[ExI] consciousness and perception

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Wed Jan 28 06:11:42 UTC 2009

"Gordon Swobe" <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>

> the theory you attribute to Brent did not seem idiotic to the philosopher
> John Locke.

And if we were having this conversation 300 years ago during Locke's time I
wouldn't have thought the ideas were idiotic either, however we have learned
a few thing about the nature of matter in the preceding three centuries.
Today Locke's ideas on matter are of historic interest only.

> On Locke's view there exist two kinds of properties of objects:
> primary and secondary. Primary properties of objects include
> solidity, extension, figure, motion and rest, and number.
> Secondary properties of objects include color, temperature,
> smell, taste and sound.

And very clearly Locke was wrong. We now know that temperature is the
motion of atoms, so to claim the two concepts are fundamentally different is
nonsense; in fact neither motion nor rest is a property of the object
itself, the ideas are only meaningful relative to other objects. Locke
didn't know the first thing even of classical thermodynamics, not to mention
relativity or quantum mechanics. Locke can be forgiven for his ignorance
because during his lifetime nobody else knew anything about these things
either; but I can not forgive someone today trying to make a grand
philosophical theory while ignoring the increased understanding of matter
we've made over the last 3 centuries.

> Aside from the idea that molecules literally "shout" (of course they don't
> shout)

I never used the word "literally", and even in Locke's day they could
recognize a metaphor when they saw one.

 John K Clark

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