Thinking Matter in Locke's Proof of God's Existence

Authors
Patrick J. Connolly
Lehigh University
Abstract
Commentators almost universally agree that Locke denies the possibility of thinking matter in Book IV Chapter 10 of the Essay. Further, they argue that Locke must do this in order for his proof of God’s existence in the chapter to be successful. This paper disputes these claims and develops an interpretation according to which Locke allows for the possibility that a system of matter could think (even prior to any act of superaddition on God’s part). In addition, the paper argues that this does not destroy Locke’s argument in the chapter, instead it helps to illuminate the nature of it. The paper proceeds in two main stages. First, Locke denies that matter can produce thought. A distinction between two senses of “production” shows that this claim is compatible with the existence of thinking matter. Second, Locke denies that God could be a system of randomly moving particles. Most commentators take this to mean that such a system could not think. But Locke is better interpreted as denying that such a system could have the wisdom and knowledge of God.
Keywords Materialism  Cosmological Argument  Causation  Mechanism  Divine Attributes
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,035
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A System of Matter Fitly Disposed: Locke's Thinking Matter Revisited.Han-Kyul Kim - 2016 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 90 (1):125-145.
Peach Trees, Gravity and God: Mechanism in Locke.Marleen Rozemond & Gideon Yaffe - 2004 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (3):387 – 412.
Locke on the Irrelevance of the Soul.Anik Waldow - 2012 - Philosophy 87 (3):353-373.
Locke and French Materialism.John W. Yolton - 1991 - Oxford University Press.
Locke's Exclusion Argument.Walter Ott - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (2):181-196.
The Idea of Power and Locke's Taxonomy of Ideas.Patrick J. Connolly - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):1-16.
Toland, Leibniz, and Active Matter.Stewart Duncan - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 6:249-78.
Lockean Superaddition and Lockean Humility.Patrick J. Connolly - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 51:53-61.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-03-08

Total views
0

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature