Molyneux's Question

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012)

Authors
Brian Glenney
Norwich University
Abstract
Molyneux’s Question, also known as Molyneux’s Problem, soon became a fulcrum for early research in the epistemology of concepts, challenging common intuitions about how our concepts originate, whether sensory features differentiate concepts, and how concepts are utilized in novel contexts. It was reprinted and discussed by a wide range of early modern philosophers, including Gottfried Leibniz, George Berkeley, and Adam Smith, and was perhaps the most important problem in the burgeoning discipline of psychology of the 18th Century. The question has since undergone various stages of development, both as a mental exercise and as an experimental paradigm, garnering a variety of both affirmative and negative replies in the next three centuries of debate and deliberation.
Keywords Molyneux's Question  Locke  Leibniz  Berkeley  Perception  Empiricsm  Psychology  Heterogeniety  Nativism  Cheselden
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