The Problem of What of Knowledge in John Locke

The Problem of What of Knowledge in John Locke

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

In the 4th book of Essays, the subject of knowledge and opinion is discussed.

Information is examined and defined in general terms and information types are given. According to Locke, knowledge also arises from inter-ideal relations: “Knowledge is the connection and the perception of agreement or disagreement and opposition between two ideas. Where there is such a perception, there is knowledge; where there is no such perception, we cannot find knowledge even if we find something to imagine, assume and believe” (Locke, 1996. This subject of agreement or disagreement is examined under four headings: 1. Identity or otherness, 2. Relation, 3. Coexistence or necessary connection, 4. Real existence.

According to Locke, knowledge is the connection and the perception of agreement or conflict and disagreement between two ideas. This agreement or disagreement is examined under four headings: 1. Identity or otherness, 2. Relation, 3. Coexistence or necessary connection, 4. Real existence.

Identity or otherness: the first act of the mind on ideas is to perceive them; so that the distinction between them is perceived. Without this, there is no knowledge, reasoning, or any distinct idea. The mind realizes that every idea first agrees with itself, that distinct ideas do not agree with each other: so as soon as one acquires the ideas that he calls yellow and triangle, he knows that yellow is not red but yellow, that a triangle is not a square but a triangle. Here the mind operates according to these two rules of logic: A thing is what it is. It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be. So, “white is white. White is not black. It is clear that we are dealing with the most certain but the least exciting kind of knowledge.

Relation: The mind is also capable of perceiving the relations between ideas. If we could not perceive any correlation between our ideas, it would be difficult for us to obtain concrete information. For example, the proposition “two triangles with equal bases between parallel lines are equal” is a relation agreement.

Co-existence: Here, co-existence or non-existence in the same subject is in question. This is particularly relevant to objects. For example, when we say gold does not evaporate, it is yellow, predominantly, soluble, we are talking about co-existence agreement.

Real existence: What is at issue here is the agreement of actual real existence with any idea. For example, “I exist” is not such a proposition. What is implied here is that the subject has a real existence outside the mind.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook