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John Locke

Nature volume 141, page 1080 (18 June 1938) | Download Citation



THIS excellent book on a thinker who is a classic A in philosophy will give fresh impetus to dis cussion and controversy. It is not the first part of this work, which deals adequately with Locke's life, or the third part, where we find a good summary of Locke's views on moral philosophy, political theory, education and religion, which may be a ground of dissent ; but rather the second part, which deals with the central points of Locke's psychology and systemology. The author's interpretation of the term 'idea', for one thing, scarcely helps to set one's mind at ease about Locke's meaning of this term. There is also the disturbing view that “we now find Locke asserting that sensation is itself knowledge for we know in it the existence of things” (p. 244), which is not supported by any quotations from the “Essay”. The author's main purpose is to interpret Locke as a representationalist in his theory of ideas, a view which seems rather to restrict the aim and value of the “Essay”. The brief reference made to Locke's views on the positive sciences are coloured by this interpretation. If this is allowed for, Prof. Aaron's book may be regarded as a notable addition to philosophical scholarship.

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