John Locke's Argument Analysis

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When Berkeley makes his argument to deny the existence of matter, he uses Locke’s idea of second properties to argue that there is no such thing as first properties, because anything that we know of, or have contact with comes from our senses. Berkeley argues that most of the ideas that we have associated with objects that we perceive as real, such as mountains or tables, are based of our secondary qualities, and therefor are based off of our perceptions of these objects we perceive as “matter.” Meaning that our first qualities are mainly just our perceptions of the objects themselves, so wouldn’t that mean that they are, in a sense, perceived also? We must first look at the differences between first and secondary properties. The idea of first and second properties have been regurgitated throughout philosophers such as Galileo, Descartes, Boyle and Newton, just in different terms and little tweaks of ideas. When Berkeley is making his argument that matter doesn’t exist, he is mainly referring to Locke’s argument of first and secondary properties. Locke’s idea was that, first qualities were properties that were real and physical, such as size, shape, motion, etc. Qualities that didn’t excite a sensation. Secondary qualities were properties that were to be perceived by an…show more content…
Berkeley argues that the “is” which refers to existing is really just seeing the chair, and based off of Locke’s definition of secondary qualities seeing is a sense. Meaning that someone saying that there is a table in the kitchen they are merely just perceiving that there is a table in the kitchen. Berkeley’s statement of, “to be is to be perceived,” is saying that existing and perceiving are the same thing, such that perceiving the object is all there really is to the existence of the
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