Locke's Criterion for the Reality of Ideas: Unambiguous but Untenable

The Locke Newsletter 28:29-50 (1997)
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Abstract
The paper argues against the claim held, e.g., by Leibniz, that Locke employs a double standard for determining whether an object before the mind (i.e., an idea) is real. Using Locke's ectype-archetype distinction it is shown that this charge is the result of confusing Locke's criterion of reality with its application. Depending on whether it applies to a simple, substance or mode idea, the criterion works out differently. Next it is argued that although Locke maintains only a single criterion, this criterion is untenable, since it fails to properly distinguish real from fantastical ideas.
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Archival date: 2017-09-21
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