The Nature and Qualities of Matter: Locke vs. Berkeley Comparison Essay by CMode

The Nature and Qualities of Matter: Locke vs. Berkeley
This paper compares John Locke's and George Berkeley's arguments regarding the nature of matter.
# 26716 | 1,384 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2001 | US
Published on May 13, 2003 in Philosophy (Metaphysics) , Philosophy (Logic) , Political Science (John Locke)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This essay first outlines Locke's argument in Book II of "The Essay Concerning Human Understanding", illustrating the distinction between ideas of primary qualities and ideas of secondary qualities. The writer then examines the arguments of Berkeley in "A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" against this distinction and against the possibility of matter.

From the Paper:

"According to Locke there are two types of qualities found in bodies. First are the primary qualities of bodies, which are "utterly inseparable from the body, in what state soever it may be" (E., p. 502). To Locke, a primary quality exists independently of observation in every piece of matter within a body, regardless of the size of that piece: "division. . . only makes two or more distinct separate masses of matter of that which was one before" (E., p. 502). Therefore, primary qualities include the unchanging, mind-independent qualities of a body such as figure, motion or rest, number, extension, and solidity or impenetrability. Conversely, secondary qualities of bodies are "nothing in the objects themselves but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities" (E., p. 502). This power is attributable to the "bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts" (E., p. 502)."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

The Nature and Qualities of Matter: Locke vs. Berkeley (2003, May 13) Retrieved March 02, 2024, from

MLA Format

"The Nature and Qualities of Matter: Locke vs. Berkeley" 13 May 2003. Web. 02 March. 2024. <>