Benjamin Hill received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2003 under the chairmanship of Phillip Cummins. He has taught at Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Currently he is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.
Reconciling Locke's Definition of Knowledge with Knowing Reality
Article first published online: 2 MAR 2010
2006 The University of Memphis
The Southern Journal of Philosophy
Volume 44, Issue 1, pages 91–105, Spring 2006
How to Cite
Hill, B. (2006), Reconciling Locke's Definition of Knowledge with Knowing Reality. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 44: 91–105. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2006.tb00005.x
- Issue published online: 2 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 2 MAR 2010
- Cited By
A common criticism of Locke's ideational definition of knowledge is that it contradicts his accounts of knowledge's reality and sensitive knowledge. Here it is argued that the ideational definiton of knowledge is compatible with knowledge of idea-independent reality. The key is Locke's notion of the signification. Nominal agreements obtain if and only if the ideas' descriptive contents are the ground for truth; real agreements obtain only if their total denotation are the grounds for truth. The signification of the ideas determine whether they denote real or fantastical objects. Three types of ideas, simple quality-ideas, modal ideas, and relational ideas, necessarily signify real objects. The fourth type, the ideas of substances, are real only if those particular combinations of qualitites have been perceived to co-exist. Locke's ideas are intrinsically either real or fantastical and thus, it is argued, his models of truth and knowledge's reality are far from typical correspondence theories.