September 24, 2012

Mr. John Locke

Like many of the rhetoricians we've covered in this course already, Locke looked at a specific subject (his subject being words) and tried to explain its importance in the world of rhetoric. In my opinion, I find Locke's views of words to be almost too simple because he tries to break down the usage of them into two categories, when using words is often times much more complex than that. The two categories that he explains for using words are to record our own thoughts and to communicate our thoughts to others. When you take a look at history, when different presidents have given speeches, the words they choose to influence people and to motivate them are very powerful, and Locke seems to think that words don't have much meaning.

2 comments:

KatieLatchford said...

I don't think he really meant to put them in JUST two categories, these are the two categories that his meaning of words stem from. Throughout the rest of his essay, he comes up with all of the different complexities of words that I found to actually be a bit mind-bending. He thinks words have different functions for their meanings and can be placed in different categories for material things and abstract ideas, and goes through the functions and understanding of words in language, which is imperfect. I do agree that it can narrow down to two simple topics, but in the grand scheme of things, his philosophy and use of words and rhetoric expands far beyond that.

Huong Le said...

I don't mind things being simple! But really, I agree with you that sometimes things are not that easy. Even though Locke wants to break the usage of words down to just a few categories, the point he is trying to convey is not a simple one and it is quite important to the study of rhetoric. I think Locke does think words are important. They are the basis of his search for truth, after all. He is just attempting to explain them in a simple way, but that doesn't mean that he thinks they are useless.

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