Empiricism Philosophy

Words: 851
Topic: Sociology

What exactly are the primary qualities of an object, and what are its secondary qualities?

Concerning Locke’s theory regarding ideas as well to the idea of primary and secondary qualities, breakdown and explain in Locke’s terms what exactly you perceive when you perceive an object that you would identify as “a yellow banana.” In other words, what exactly are the primary qualities of this object, and what are its secondary qualities?

According to Locke, primary qualities refer to those perception ideas that are found in all existing objects. On the other hand, secondary qualities refer to those elements that are unrelated to primary qualities such as taste and smell. For instance, when individual claims to be seeing ‘a yellow banana,’ this perception can be broken down using Locke’s primary and secondary qualities. First, the individual who is looking at the banana has already perceived several primary qualities.

The color ‘yellow’ is one primary quality of the banana. This primary quality cannot change even if it was to be found in another object. For example, if the individual saw a yellow car, this primary quality of color would remain the same. The other primary quality of the banana is its shape.

The shape of the banana is a primary quality that cannot change from one observer to another. All observers would concur that the shape of the ‘yellow banana’ is round, pointy, and narrow. The ‘yellow banana’ can also have several secondary qualities. These secondary qualities are not universally accepted by all observers. For example, one observer can perceive the banana as ‘sweet’ while another one can claim it ‘smells good.’

Consequently, secondary qualities are derived from primary qualities. For instance, the yellow color in the banana indicates that it is ripe and consequently evokes the taste perceptions in an observer. Secondary qualities are barely conclusive.

Is Berkeley correct when he suggests that “the self” represents a real thing that is distinct from these experiences?

At the very beginning of his analysis, Berkeley states that in addition to the ideas of the mind he believes that there is ” something entirely distinct from them, something in which they exist, or by which they are perceived” namely, the mind or “the self.” Hume, on the other hand, notes that this “perceiving subject” is never directly perceived but that it represents something we are strongly inclined to assume must exist since we are inclined to believe that “something” must be the subject of all of these various experiences (ideas or impressions).

Who is correct? Is Berkeley correct when he suggests that “the self” represents a real thing that is distinct from these experiences, or his Hume correct that the idea of a “distinct self” represents a fictional entity that we invent to account for our psychological tendency to believe that “something or someone” must be the subject of the ideas and impressions.

Hume’s argument that the idea of a ‘distinct self’ is a fictional entity that aids individuals in their perception are more solid than Berkeley’s view. Hume’s argument has subsequently become scientific psychology. According to Hume, when a baby is born, he/she is practically a ‘blank slate’ that requires to be filled with perceptions. On the other hand, these perceptions enable human beings to produce thoughts.

Hume concludes his argument by noting that only the perceptions that can be proven are valid. Hume’s argument is better than that of Berkeley because it does not rely on complex metaphysics that are supposed to explain human knowledge. For example, Hume points out the fact that human beings tend to have the feeling that they are ‘enduring entities’ in the world.

However, the argument that humans are enduring entities cannot be proven without the application of metaphysics. Unlike Berkeley, Hume argues that human knowledge is only made up of a succession of ideas and impressions that appear convenient when explaining the concept of a ‘distinct self.’

Is there a flaw in Hume’s argument when he claims that our experience of any given case of cause and effect represents nothing more than a psychological tendency within our minds?

Is there a flaw in Hume’s argument when he claims that our experience of any given case of cause and effect represents nothing more than a psychological tendency within our minds to assume a necessary connection where no such connection can be demonstrated? If so, what is it? If Hume’s argument is not flawed, what impact does this particular insight have concerning the scientific disciplines (that seem to rely rather heavily on experimental methods)?

Hume argues that human beings are likely to rely on cause and effect during perception due to their need to appease their psychological requests. This argument is viable because, in essence, it is impossible for human beings to ignore associations between occurrences that they have perceived in the past. However, Hume’s argument lacks empirical proof, and it is, therefore, flawed. In the past, Hume has rejected ideas that heavily rely on metaphysics. Nevertheless, Hume is unable to substitute metaphysics with a viable empirical method that can prove his theory.

Consequently, because Hume’s theory lacks a solid substitute for metaphysics, the philosopher’s argument only serves anti-metaphysics’ agendas. Hume’s skepticism also works under the assumption that it is a universal belief that metaphysical science will never be proven through empirical means. Overall, Hume is on a mission to discredit metaphysics, but he is doing so without offering a viable alternative, and this makes his approach flawed.