Habitual Knowledge Essay

1102 Words5 Pages
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…show more content…
“Actual knowledge” is the knowledge previously discussed: it is found the relation or disunion perceived in ideas themselves, which is subject to the four relations mentioned. “Habitual knowledge” is knowledge that we recall from memory of contemplating the relations between ideas. In other words, habitual knowledge are the relations between ideas that we know to be true because we remember the associations that exist between the ideas which are either perceived through intuition, relation, etc. or are retained based on having been convinced of their truth by demonstration or…show more content…
The first degree of knowledge is aforementioned “intuitive” knowledge. This knowledge, according it Locke, are the ideas that are the most understandable by the human mind, such as the idea that black is not white, and are also indispensable in attaining further degrees of knowledge. Locke posits that this importance is self-evident, because without this intuitive knowledge we would lack the tools to gain the next degree of knowledge: “demonstrative knowledge.” Demonstrative knowledge, according to Locke (Ariew & Watkins, 389 – 392), is gained through an empirical process that also utilizes intuitive knowledge and the previously mentioned relations between ideas to discern new truths. When presented with conflicting ideas, a person must use the process of reasoning to discern what the knowledge present in this relation is; furthermore, this will be endeavored only if our intuition fails to provide the truth outright. For Locke, this process of discerning the truth in demonstrative knowledge is difficult, doubt is present, and it depends on what evidence is provided to support the agreement or disagreement between the ideas. The acceptance of two ideas, assuming the evidence is adequate, leads us to intermediate ideas, which can then be demonstrated. Lastly, and very importantly, Locke mentions
Open Document