David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Although we never made time to talk it out thoroughly, Margaret Wilson and I shared an interest in, and enthusiasm for, the tenth chapter in Locke’s Essay IV, entitled ‘Of Our Knowledge of the Existence of a GOD.’ In the present paper, written in sad tribute to her work and her person, I shall expound that deep, subtle, intricate, flawed chapter. While I shall evaluate its arguments as I go, I chiefly aim just to make clear what happens in those nineteen sections, which I shall refer to by their numbers alone. They aim to show that ‘we are capable of knowing . . . that there is a GOD’ by cogently inferring this from secure premises. A god is any being that is ‘eternal, most powerful, and most knowing;’ given such a being, Locke adds laconically, ‘it matters not’ whether we call it God. This line of argument will be my topic in sections B through E. Two subsidiary themes in the chapter concern matter. One is this: given that there is a god, is it (or he) material or immaterial? Although he argues at length for God’s immateriality, Locke remarks in 13 that this in itself is of little moment. Someone with an otherwise correct theology is in good shape even if he wrongly thinks God to be made of matter - except, Locke adds, for a risk that he runs. Philosophers who are ‘devoted to matter,’ if they think God to be material, will comfortably conclude that everything is matter and will then ‘let slide out of their minds’ their theology, i.e. their view that the material world includes ‘an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent being.’ Section 13 also argues that if the materialists do thus drift into atheism, ‘they destroy their own [materialist] hypothesis.’ This is too clever by half; it is neither well done nor instructive, and I shall not expound it. Some of the Chapter’s richest treasures concern God’s immateriality..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Charles Billingsley (2009). God Laughs: And Other Surprising Things You Never Knew About Him. Regal Books.
Elmer L. Towns (2009). God Laughs: And Other Surprising Things You Never Knew About Him. Regal Books.
J. P. Moreland (1998). Locke's Parity Thesis About Thinking Matter: A Response to Williams. Religious Studies 34 (3):253-259.
William Uzgalis (2009). Anthony Collins on the Emergence of Consciousness and Personal Identity. Philosophy Compass 4 (2):363-379.
J. W. Tate (2013). Dividing Locke From God: The Limits of Theology in Locke's Political Philosophy. Philosophy and Social Criticism 39 (2):133-164.
Klaas J. Kraay (2007). Divine Unsurpassability. Philosophia 35 (3-4):293-300.
John W. Yolton (1991). Locke and French Materialism. Oxford University Press.
Charles Huenemann (2004). Spinoza and Prime Matter. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (1):21-32.
Rae Langton (2000). Locke's Relations and God's Good Pleasure. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (1):75–91.
William J. Wainwright (2005). Rowe on God's Freedom and God's Grace. Philo 8 (1):12-22.
Richard B. Miller (1986). The Reference of “God”. Faith and Philosophy 3 (1):3-15.
Sr Mary Bernard Curran (2009). Malebranche on Disinterestedness. Philosophy and Theology 21 (1/2):27-41.
Brian Davies (2005). Thoughts About God. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 79:21-27.
Paul K. Moser & Mark L. McCreary (2010). Kierkegaard's Conception of God. Philosophy Compass 5 (2):127-135.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads24 ( #70,807 of 1,098,984 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #175,054 of 1,098,984 )
How can I increase my downloads?