Locke and the objects of perception

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (3):245–254 (2004)
It is common to assume that if Locke is to be regarded as a consistent epistemologist he must be read as holding that either ideas are the objects of perception or that (physical) objects are. He must either be a direct realist or a representationalist. But perhaps, paradoxical as it at first sounds, there is no reason to suppose that he could not hold both to be true. We see physical objects and when we do so we have ideas. We see or hear birds and bells but we also have visual and auditory ideas of birds and bells. This suggestion is explored through examination of what Locke says about perception in his Elements of Natural Philosophy and the accounts offered both by Locke in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and by some of Locke's successors
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