Locke lived at a time of heightened religious sensibility, and religious motives and theological beliefs were fundamental to his philosophical outlook. Here, Victor Nuovo brings together the first comprehensive collection of Locke's writings on religion and theology. These writings illustrate the deep religious motivation in Locke's thought.
: Recent works have recovered the ethical and political value of shame, suggesting that if shame is felt for the right reasons, toxic forms of shame may be alleviated. Rereading Hannah Arendt's biography of the "conscious pariah," Rahel Varnhagen, Locke concludes that a politics of shame does not have the radical potential its proponents seek. Access to a public world, not shaming those who shame us, catapults the shamed pariah into the practices of democratic citizenship.
One of the major works of John Locke (1632-1704), this detailed and comprehensive guide is mainly concerned with moral education. While concentrating on its role in creating a responsible adult and on the importance of virtue as a transmitter of culture, it also ranges over such practical topics as the effectiveness of physical punishment, how best to teach foreign languages, table manners, and varieties of crying. -/- This critical edition is based on the third (1695) edition, and includes variants (...) from the first five editions, from the Harvard University Library and the British Library drafts, and from Locke's correspondence to Edward Clarke and his wife. (shrink)
In 1695 John Locke published The Reasonableness of Christianity, an enquiry into the foundations of Christian belief. He did so anonymously, to avoid public involvement in the fiercely partisan religious controversies of the day. In the Reasonableness Locke considered what it was to which all Christians must assent in faith; he argued that the answer could be found by anyone for themselves in the divine revelation of Scripture alone. He maintained that the requirements of Scripture were few and (...) simple, and therefore offered a basis for tolerant agreement among all Christians, and the promise of peace, stability, and security through toleration. -/- This is the first critical edition of the Reasonableness: for the first time an authoritative annotated text is presented, with full information about sources, variants, amendments, and the publishing history of the work. Also provided in the editorial notes are cross-references, references to other works by Locke, definitions of terms, and other information conducive to an understanding of the text. -/- Though modern interest has focused particularly on Locke's philosophy and political theory, increasing attention is being paid to his religious thought. These different strands cannot be understood properly in isolation from each other: so the broader aim of this edition is to help towards an improved understanding of his religious thought in the context of his work as a philosopher, political theorist, and exponent of religious toleration. In his editorial introduction John Higgins-Biddle investigates how Locke's ideas developed, and offers a critical assessment of the three main contemporary and subsequent interpretations of Locke's religious thought, all of which are shown to be unsatisfactory. (shrink)
This is the first of three volumes which will contain all of Locke's extant philosophical writings relating to An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, not included in other Clarendon editions like the Correspondence. It contains the earliest known drafts of the Essay, Drafts A and B, both written in 1671, and provides for the first time an accurate version of Locke's text. Virtually all his changes are recorded in footnotes on each page. -/- Peter Nidditch, whose highly acclaimed edition (...) of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding was published in this series in 1975, used pioneering editorial techniques in his compilation of Volume 1. Most of the work was completed before his tragically early death in 1983. -/- Volumes 2 and 3, almost wholly the work of G. A. J. Rogers will contain the third extant draft of the Essay (Draft C), the Epitome and the Conduct of the Understanding. They will also include a History of the Writing of the Essay, together with other shorter writings by Locke. (shrink)
Locke's posthumously published work on Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans and Ephesians, provides important evidence of his thought during the final years of his life, ad gives insights into his theology which are not available in his other writings. This critical edition of the work is based as far as possible on Locke's manuscript, and includes an editorial introduction, textual, manuscript, and explanatory notes, as well as transcriptions of hitherto unpublished papers by Locke.
The Reasonableness of Christianity is a major work by one of the greatest modern philosophers. Published anonymously in 1695, it entered a world upset by fierce theological conflict and immediately became a subject of controversy. At issue were the author’s intentions. John Edwards labelled it a Socinian work and charged that it was subversive not only of Christianity but of religion itself others praised it as a sure preservative of both. Few understood Locke’s intentions, and perhaps no one fully. (...) This new collection describes the background to Locke’s book and documents the disputes that followed its publication. Providing an invaluable insight into the context of its conception and reception, it includes contributions by Samuel Bold, John Edwards, Charles Blount, and Daniel Waterland, bringing the discussion up to the eighteenth century. Also included is a review of the Reasonableness found among Locke’s unpublished papers and published here for the first time. The volume will be of interest to philosophers of religion and theologians as well as historians. (shrink)
I defend an interpretation of Locke’s remarks on substratum according to which substrata not only have sensible qualities but are just familiar things and stuffs: horses, stones, gold, wax, and snow. The supporting relation that holds between substrata and the qualities that they support is simply the familiar relation of having, or instantiating, which holds between a particular substance and its qualities. I address the obvious objection to the interpretation -- namely, that it cannot be reconciled with Locke’s (...) claim that the idea substratum is an obscure, confused idea of we know not what -- and I identify numerous textual parallels between Locke's discussions of substrata and particular substances which strongly support the deflationary interpretation. (shrink)
Locke’s conception of substance in general or substratum has two relatively widespread interpretations. According to one, substance in general is the bearer of properties, a pure subject, something which sustains properties but itself has no properties. I will call this interpretation traditional, because it has already been formulated by Leibniz. According to the other interpretation, substance is general is something like real essence: an underlying structure which is responsible for the fact that certain observable properties form stable, recurrent clusters. (...) I will argue that both interpretation are partly right, and what is good in them can be reconciled. The traditional interpretation captures the purpose and signficanc of the idea of substance in general, i.e. the reason why Locke says we have this idea. The real essence view is right about the real world counterpart of the idea, i.e. what sort of entity the idea corresponds to. The paper starts with a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the rival interpretations (I, II). Then I examine which part of the traditional interpretation can be sustained in light of the problems it faces (III). Thereafter I will show that the part of the traditional interpretation which can be sustained cannot stand on its own and needs to be supplemented at one point, and the real essence view can provide what is needed. This, as it were, mixed interpretation will be supported by sketching an argument which is plausible within the context of Locke’s teachings and which explains how Locke could have arrived from the view which the traditional interpretation correctly attributes to him to the view which the real essence interpretation takes him to espouse (IV). The two problematic points in this argument will be taken up in the following two sections. (V, VI). Finally, I will provide some evidence from the Drafts for Locke’s identification of substance and essence (VII). (shrink)
This paper is an evaluation of John Locke's labour theory of property. Section I sets out Locke's labour view. Section II addresses several possible objections, including against the conceptual coherence of Locke's argument, against the metaphysical implications of his view, as well as foundational criticisms of the moral significance of labour and of my relations with objects that are grounded in labour under certain conditions and circumstances. I attempt to address each of these criticisms in a Lockian (...) spirit, which will require strange metaphysical moves. The final Section raises further objections that are more significant because they cannot be squared with the labour view. (shrink)
On the face of it, Locke rejects the scholastics' main tool for making sense of talk of God, namely, analogy. Instead, Locke claims that we generate an idea of God by 'enlarging' our ideas of some attributes (such as knowledge) with the idea of infinity. Through an analysis of Locke's idea of infinity, I argue that he is in fact not so distant from the scholastics and in particular must rely on analogy of inequality.
Although Henry Lee is often recognized to be an important early critic of Locke's 'way of ideas', his Anti-Scepticism (1702) has hardly received the scholarly attention it deserves. This paper seeks to fill that lacuna. It argues that Lee's criticism of Locke's alleged representationalism was original, and that it was quite different from the more familiar kind of criticism that was launched against Locke's theory of ideas by such thinkers as John Sergeant and Thomas Reid. In addition, (...) the paper offers an interpretation of Lee’s claim that, pace Locke, attempts to prove the veridicality of our cognitive apparatus are fundamentally misguided. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is a conflict between two principles informing Locke’s political philosophy, namely his waste restriction and his strong voluntarism. Locke’s waste restriction is proposed as a necessary, enforceable restriction upon rightful private property holdings and it yields arguments to preserve and redistribute natural resources. Locke’s strong voluntarism is proposed as the liberal ideal of political obligations. It expresses Locke’s view that each individual has a natural political power, which can only be transferred (...) to a political body through the individual’s voluntary, actual consent. On this view, the legitimacy of a political power is dependent upon its subjects’ actual consent to its authority. After briefly outlining these two ideas informing Locke’s conception, I argue that we cannot maintain both at the same time. Therefore, contemporary Lockeans must either derive restrictions upon private property concerned with preserving natural resources from other aspects of Locke’s theory or they must accept weak voluntarism as the ideal of political obligations. I argue that both alternatives pose significant problems for the Lockean project. (shrink)
In a letter to William Molyneux John Locke states that in reviewing his chapter 'Of Power' for the second edition of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding he noticed that he had made one mistake which, now corrected, has put him "into a new view of things" which will clarify his account of human freedom. Locke says the mistake was putting “things for actions” on p.123 of the first edition, a page on which the word 'things' does not appear (...) (The Correspondence of John Locke. E.S. de Beer, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976), Vol.4, no.1643, 15 July, 1693.) It is the aim of this paper to (1) elucidate where the correction occurs, (2) give an analysis of why the correction is needed, and (3) give an explanation of why Locke believed replacing 'things' with 'actions' was an important change. (shrink)
Locke’s conception of substance in general or substratum has two relatively widespread interpretations. According to the traditional one, substance in general is the bearer of properties, a pure subject, something which sustains properties but itself has no properties. According to the other interpretation, substance is general is something like real essence: an underlying structure which is responsible for the fact that certain observable properties form stable, recurrent clusters. I will argue that both interpretation are partly right, and what is (...) good in them can be reconciled. The traditional interpretation captures the purpose and signficanc of the idea of substance in general, i.e. the reason why Locke says we have this idea. The real essence view is right about the real world counterpart of the idea, i.e. what sort of entity the idea corresponds to. The paper starts with a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the rival interpretations (I, II). Then I examine which part of the traditional interpretation can be sustained in light of the problems it faces (III). Thereafter I will show that the part of the traditional interpretation which can be sustained cannot stand on its own and needs to be supplemented at one point, and the real essence view can provide what is needed. This, as it were, mixed interpretation will be supported by sketching an argument which is plausible within the context of Locke’s teachings and which explains how Locke could have arrived from the view which the traditional interpretation correctly attributes to him to the view which the real essence interpretation takes him to espouse (IV). The two problematic points in this argument will be taken up in the following two sections. (V, VI). Finally, I will provide some evidence from the Drafts for Locke’s identification of substance and essence (VII). (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Book II, Chapter viii of Locke' Essay is a unified, self-consistent whole, and that the appearance of inconsistency is due largely to anachronistic misreadings and misunderstandings. The key to the distinction between primary and secondary qualities is that the former are, while the latter are not, real properties, i.e., properties that exist in bodies independently of being perceived. Once the distinction is properly understood, it becomes clear that Locke's arguments for it are (...) simple, valid and (in one case) persuasive as well. (shrink)
Locke’s account of personal identity has been highly influential because of its emphasis on a psychological criterion. The same consciousness is required for being the same person. It is not so clear, however, exactly what Locke meant by ‘consciousness’ or by ‘having the same consciousness’. Interpretations vary: consciousness is seen as identical to memory, as identical to a first personal appropriation of mental states, and as identical to a first personal distinctive experience of the qualitative features of one’s (...) own thinking. There is wide agreement, however, that Locke’s theory of personal identity is meant to complement his moral and theological commitments to a system of divine punishment and reward in an afterlife. But these commitments seem to require also a metaphysical criterion, and Locke is insistent that it cannot be substance. The difficulty reconciling the psychological and metaphysical requirements of the theory has led, at worst, to charges of incoherence and, at best, to a slew of interpretations, none of which is widely accepted. (shrink)
On a currently popular reading of Locke, an idea represents its cause, or what God intended to be its cause. Against Martha Bolton and my former self (among others), I argue that Locke cannot hold such a view, since it sins against his epistemology and theory of abstraction. I argue that Locke is committed to a resemblance theory of representation, with the result that ideas of secondary qualities are not representations.
Locke’s theory of personal identity was philosophically groundbreaking for its attempt to establish a non-substantial identity condition. Locke states, “For the same consciousness being preserv’d, whether in the same or different Substances, the personal Identity is preserv’d” (II.xxvii.13). Many have interpreted Locke to think that consciousness identifies a self both synchronically and diachronically by attributing thoughts and actions to a self. Thus, many have attributed to Locke either a memory theory or an appropriation theory of personal (...) identity. But the former stumble on circularity and the latter is insufficient for Locke’s moral theory insofar as he is committed to a theory of divine rectification. The common problem is that Locke’s theory seems to demand an objective, or metaphysical, fact of a continuing consciousness that does not appeal to a traditional notion of substance for the continuity. I’m suggesting something new. In II.xxvii of the Essay, we see an ambiguity in Locke’s use of the term ‘consciousness’. Locke seems to see consciousness as both a mental state by means of which we are aware of ourselves as perceiving and as the ongoing self we are aware of in these conscious states. First, I make the textual argument why we should read Locke as having a conception of a metaphysical fact of a continuing consciousness that does not appeal to thinking or bodily substance to establish its continuity. I then argue that the metaphysical fact of an enduring consciousness is revealed to us as a phenomenological fact of experience. Due to the nature of certain kinds of perceptual situations we have an experience of ourselves as temporally extended. Although the text bears out that Locke seemed to think there is a fact of an ongoing consciousness, I argue that it is consistent with his reluctance elsewhere that he makes no further epistemological or ontological claims about it. Finally, I provide an account of Locke’s understanding of memory and its relation to consciousness that supports the claim that consciousness is something ontologically distinct from either thinking or bodily substance. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for natural kinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
Locke has been accused of failing to have a coherent understanding of consciousness, since it can be identical neither to reflection nor to ordinary perception without contradicting other important commitments. I argue that the account of consciousness is coherent once we see that, for Locke, perceptions of ideas are complex mental acts and that consciousness can be seen as a special kind of self-referential mental state internal to any perception of an idea.
Leibniz's correspondence with Thomas Burnett of Kemnay is probably best known for Leibniz's attempts to communicate with Locke via Burnett. But Burnett was also, more generally a source of English intellectual news for Leibniz. As such, Burnett provided an important part of the context in which Locke was presented to and understood by Leibniz. -/- This paper examines the Leibniz-Burnett correspondence, and argues against Jolley's suggestion that "the context in which Leibniz learned about Locke was primarily a (...) theological one". That said, in thinking about Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, and his subsequent defenses of it, Leibniz does offer an argument against Locke's book -- but not one that's closely related to Locke's theological views, or to any accusation of Socinianism. -/- The paper also considers, by way of contrast, the way Leibniz and Burnett talk about the more obviously controversial figure John Toland. (shrink)
In this paper we suggest a revisionist perspective on two significant figures in early modern life science and philosophy: William Harvey and John Locke. Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, is often named as one of the rare representatives of the ‘life sciences’ who was a major figure in the Scientific Revolution. While this status itself is problematic, we would like to call attention to a different kind of problem: Harvey dislikes abstraction and controlled experiments (aside (...) from the ligature experiment in De Motu Cordis), tends to dismiss the value of instruments such as the microscope, and emphasizes instead the privileged status of ‘observed experience’. To use a contemporary term, Harvey appears to rely on, and chiefly value, ‘tacit knowledge’. Secondly, Locke’s project is often explained with reference to the image he uses in the Epistle to the Reader of his Essay, that he was an “underlabourer” of the sciences. In fact, despite the significant medical phase of his career, Locke’s ‘empiricism’ turns out to be above all a practical (i.e. ‘moral’) project, which focuses on the delimitation of our powers in order to achieve happiness, and rejects the possibility of naturalizing knowledge. When combined, these two cases suggest a different view of some canonical moments in early modern natural philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, I compare John Locke’s “memory theory” of personal identity and Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan). I argue that the plot of Memento is ambiguous, in that the main character (Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce) seems to have two histories. As such, Memento is but a series of puzzle cases that intend to illustrate that, although our memories may not be chronologically related to one another, and may even be fused with the memories of other persons, (...) those memories still constitute personal identity. Just as Derek Parfit argues, perhaps there is no personal identity as such, since only survival (in some degree) matters to us. In Memento, Leonard Shelby is not identity to his former self, but survives to some extent. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to derive a perfectly general criterion of identity through time from Locke’s Principle, which says that two things of the same kind cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In this way, the paper pursues a suggestion made by Peter F. Strawson almost thirty years ago in an article called ‘Entity and Identity’. The reason why the potential of this suggestion has so far remained unrealized is twofold: firstly, the suggestion was (...) never properly developed by Strawson, and secondly, it seemed vulnerable to an objection that he himself raised against it. Consequently, the paper’s aim is to further develop Strawson’s suggestion, and to show that the result is not vulnerable to the objection that seemed fatal to its underdeveloped predecessor. In addition, the paper aims to defend Locke’s Principle against alleged counterexamples such as those produced by Leibniz, Fine and Hughes. (shrink)
Locke’s theory of consciousness is often appropriated as a forerunner of present-day Higher-Order Perception (HOP) theories, but not much is said about it beyond that. We offer an interpretation of Locke’s account of consciousness that portrays it as crucially different from current-day HOP theory, both in detail and in spirit. In this paper, it is argued that there are good historical and philosophical reasons to attribute to Locke the view not that conscious states are accompanied by higher-order (...) perceptions, but rather that conscious states constitute perceptions of themselves. (shrink)
Introduction in chapter viii of book ii of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke provides various putative lists of primary qualities. Insofar as they have considered the variation across Locke's lists at all, commentators have usually been content simply either to consider a self-consciously abbreviated list (e.g., "Size, Shape, etc.") or a composite list as the list of Lockean primary qualities, truncating such a composite list only by omitting supposedly co-referential terms. Doing the latter with minimal judgment (...) about what terms are co-referential gives us the following list of eleven qualities (in the order in which they appear in this chapter of the Essay): solidity, extension, figure, mobility, motion or rest, number, bulk, texture, motion, size, and situation. Perhaps surprisingly given the attention to the primary/secondary distinction since Locke, Locke's primary qualities themselves have received little more than passing mention in the bulk of the subsequent literature. In particular, no discussion both offers an interpretation of Locke's conception of primary qualities and makes sense of Locke's various lists as lists of primary qualities. A central motivation for this paper is the idea that these two tasks are not independent. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Locke is not in fact agnostic about the ultimate nature of the mind. In particular, he produces an argument, much like Jaegwon Kim's exclusion argument, to show that any materialist view that takes mental states to supervene on physical states is committed to epiphenomenalism. This result helps illuminate Locke's otherwise puzzling notion of 'superaddition.'.