Mechanism, resemblance and secondary qualities: From Descartes to Locke

Locke’s argument for the primary-secondary quality distinction is compared with Descartes’s argument (in the Principles of Philosophy) for the distinction between mechanical modifications and sensible qualities. I argue that following Descartes, Locke’s argument for the primary-secondary quality distinction is an essentially a priori argument, based on our conception of substance, and the constraints on intelligible bodily interaction that this conception of substance sets.
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DOI 10.1080/09608780801969092
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Nicolas Malebranche (2007/1991). The Search After Truth. In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub.

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