John Locke and the Moral Value of Toleration

SABOU, Sorin. ‘John Locke and the Moral Value of Toleration.’ Jurnal teologic Vol. 14, No. 1 (2015): 5-13.

Abstract: The concept of freedom of conscience is in the religious affairs and political affairs at the core of Locke's understanding of tolerance. He redefined the church and the state accordingly. Even the effects of the church's discipline, and the way the state's laws have to be conceived and implemented, are seen from the perspective of tolerance. I argue that tolerance is the main lens through which Locke understands the identity and the relationship of the two. He builds a society with tolerance in view. Tolerance is the attitude that offers the context for freedom and peace.
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Berkeley, God and Instrumentalism

The role of Malebranche in understanding Berkeley. Malebranche, a follower of Descartes, very influential in France, is important in understanding Berkeley. Malebranche understands ‘what is it for one thing to cause another’ in terms of necessity; it must be, when A happens, B necessary follows. Why is this? Because the only real cause in universe is God, and God sustains the world by recreating it every instant (see Malebranche 1688, 1.10; 2.4; 3.5; 3.16).

Revised Occasionalism

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Berkeley and Locke on Human Knowledge

Experience and Knowledge


Locke argued that all our ideas have their origin in our experience. When we are born our mind is a blank slate (tabula rasa). Any experience is leaving an imprint on this slate (mind). When we experience anything through our senses our minds receive their perceptions. There is content in our mind because of our senses. Locke is famous for the following phrase: nihil in intellect quod prius non fuerit in sensu (there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses) (cf. Moore 2011, 114).
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Locke versus Hobbes

Locke identifies his difference from a Hobbist position in Essay III.5 when he asks why a man must keep his word? ‘Because God, who has the power of eternal life and death, requires it of us.’ To this question a Hobbist would answer ‘because the public requires it, and the Leviathan will punish you, if you do not.’ The authorities are different in situations like these: God as a judge, or the public as a judge. Read more...
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The Qualities of Perception

Locke and Berkeley on the qualities of perception
Because the mind we are born with is a blank slate (Locke), the knowledge we have come from the outside as perceptions. Locke tries to avoid the split between the mind and the world around us by introducing the distinction between primary and secondary qualities of perception. The primary qualities are the qualities of objective, extra-mental reality; the qualities of the object independent of who, or whether anyone is perceiving the object (shape, size, weight). These qualities are independent of perception. The secondary qualities are not properties of the object at all. They occur in the mind of the perceiver at the moment of perception and they endure only as long as the perception endures. They depend primarily on our senses (color, taste, smell). Read more...
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