The Differences Between Ideas And Searching For Knowledge Essay

The Differences Between Ideas And Searching For Knowledge Essay

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For Locke, knowledge is composed of our perception of the differences or similarities between two ideas. In pondering two ideas, we either decide that we accept them or that they intersect, or, alternatively they are anathema to one another and we reject them. In this rejection or acceptance of ideas, we gain knowledge; therefore, knowledge is an active and evolving process that is related to our perceptions. Locke provides the example that we perceive the idea that “white is not black,” which leads us to the knowledge of what white is and what black is.
The aforementioned relation between ideas, which will be called “agreement” here on, is a four-part relation: there are four sorts of relation to consider when comparing ideas and searching for knowledge Locke presents (Ariew & Watkins, 386-387). The first is “identity,” which can be boiled down to ideas that a person intuitively understands that one thing is not another. For example, a person would know that fire is not ice without any involved process of deduction; therefore, these are the simplest ideas to analyze. The second relation is “relativity” or “relation” itself. This speaks to the notion that humans can compare two ideas and know that they do not contain each other. For example, an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange. Both are fruits, but it is safe to conclude that an apple is not an orange and vice versa. The third relation is “coexistence,” which concerns ideas that are intrinsic to a form. Locke uses the example of gold and the fact that we understand certain facts about gold – it’s malleability, melting point, weight, etc – and that these factors create the idea of gold itself. The final relation is that of “real existence,” to which Locke utilizes the ...


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...hat this conflict is not a conflict regarding the truth of what green is, but rather simply a disagreement as to how we discuss or ascertain the idea of green. Another criticism of Locke’s ideas is that it leaves us open to radical subjectivity in regards to the sciences. If mathematics is not an ontology, but rather simply the best that we can do to describe the universe, then humanity could open itself up to the notion of the world around them simply being chaotic and lacking the order that the existence of a God supposes. Personally, one should find these notions of subjectivity freeing, rather than constraining. If there are never simple answers to questions, and humanity is always striving for understanding through its faculties of perception, then it is paramount to simply enjoy the journey and attempt to honestly engage with one’s own memories and perceptions.

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