Natural Philosophy, Inventions and Religion in the Correspondence between John Locke and Nicolas Toinard

Philosophy Study 3 (7) (2013)
Abstract
The paper examines the copious correspondence between the English philosopher John Locke and the French intellectual Nicolas Toinard ; Locke made the acquaintance of Toinard in Paris in 1677 or early in 1678, and the latter remained his lifelong friend and most assiduous correspondent. An Orléanais and a devout Catholic, Toinard combined an intense interest in the Scriptures with an enthusiasm for experimental science and inventions of every kind; he introduced Locke to all the French official institutions and to a number of private laboratories. Toinard’s principal work, Evangeliorum Harmonia Graeco-Latina, was greatly appreciated by Locke for its new method. The paper attempts to explore the bulk of this correspondence in detail, giving an account of the wide range of topics dealt with in the two hundred letters; it is divided into four paragraphs referring, respectively, to the years 1678-1679, 1679-1681, 1681-1686, 1686-1704. The perspective is diachronic; on some occasions, the focus is on a particular topic which is the object of prolonged discussion between the two correspondents. In the conclusion, attention is drawn to the relevance of this correspondence in the context of the 17th century and of Locke’s philosophical thought.
Keywords astronomic observation   magnetism   medicine   seconds pendulum   calendar   harmonic writings
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DOI 10.17265/2159-5313/2013.07.002
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