[ExI] consciousness and perception

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Fri Jan 30 18:18:47 UTC 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gordon Swobe" <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 7:29 AM
Subject: Re: [ExI] consciousness and perception

> --- On Wed, 1/28/09, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>> Locke thought movement and temperature belonged in
>> different conceptual categories and now we know he was
>> dead wrong; Locke didn't know the first thing about
>> temperature except that if you touch something very hot it
>> hurts. Locke thought movement and rest were attributes of
>> an object itself and we know he was dead wrong about that too.
> I think you mischaracterize Locke. Our understanding of physics has 
> changed since Locke's day, but these changes have not in themselves 
> refuted his basic idea that we can distinguish at least two kinds of 
> properties or qualities of objects.
> Lockean primary qualities represent the stuff of physics. In modern 
> language we would include among them the qualities of mass, spin, charge, 
> wavelength, and so on. Lockean secondary qualities represent a different 
> sort of quality, and a sort that (to me anyway) seems related somehow to 
> whatever Brent keeps trying to say about so-called phenomenal properties.
> Locke defined secondary qualities philosophically as *the powers of 
> objects to affect the senses*.
> Using salt as an example: intelligent people of scientific mind will agree 
> that 'salty flavor' does not exist as an intrinsic or primary quality of 
> salt. No serious person would suggest that salt has a flavor in the 
> absence of a taster. But most would agree nevertheless that salt has the 
> power to taste salty, i.e., that 'salty flavor' is a Lockean secondary 
> quality of salt.
> On this subject I think Locke merely formalized what we all understand as 
> common sense.
> I couldn't understand why the baseball kept getting bigger and bigger. 
> Then it hit me.
> -gts
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