Locke on the propria of body


Authors
Michael Jacovides
Purdue University
Abstract
Seth Pringle-Pattison (233n1) observed that Locke “teaches a twofold mystery—in the first place, of the essence (‘for the powers or qualities that are observable by us are not the real essence of that substance, but depend upon it or flow from it’), and in the second place, of the substance itself (‘Besides, a man has no idea of substance in general, nor knows what substance is in itself.’ Bk. II.31.13).” In this paper, I’ll explain the relation between the two mysteries. Our Rosetta Stone is Locke’s argument that we understand body and spirit equally well since we are ignorant of their underlying substances but we “have distinct clear Ideas of two primary Qualities, or Properties” (2.23.30) of each. I’ll show that he is working with a restricted notion of primary quality in this passage, but one that demonstrably falls under the kind defined in his chapter on primary and secondary qualities. According to Locke, the fundamental primary qualities of bodies flow from corporeal substances and the determinations of these fundamental qualities constitute real essences. Locke’s discussion can’t be understood without understanding the relevant scholastic background. In the first half of my paper, I’ll explain his argument as an idiosyncratic application of doctrines he learned and taught at Oxford. In the second half, I’ll use lessons from my interpretation of the argument to explain the relation that Locke believes obtains between a substance and its fundamental primary qualities, and then I’ll build upon that explanation to elucidate his general account (insofar as he has a general account) of the inherence of qualities in corporeal substances
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09608780701444923
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: 40,000
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth, Penguin.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Two Kinds of Intentionality in Locke.Lionel Shapiro - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):554-586.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Locke on Human Understanding: Selected Essays.I. C. Tipton (ed.) - 1977 - Oxford University Press.
Mechanism, Resemblance and Secondary Qualities: From Descartes to Locke.Keith Allen - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (2):273 – 291.
Locke on Primary and Secondary Qualities.Samuel C. Rickless - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (3):297-319.
Locke's Primary Qualities.Robert A. Wilson - 2002 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (2):201-228.
Locke’s Resemblance Theses.Michael Jacovides - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (4):461-496.
Two Kinds of Intentionality in Locke.Lionel Shapiro - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):554-586.
Primary and Secondary Qualities.Robert A. Wilson - 2016 - In Matthew Stuart (ed.), A Companion to Locke. Blackwell. pp. 193-211.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
69 ( #109,112 of 2,236,191 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #58,795 of 2,236,191 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature