive generalizations always go beyond the premises, e.g., Having observed hundreds of cats all of which had fur you formulate premise “These observed cats have fur” and come to the conclusion, “To a degree of certainty, All cats have fur.” But as we will see this opens Pandora's box Locke’s Program
Major Premise: ALL knowledge comes from experience. The mind of the infant is a tabula rasa No innate knowledge Ergo, no a priori necessity. General terms & names – define concepts via conventions and grammar. Perception is to ideas as Motion is to objects, i. e., not essential merely an operation. Locke
Not everyone agrees that there are innate ideas, and besides even if they did say so, “Everybody says so” is no argument that there are innate ideas. If it’s true that infants, children and idiots show no empirical evidence of, nor assent to, having innate ideas then we cannot infer them. Against Innate Ideas
Assuming perceptual experience, representation and recombination together are enough to infer matter. Experience falls into two types: Primary – extension, solidity, and time Secondary – color, smell, taste, etc. A two tier representational theory
Descartes uses the notion of an innate idea of god to argue that there is a physical world. But, Locke has effectively undermined innate ideas. So, without innate ideas to fall back on, Berkeley is able to argue that a physical world of Matter introduces an unneeded complexity provided that we can rely on law like regularity. Using the notion that nothing can be like an idea but another idea he collapses Locke’s two tier account of perception into the thesis that there exist only one immaterial substance. Berkeley Takes us to the Brink
Hume. Continues the skeptical turn arguing that Causation can never be proven on the basis of experience alone. It is a mere psychological habit of expecting patterns to recur (no better nor worse than the habit of drinking alcohol.); And further. the very idea of a unified self is only a convenient fiction. Instead he argues that we are mere bundles of experience and current memory traces at each period of time. The Final Steps Over the Edge