Dismantling the Straw Man: An Analysis of the Arguments of Hume and Berkeley Against Locke’s Doctrine of Abstract Ideas
McKinnon (Rhys)
Source: Sorites 16, December 2005
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Author’s Abstract

    Many believe that George Berkeley (Principles of Human Knowledge) and, subsequently, David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature) offer devastating arguments against John Locke’s (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding) theory of abstract ideas. It is the purpose of this paper to clarify the attacks given a close reading of Locke. It will be shown that many of the arguments of Berkeley and Hume are of a straw man nature and, moreover, that some of their conclusions are actually in accord with Locke.

Comment:

Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 16

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