Abstract Ideas: Locke vs. Berkeley
In the following paper I will present and analyze John Locke's position on the nature of general terms. I will do so by breaking down his position and then through the criticisms presented by George Berkeley will unveil more about the nature of general terms.
In Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding he discusses the nature of general terms. For this, Locke defines a general term as that which is used as sorter, putting entities into groups or categories such as that which refer to shape, or color. This definition is clearer when it is juxtaposed with a singular term, which is defined as a term that refers to a particular entity such as a proper name. Locke believes that general terms refer to abstract ideas. The formation ideas become general ideas by separating them from their particulars, such as time and place, and then putting them into sorts. This enables them to represent more than one single particular existence. …
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