Locke's Theory of Knowledge and Its Historical Relations

By James Gibson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
LOCKE AND LEIBNIZ (continued)

§ 1. Between the views of Locke and Leibniz concerning the questions which are discussed in the concluding book of the Essay, there is at first sight a considerable amount of agreement. With many of the presuppositions and general views of his predecessor Leibniz has, at all events, no quarrel. That knowledge is primarily concerned with ideas which, while mind-dependent, represent a reality beyond the individual mind; that in its most perfect form it is reducible to self-evident propositions, which are apprehended by intuition; that demonstration consists in a concatenation of such intuitions, by which connections of ideas which are not self-evident are mediately brought to light; that while the typical examples of this procedure are to be found in mathematics, it is not limited to quantity; that by means of such perceptions of connections of content among our ideas, immediate and mediate, we are furnished with propositions which are universal and necessary; that such knowledge could not be obtained by any process of empirical generalisation, and does not assert or imply real existence; that the only existence which is immediately known is that of the mind itself, but that the existence of God can also be known with absolute certainty, by demonstration; that our knowledge of the existence of external things, though theoretically falling

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