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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by de Boer, Karin / Carriero, John / Horn, Christoph / Meyer, Susan Sauvé / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Editorial Board: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Guyer, Paul / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kosch, Michelle / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Radcliffe, Elizabeth S. / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter

CiteScore 2018: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.395
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.195

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Volume 92, Issue 3


Locke and the Nature of Ideas

Keith Allen
Published Online: 2011-02-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph.2010.011


What, according to Locke, are ideas? I argue that Locke does not give an account of the nature of ideas. In the Essay, the question is simply set to one side, as recommended by the “Historical, plain Method” that Locke employs. This is exemplified by his characterization of ‘ideas’ in E I.i.8, and the discussion of the inverted spectrum hypothesis in E II.xxxii. In this respect, Locke's attitude towards the nature of ideas in the Essay is reminiscent of Boyle's diffident attitude towards the nature of matter. In posthumously published work, however, Locke suggests that the enquiry into the nature of ideas is one of the things that the enquiry into the extent of human knowledge undertaken in the Essay actually shows to lie beyond the “compass of human understanding”. In this respect, Locke's attitude towards the nature of ideas is reminiscent of Sydenham's attitude towards the nature of diseases.

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Published Online: 2011-02-17

Published in Print: 2010-11-01

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, Volume 92, Issue 3, Pages 236–255, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph.2010.011.

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