Study Help Full Glossary for An Essay Concerning Human Understanding


agreement When Locke speaks of the agreement of ideas with one another, he means they fit together in a consistent pattern.

archetypes This term was used by Locke to indicate the types or class of things. They are the universals, or what is sometimes known as the essences of things.

Aristotle Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.) who possessed one of the most brilliant minds of all time. His wide interests extended into many fields of knowledge. His ideas became central to Western thought for centuries and many of them retain their vitality to the present day. In the Organon he produced the first formal treatment of thought and logic. Among his other well known works are Physics, Metaphysics, Politics, Ethics, Rhetoric, and Poetics.

Bacon, Francis A distinguished philosopher (1561-1626) who made important contributions to the field of inductive logic and who was instrumental in the development of modern scientific methods. His best known works are The Advancement of Learning (1605); Novum Organum (1620); and New Atlantis (1627).

Berkeley, George An Irish churchman and philosopher (1685-1753) who, in his doctrines of philosophical idealism, vigorously opposed the tendencies of the freethinkers. He is best known for his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713), and Alciphron: or, The Minute Philosopher (1732).

causality The notion that whatever exists has been caused by something. A cause is an invariable antecedent. The law of universal causation asserts that there is a reason for whatever happens.

coexistence Two or more things are so related that they are always found together. No one of them can exist by itself alone.

correspondence theory of truth This is the doctrine that ideas are true only when they are similar to, or correspond to, objects that are external to the human mind.

critical realism This is a type of philosophy that asserts that material objects can be known by human minds even though there is no direct interaction between mind and matter.

Darwin, Charles An eminent naturalist and scientist (1809-82) who was the author of On the Origin of Species (1859), a book which had much to do with the development of the theory of evolution. His other well-known works include the Diary of the Voyage of H.M.S. "Beagle" (1839) and The Descent of Man (1871).

Descartes, René A prominent French philosopher (1596-1650) who is often referred to as the father of modern philosophy. He was an ardent rationalist who attempted to develop a system of philosophy by using the methods employed in mathematics. His Discourse on Method (1639) is a cornerstone of modern thought.

dualism Composed of two elements that are qualitatively distinct: mind and matter for metaphysical dualism, and subject and object for an epistemological dualism.

duration That which lasts over a period of time. For some thinkers, duration is a characteristic of minds, whereas for others it pertains to objects which are external to mind.

empirical method The method which derives knowledge from sense experience.

empiricism One of the methods of knowing. In contrast to rationalism, which derives knowledge from reason, it uses sense experience as the source and test for all valid knowledge.

epistemology One of the major areas included in the study of philosophy. It examines and criticizes the different methods of knowing.

extension This term was used by Descrates in his definition of matter. He held that matter is extension, or that which exists in space.

falsity The opposite of truth; that which is contrary to fact.

Hume, David A prominent Scottish philosopher (1711-76) who made a critical analysis of the knowing process. He is often characterized as a skeptic in his theory of knowledge. He is best known for An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748); An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751); and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779).

ideas, complex Ideas that are compounded from simple ones. According to Locke, they are formed by combining, comparing, and abstracting.

ideas, simple Ideas that are derived from either sensation or reflection, or a combination of them.

identity, personal The belief that it is the same person who passes through a relatively long series of experiences.

innate ideas Ideas that are present in the mind but have not been derived from experience.

internal sense Sensations which reveal only that which is within the mind itself.

immensity The idea of vastness, or that which goes beyond the limits of our imagination, such as infinite space.

Kant, Immanuel One of the most influential German philosophers of modern times (1724-1804). His analysis of the knowing process has had an important bearing on nearly all of the subsequent treatments of the subject. He was the author of Critique of Pure Reason (1781); Critique of Practical Reason (1788); and Critique of Judgment (1790).

Leibnitz, Gottfried W. An outstanding German mathematician and philosopher (1646-1716) who wrote extensively in the fields of epistemology, metaphysics, and religion. He published his treatment of the differential and integral calculus in 1684, nine years before Newton's work appeared. Among his other important writings are Monadology (1714) and Principles of Nature and Grace (1714).

memory The retention in one's mind of past experiences; ideas or mental images that may be recalled from a subconscious state.

metaphysics One of the important divisions included in the field of philosophy. It examines and criticizes theories concerning the nature of the universe.

modes Locke uses this term to designate ideas that are not substances but that are dependent on substances, such as triangle, gratitude, murder, and the like.

Newton, Sir Isaac A philosopher and physicist (1642-1727) best known for his formulation of the laws of gravity and laws of motion. His studies of light were also highly significant. His famous works are the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687) and Opticks (1704).

nominalism The theory which holds that only particular things are real. Universals or class names have no reality that is independent of the mind.

non-contradiction, law of One of the laws of thought. It asserts that a thing cannot be what it is and what it is not at the same time. A presupposition of all thinking.

perception The mental act that derives meaning from sensations.

Plato A Greek philosopher (427-347 B.C.) who is generally regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world. His ideas are contained in the famous Dialogues.

power, active That which is capable of producing changes in things other than itself.

power, passive That which receives impressions from without.

qualities, primary The qualities which belong to external objects, such as size, weight, or motion.

qualities, secondary Those qualities which are only in the mind of the perceiving, subject such as color, sound, taste, or smell.

rationalism One of the ways of knowing. It is illustrated in such fields as logic and mathematics, where knowledge is derived from reason.

Royal Society The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge is an English scientific body organized around 1660. It has been concerned with the advancement of learning in all fields but particularly in the natural sciences.

sensation That which occurs in the mind through the operation of the sense organs such as sight and sound.

Shaftesbury, First Earl of Anthony Ashley Cooper (1621-83), an English statesman who was a close friend of John Locke. His grandson, the Third Earl (1671-1713), whose education was supervised by Locke, was the author of the moral treatises Characteristics (1711), which aroused much interest during the eighteenth century.

skepticism A type of philosophy that emphasizes the element of doubt concerning the validity of all knowledge.

subjectivism The term means within the mind of the knowing subject. It asserts nothing concerning that which is external to the mind.

substance The idea of a something that is capable of having a continuous existence by itself. For example, both mind and matter were regarded as substances by both Descrates and John Locke.

succession State of following one another in point of time.

time A measure of duration.

truth That which agrees with the facts.