Locke and non-propositional knowledge

In Kiyoshi Shimokawa & Peter R. Anstey (eds.), Locke on Knowledge, Politics and Religion: New Interpretations from Japan. London: (forthcoming)

Peter R. Anstey
University of Sydney
Peter Anstey rejects the widespread view that all knowledge for Locke is propositional. He argues, instead, that Locke accepts a form of non-propositional knowledge. The perception of the agreement and disagreement of ideas, according to Anstey's interpretation, is akin to what Bertrand Russell called “knowledge by acquaintance.” He presents a careful, four-step analysis of Locke’s view of the acquisition of knowledge, which is designed to show how the mind proceeds from perceiving to affirming, then to assenting, and finally to verbalizing propositions. This comprehensive account takes into account a variety of remarks Locke makes about perception, knowledge and true or false propositions, and Anstey claims that overall this interpretation is a better fit than the orthodox view that Locke held all knowledge to be propositional.
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