Idealistic Studies 40 (1-2):147-162 (2010)

Jennifer Mensch
Western Sydney University
This paper examines one of the central complaints regarding Locke’s Essay, namely, its supposed incoherence. The question is whether Locke can successfully maintain a materialistic conception of matter, while advancing a theory of knowledge that will constrain the possibilities for a cognitive accessto matter from the start. In approaching this question I concentrate on Locke’s account of unity. While material unity can be described in relation to Locke’s account of substance, real essence, and nominal essence, a separate discussion will be called for altogether in the case of organic unity. In closing, I turn to Kant as a model for locating Locke’s purported incoherence, suggesting that his “skeptical idealism” yields the same epistemic advantages as those won by Kant’s “empirical realism.”
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies2010401/210
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