1. Discuss how Galileo, Descartes, Locke and Berkeley described primary and secondary sensed properties.
Galileo created a metaphysical distinction between the qualities of the object and the subjective experiences created by the objects themselves. Galileo believed shape, position, motion, contact, and numbers are inherent to the objects themselves while the subjective qualities (taste, odor, color, to name a few) reside in the conscious of human beings. The shape, position, motion, contact and numbers are classically referred to as primary qualities while colors, taste and odor are secondary qualities.
While Descartes agreed with Galileo’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities, Descartes added a few dimensions to primary and secondary qualities. Descartes noted humans create impressions from reality and therefore the objects within reality must be accepted. While the mind and soul are not physical (corporeal) entities, his notion that the body and mind are separate entities further fueled the notion of primary and secondary qualities of reality. To Descartes, the body is consisted of primary qualities and the sensations of the body are secondary qualities since these sensations are subjective experiences related to a primary experience.
Locke emphasized the primary and secondary qualities by outlining key characteristics of each quality. To Locke, primary qualities can’t be simply classified by the properties Galileo and Descartes emphasized because all objects in reality would be primary. For instance, what is the distinction between a table and a table shaped object in reality? Not a lot. To Locke, objects have self-contained primary qualities. On the other hand, secondary qualities do not have sensations that create the experience, but human interaction in the secondary quality provides humans the ability to produce the sensations that Galileo and Descartes emphasized in their previous distinctions.
Berkeley caused controversy in his critiques of primary and secondary qualities by noting the properties presented by Locke and others are wholly subjective. An object’s defining characteristics (e.g. solidity) is also defined in terms of experience. The material world itself is wholly mind (either human mind or God’s). Therefore, primary qualities and secondary qualities are relative to our sensory experiences. Further, a world cannot exist chiefly on primary qualities. For instance, when a human thinks of an object (an apple), a human will think of the defining characteristics of the apple (a colored apple). To him, everything is subjective and everything is ideally an experience.
4. Plato asserted that true knowledge came from innate ideas; Aristotle countered that innate ideas do not exist because the mind is a tabula rasa at birth. Discuss which position was championed by Descartes, Kant, Bacon and Locke.
Unlike Aristotle, Descartes denounced the tabula rasa idea. Descartes believed some ideas are innate, such as the idea of God and mathematical knowledge. Despite Descartes believing in innate knowledge, Descartes also created a model that would seemingly contradict the Platonic innate knowledge notion. Descartes reasoned that human reasons must be relied on to acquire human knowledge. In the acceptance of knowledge, humans must never accept nothing as true except clear and distinct ideas that cannot be doubted, problems should be divided into simpler parts where each part is tested, and several other tenets he related mathematically to the acquisition