Society and Politics 7 (1):103-116 (2013)

Patrick J. Connolly
Lehigh University
This paper examines the way in which Locke's deep and longstanding interest in the non-European world contributed to his views on species and their classification. The evidence for Locke's curiosity about the non-European world, especially his fascination with seventeenth-century travel literature, is presented and evaluated. I claim that this personal interest of Locke's almost certainly influenced the metaphysical and epistemological positions he develops in the Essay. I look to Locke's theory of species taxonomy for proof of this. I argue that Locke uses evidence gathered from the non-European world to (1) show that in taxonomizing objects we rely on their sensible qualities rather than their real essences and to (2) undermine Scholastic Aristotelian views about a mind-independent species/genera structure to the world.
Keywords Locke  travel literature  species  natural kinds  taxonomy  classification  Bacon
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Locke,.M. A. Stewart - 1986 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 24 (2).
The Historical Anthropology of John Locke.William G. Batz - 1974 - Journal of the History of Ideas 35 (4):663.

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