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  • Empiricism
    • Locke
      • Mind as a Tabula Rasa
      • (1) Missing Shade of Blue
        • Hume asks us to imagine a man that has gone through life having experienced every shade of blue apart from one. If all the shades of blue were lined up together, with a gap for the missing missing shade, the man could formulate the idea of the missing shade.
        • Hume says that this is an idea without an impression, but it is so ‘singular’ that he dismisses it. But is it really ‘singular ?’ Surely the same example could be used for a missing pitch in music, sweetness or sourness of food… indeed anything that can be put on a scale. Even if it were ‘singular’ it cannot be dismissed It would still be a counter example
      • (2) The External World
        • Empiricists often claim that ideas are constructed from sense impressions, but presumably reach further out beyond our awareness or thoughts of these objects and events towards the objects and events themselves. 
        • This presumption turns out to be unsupportable according to empiricism itself – any such talk of the objects themselves are ungrounded – as all we have are our sense perceptions
        • Is there an external world, beyond sense impressions, at all? Even if there is, in what way could our ideas be said to reflect that external reality?
      • (3) Communication/ / Shared Experiences/Ideas
        • Empiricism has difficulty with the concept of shared experiences. We take it for granted that I cannot have your sense impressions; you cannot have my sense impressions. 
        • Words stand for ideas. Ideas stand for sense impressions. Sense impressions (after scepticism) stand for themselves. Therefore, any meaning words have derived from the sense impression they stand for.
        • My words stand for my sense impressions (which you cannot have) and your words stand for your sense impressions (which I cannot have). So, because words track back their meaning to exclusive sense impressions, we never mean the same thing when we think we are communicating – we cannot mean the same thing. This shows an absurdity.
        • e.g. beetle in a box - we can all sit in  a circle holding a box each. we can only see in our own box. if everyone was to look in their box and say there's a beetle in it, we don't actually know if anyone else does have a beetle in their box.
      • (4) Solipsism
        • Thinking our ideas are ultimately about the sense impressions from which they derive can lead to the following conclusions: •the external world might not exist and even if it did it is unknowable, and I can never share ideas with others, neither can they share with me. •I appear to be completely self-contained.
      • (5) Logical Connectives
        • We understand that amongst all things, some things can be either red or yellow. If it is red then it is not yellow, and if it is either red or yellow then it is coloured. Notions like ‘all’, ‘some’, ‘if’, ‘then’, ‘is’, ‘is not’, ‘either’, ‘or’ and ‘so’ seem essential for formulating ideas, categorising and giving reasons. But these logical connectives do not seem to find a corresponding sense impression. The same applies to numbers.


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