Locke on Knowledge and Reality: A Commentary on An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

ISBN : 9780190662202

Georges Dicker
336 Pages
157 x 157 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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Georges Dicker here provides a commentary on John Locke's masterwork, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding-the foundational work of classical Empiricism. Dicker's commentary is an accessible guide for students who are reading Locke for the first time; a useful research tool for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students; and a contribution to Locke scholarship for professional scholars. It is designed to be read alongside the Essay, but does not presuppose familiarity with it. Dicker expounds and critically discusses the main theses and arguments of each of the Essay's four books, on the innatism that Locke opposes, the origin and classification of ideas, language and meaning, and knowledge, respectively. He analyses Locke's influential explorations of related topics, including primary and secondary qualities, substance, identity, personal identity, free will, nominal and real essences, perception, and external-world skepticism, among others. Written in an analytical style that strives for clarity, the book offers careful textual analyses as well as step-by-step reconstructions of Locke's arguments, and it references and engages with relevant work of other major philosophers and Locke commentators.


1 Locke's life
2 Locke's epistemological turn and his polemic against innatism
3 The origin and classification of ideas
4 Primary and secondary qualities
5 Complex ideas
6 Substance
7 Identity
8 Personal identity
9 Freedom and the determination of the will
10 Language
11 Knowledge in general
12 The problem of perception
13 Perceptual Knowledge

About the author: 

Georges Dicker is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is the author of Dewey's Theory of Knowing, Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction (First and Second Editions), Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction, Kant's Theory of Knowledge: An Analytical Introduction, Berkeley's Idealism: A Critical Examination, and numerous journal articles, chapters in edited volumes, and reviews.

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