John Locke and Human Understanding

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John Locke and Human Understanding

According to Locke, human beings are born as empty cabinets, and over time, they gain a lot that makes them have something and be of value. During birth, they are as apiece of paper that has no characters or any idea and it is over time that they then acquire from their own learning. Particularly, the thinking of human beings can be understood from two major categories Sensation and Reflection. Sensation according to Locke means that the human senses is conversant with sensible objects as they convey into the mind several distinct perspectives of the things around him or her. Reflection on the other hand means that our perceptions of the operations of our mind or the thinking inside us form ideas. Therefore, the argument is that our thinking begins from what we understand in the objects around us, and then, we are able to place this sensation in a context to become a kind of knowledge.

On human identity, John Locke argues that the body and the soul make a man, and therefore, if a man is stripped off his soul, then, he is no longer a man. However, he continues to note that the identity of a man is a participation of continued life. This is to mean that a person is recognized or identified by what he or she has acquired over time out of his own experiences and participations. The body that exists during birth is different from the one that exists at the middle or at the end, as the one at the beginning is like a white paper. The one at the middle or at the end has characters and ideas, which makes it identified as an object with value. Here, he adds that what makes the identity of a man is consciousness, and that is why, a man is different from the other as consciousness is unique in each other person.

Our bodies are full of particles and these are the evidence that either make the body of value or empty. If there is no particle as during the birth of the body, then, the body is still an empty cabinet, but if there is value in it, or there are a lot of particles, then, there is thinking in that body. The same can be compared on the understanding of material and immaterial bodies, where, the material bodies have something and experiences, while the immaterial bodies do not have substances. Coming back to our earlier argument, the body together with the soul makes a man. The soul is identified as the experiences that we have acquired over time, the participations we have made and the consciousness that goes inside the body that we have. Therefore, since the most outside, identity of a man is his body, then, when the soul is combined, we then say that the man is experienced, has a lot of consciousness. The idea in Locke was that human understanding is gradual or takes time before it matures to a level that can be said as of value.

Another component Locke highlights is that of innate principles, where, he argues that people have no innate principles. However, when people interact or participate in forums that can help equip them, then, they acquire these innate principles. The innate ideas according to him and in human understanding is that the innate ideas people have do not contain any bits of truth to which people can attest, but what is there is that these can become rationale if the people can turn them to be. Truth is accepted if it points to something else, but just by letting out what is in one’s mind cannot be argued as truth. They are just basic principles whose idea is void and unless they are put in a platform and comparisons are made, then, the philosophies can be attested as having value.

Revisiting consciousness in Locke’s argument, self-reflection is significant to any form of success, and unless people use the tacit knowledge locked in their minds, then, there can never be development in such kind of persons. Remaining the same person over time means remaining with the same substance, and this can be either physical or emotional. It therefore rests that the identity of a person is in his or her own consciousness and not the consciousness of the others. He combines this with the theory of mind where he notes that enlightenment thinkers have rich mind and originates from the conceptions of identity. It is all about self-configuration, and the self depends largely on own consciousness and not on substance. In definition, the self here is the conscious thinking whatever a substance such as a body is made up. A body is made up of the material or spiritual, compounded or simple and generally the matter. The gist of the matter is that everyone tries to find his or her direction and relies heavily on what he or she can comprehend.

Personal identity takes the whole argument of mind, soul, body and then self-knowledge or consciousness. If somebody stands in front, he can be identified by his physical characteristics, his spirituality or the behavior of soul, and then the content that comes from him. It is therefore right to argue that identity of a person is rooted on the consciousness of a person over time. However, this changes as time goes, as one can acquire so much in a short time, and then, this can evaporate even before the content becomes ripe for use. A person is worth by what he or she tries to offer to the society or others, and can be judged as of value, if, what is inside him or her can be utilized to develop other areas. The changes in a person is observed as either going from good to worse or from worse to good.


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