Locke Notes


339 Fukuyama (The End Of History And The Last Man) says that the bourgeoisie was created as a deliberate strike of social engineering by people like Locke and Hobbes, by emphasising the desiring part of man as against the ‘thymotic’. I would say that is outrageous rubbish. The ‘thymotic’ the desire for recognition.. the megathymotic
A basic drive which is not the will to power. Something he can claim to satisfy, without suppressing.
Any life is potentially good enough, what stops it being so is the way in which it is interpreted.. Aristocrats, ancient Athenians, Roman republicans. Fukuyama’s Hegelianism, his Napoleonism, a kind of aristocratic prejudice.
Remember Rowlandson’s caricature of an elderly aristocrat. Dostoyevsky’s attacks on aristocrats. The pain people feel when put down by aristocrats for their presumption. Fukuyama’s interpretations seem so wrong. Napoleon’s contempt for the nation of shopkeepers. Yet the popular sentiment of English freedom was a proud thing.. Humour can deflate such fanaticism


156 to be part of the establishment may be to accept the present. To have a faith or a commitment to certain values, which may create an enormous amount of rubbish.
The writer totally reconciled to democracy, renunciation of power. Servile obeisance prostration before the great monarch. One might want to think in terms of acceptance of an idea but that does not have to be explicit.
Servile attitudes.
Commitment to capitalism. But if you don’t get those rewards why should you accept what is frustrating and obnoxious? That can be imagined as so much better. Better how? As promoting understanding instead of depressing falsification and cliché. The enormous amount of rubbish, garbage, trash, experienced as positively oppressive, worst of all the totally demoralising idea that all this is acceptable. That is the worst idea of all, because it reinforces the oppression you feel, saying it is right that it should be so, i.e. that you should suffer.
Bourgeois democracy, hippyism, aristocratic enjoyment, illumination.
Hippyism is bourgeois indulgence, perhaps aspiring to aristocratic enjoyment. It could be redeemed, not by politics but by art.
Art and philosophy. What philosophy could offer at least, is a challenge, a test. At least it has to be understood. One has to rise to the level of understanding it, it is not to be easily debased.
What makes bourgeois indulgence is the commitment the basic belief. What am I doing, what do I tolerate, what do I approve, whence do I derive my right.
Locke’s robust rebellious independent attitude we make the king. But who are we?


307 William James and his ‘stream of consciousness’, i.e. his attempt to describe the nature of the contents of consciousness. Rejecting Locke’s classification of ideas under different headings as both breaking the continuity of consciousness and imposing a ‘sameness’ on things that are different.
One could almost say that from this point of view the Lockean account lends itself to Platonism.
But James assimilates the contests of consciousness far too closely to things. Does introspection reveal the things he says it reveals and if so what is its significance? Even a mental image should not be thought of as a copy of material thing as a painting or a photograph is.
If Peirce’s philosophy of signs were intended as a rebuttal of this its point would be very clear.
The linkage with brain physiology is obviously very valuable, but the mental contents are not objects in the sense presented. Simply to attempt to observe them is an unusual act, which will produce experiences of an unusual nature.
Nor is an experience anything like a material object.
These things are evanescent. What is the truth about an experience? What was felt at the time or what it is to memory?
And we cannot bypass memory to find what it was like at the time. And even if we could there would always be the medium of the present interpreting mind.
James suggests we can understand physical causation better than mental causation, indeed that physical causation might be the only kind.
But Hume dealt with this one. Mental causation and physical causation are not radically different in kind, the idea of causation is the same in each case.
James found the idea of physiological determinism distressing, but perhaps there was no real need to. Physiological determinism might explain too little rather than to much.
All his talk of brain activity, associationism etc. Seemingly no place here for a will to power, or even a pleasure principle as rigidly interpreted.
The will to power interpreted as a development of the concept of the pleasure principle, i.e. as taking into account the contexts of value systems.

James represent best of the American world view, the tradition inherited from Locke.


126 Burke On the Sublime and the Beautiful. His 18th century Lockean confidence in being able to classify the faculties of man. The interest of his 18th century presuppositions. How different form today. His idea of ‘delight’ is very suggestive of schadenfreude. He departs from Locke to become more 18th century.
He is a deep writer but the peculiarity of his depth relates to a certain shallowness of the framework
His view of pleasure excludes any suggestion of will to power.
No will to power, so pleasure is conceived not only without relation to pain but without desire, the pleasures of sex and society as resting on a neutral basis as if people are not most of the time in a state of frustration and as if the behaviour of frustrated animals in the rutting season has no human analogue.
There is like a sublimation of sadism. The schadenfreude is a simple enjoyment, the relief offered by the experience of beauty, the torment that is normal life is ignored and passed over. Locke had more psychological penetration.


365 Gibbon on conscription, militias, freedom (In his Autobiography). The clear sense of what freedom is, what is involved, later obscured by the irruption of so many other perspectives. The militia movement of 1759 at the threat of French invasion. What he says ended the Jacobitism of the country gentleman. They transferred their idolatry to the House of Brunswick. He writes of Locke as the foundation of the Whig settlement. In those days all these matters were so clear. Nietzsche said the plebeianism of modern ideas originated in England.

Degradation brought about by journalism. The order under which we live is not guided by philosophy but by unfounded opinions arrogantly claiming equal rights.


143 The background, the adolescence, the cultural climate of youth. Considering the latter, its meaning, a delicate plant threatened by the coarseness of the American bulldozer. ‘getting laid’.
Perhaps my struggle is still at root anti-American. Might that mean that it is anti-Locke?
Preserving memory. Historian, archaeologist artist. Supreme importance of memory.
Scepticism of Locke and Hume, where it leads to.
Nietzsche’s suggestion that it was the scepticism of the later academy that let in the credulity of St Augustine. Link these together.
Locke and Hume’s scepticism was something light and pagan. Even if it ultimately led to errors like those of American culture.
The destruction of memory, enlightenment, destruction.
Philosophers so involved with every cultural historical development.


150 In expressing anything positive, any form of happiness, it is vital to express something of the negative state of mind that has been overcome, or the communication will be meaningless.
Think of Locke here.

Liberalism based on a limited conception of human nature produces a limited conception of freedom which makes a useful political weapon.
A double edged sword.
Herder countered Locke.
Independent thinking, so individualist as to be fascist to the socialist.
Weapon taken up by various interest groups.


188 thinking of Locke. Any desire is uneasiness. Analysing the sources of one’s own satisfactions, it becomes an abstraction. Entering into a programme for people in general to do so it becomes false.
Try and get this right.
For analysing the sources of one’s own satisfactions it is a thin abstraction. For determining what is needful to procure human satisfaction in general it can be very misleading.


221 Locke, another way of looking at it. The hierarchies into which society is split. The relative positions of people, contentment with one’s status. That desire is not stimulated, content remains. think what we can say about will to power here. there is a vast fund of potential desire that may be neutralised by the lack of any realistic prospect of satisfaction.


20 Notes on Locke. First the comprehensiveness does suggest scholasticism however emancipated from that it is.
By ‘ideas’ it is not quite clear that he does mean quite what Berkeley took him to mean.
Thirdly he is a very good philosopher and should not be underrated.
His treatment of identity and substance are very good. A clean way with these metaphysical temptations.

30 Interesting question about scholasticism and its rejection. Locke. Scholasticism can seem very obstructive. But it would be interesting to have an angle on its value and appeal

33 Locke’s nominalism. His objection to Platonic forms. strangely different perspective on the same thing. Plato’s merits and his faults.

37 Locke on words, and the linguistic confusion that underlies most argument about morality etc. This is sound and radical.

40 Locke’s peculiar idea that moral truths can be demonstrated.

50 In seeing the appeal of rejecting scholasticism we also need to understand its appeal and value, what it actually accomplished

56& At the end of the Essay Locke writes with reference to religious orthodoxy that many people don’t believe it at all.
Value of Locke in clearing away debris. Yet I do have a reservation. Degeneration of the idea of freedom. A mere weapon turned into a foundation for experience.
Lock versus scholasticism. Aristotle. Detaching from values. Science detached form values.
Locke, desire, openness to the future, in the long run all being dead.
Ideas so originality, getting somewhere original.
Ideas of liberalism, the release of desire, this idea of releasing energies… the limited nature of this energy, the circumscribed nature of the desire.
No artist tyrant imposing his will upon the future.
Find this in Hayek. An openness to the future that may even seem admirably open-minded.
Wanting to see ones own motives as pure and noble there were others who want to interpret them as squalid. Differing viewpoints and interests to men and women. A certain cruelty at the heart of things.
Locke. Advocating freedom for all desire, one naturally wants one’s own desire to be effective. Or as much of it as necessary.

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