An essay concerning human understanding is one of the greatest philosophy works : Locke, folllowing, Descartes, described the new world of spirit and consciousness, thaht make human dignity.
” It is commonly believed that the secondary qualities are in things, and that what we see is the reality.
It is believed for example that blood is indeed red.
In both cases, the idea is a perception, or of sensible bodies, or operations of the mind.
This is why “having ideas, and perceptions have, one and the same thing.” We see once again affirmed the empiricism of Locke, which supports this view of the mind as a tabula rasa.
These qualities produce in us simple ideas, when we perceive them.
Secondary qualities are those things in “the power to produce various sensations in us by means of their first qualities [range, size, etc.].” 1. The qualities come knocking our senses by the action of a particle insensitive.In fact, we take innate practical principles because we have not seen or that has forgotten its origin.Looking good, “the doctrines that have no better sources than the superstition of a nurse or the authority of an old woman, become over time and by the consent of neighbors, many principles of religion and morality.The rules of morality need to be proven, so they are not innate.Locke takes a classic argument from the skeptics, which shows the diversity of morals among the people: child sacrifice practiced by the Greeks or the Romans, the abandonment of the elderly in some tribes, etc..Even a tautology such as “what is” is ignored by much of humanity, such as children.Counter-argument: it is innate in their souls, but it does not see them, they do not realize it.Locke distinguished in the Essay on Human Understanding two kinds of ideas: ideas simple and complex ideas.Simple ideas are mixed in the sensible object perceived. He understands that the white and cold snow are distinct qualities simple: “nothing is more obvious to a man that clear and distinct perception he has of those simple ideas.” These are “all the materials of our knowledge.” The mind can combine these simple ideas, and make complex ideas “when the mind has once received these simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, to unite them together with an almost infinite variety , and thereby to form new complex ideas.Both types of experience, external and internal, “provide the materials in our minds of all his thoughts,” and are “the two sources from which all the ideas we have, or we can have naturally.” Our senses are first affected in various ways by external objects, resulting in a certain type of perception, and thus their minds.Thus we get the idea from white to yellow, cold, etc.., More generally, what we call sensible qualities. Or mind not only to welcome these ideas obtained through passive sensation: the operations of the mind (thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, willing, etc.). As a result, new ideas emerge, and the origin of the latter is no longer the sensation but the reflection.