Empiricism: Philosophies Of Locke And Hume

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Locke and Hume are both philosophers that believe in empiricism, which is the belief that all knowledge comes from sense experience. Both being empiricists they share some similar theories but for the most part have entirely different philosophies.

The place in their philosophies where they share similar ideals, are in the belief that humans can only know things from their senses and the way they work out the equations that prove existence. Both Locke and Hume believed that humans aren't born with innate ideas but can only obtain knowledge through experiences. Innate ideas are knowledge that humans already know without having to use the senses to figure out. For example if someone were born already knowing that fire could hurt them, without
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While both say that all human knowledge come from sense experience, Locke does say that the exception to that is God and substance. Locke argues that the only thing that doesn't need experience as proof to exist is God and substance. The reasoning for the God argument is that God always existed and is what created everything else. Locke believes that something can't come from nothing, so he argues that God created everything. He also explains that god existence wasn't created but was always there. Locke's proof of substance is his theory of creation. Since Locke argues that there must be something that makes trees and squirrels different, he uses substance as a placeholder for that. God and substance to Locke are the only things that do not need to be proves by senses. Hume on the other hand doesn't believe in God or substance because we don't senses them. Hume believes entirely on sense perception with no exception. So the fact that God and substance are based solely on believing they exist, doesn't cut it for …show more content…
Locke's system of primary and secondary qualities are the way to explain anything that exists. Primary qualities are the absolute basics of everything, while secondary qualities are the more specific details in everything. An example would be a phone, the primary quality would be the space it takes up in the world while the secondary quality would be that it's black. Primary qualities are things like bulk or mobility, so for the phone it is the small amount of space it takes up. Secondary qualities are things that can be sensed, so for a phone the cold feel, or the black color are it secondary qualities. Locke's theory is that everything has primary and secondary qualities and that they are what help define everything. Hume though believes in impressions and ideas. Impressions are the actual thing itself, like looking directly at a tree because at that moment the tree is being seen. When then imaging the tree later, there is no way to imagine it perfectly, the color is faint and the tree is fuzzy; that is an idea. There are simple and complex ideas and impressions in Hume's philosophy. Simple ideas and impressions are the things that can be experienced through senses. Complex ideas and impressions are things made up of simple impressions and ideas. To Hume, these are what make up our perception of everything. To Hume there is also the copy principle, which is that it is possible