This book addresses one of the fundamental topics in philosophy: the relation between appearance and reality. John Yolton draws on a rich combination of historical and contemporary material, ranging from the early modern period to present-day debates, to examine this central philosophical preoccupation, which he presents in terms of distinctions between phenomena and causes, causes and meaning, and persons and man. He explores in detail how Locke, Berkeley and Hume talk of appearances and their relation to reality, and offers illuminating (...) connections and comparisons with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Paul Churchland and John McDowell. He concludes by offering his own proposal for a 'realism of appearances', which incorporates elements of both Humean and Kantian thinking. His important study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics. (shrink)
This book tells for the first time the long and complex story of the involvement of Locke's suggestion that God could add to matter the power of thought in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the growth of French materialism. There is a discussion of the 'affaire de Prades', in which Locke's name was linked with a censored thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris. The similarities and differences between English "thinking matter" and the French "matiere pensante" of the (...) philosophes are also discussed. (shrink)
Philosophy as a separate discipline is a rather new phenomenon. This presents problems for our understanding of what constitutes the history of philosophy. Past writers often approached their concerns from a multi-disciplinary perspective; thus to understand them we have to do more than answer a contemporary set of issues. To that end, I suggest we attend to Locke's advice on how to read a text. Following this advice may permit us to avoid several puzzles which result from misreading a text.