Locke’s Last Word on Freedom

Res Philosophica 95 (4):637-661 (2018)

Authors
Julie Walsh
Wellesley College
Abstract
JohnLocke’s 1700–1702 correspondencewith Dutch Arminian Philippus van Limborch has been taken by commentators as the motivation for modifications to the fifth edition of “Of Power,” the chapter in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding that treats freedom. In this paper, I offer the first systematic and chronological study of their correspondence. I argue that the heart of their disagreement is over how they define “freedom of indifference.” Once the importance of the disagreement over indifference is established, it is clear that when Locke altered parts of “Of Power” as a reaction to Limborch’s questioning, he did so in the interest of further clarifying and solidifying his view, not changing it. Seeing how they disagree over indifference also allows us to see the correspondence as showcasing the conflict between intellectualism, the view that cognitive states determine the will, and voluntarism, the view that the will alone determines action.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 2168-9105
DOI 10.11612/resphil.1642
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References found in this work BETA

Locke on the Power to Suspend.Julie Walsh - 2014 - Locke Studies 14:121-157.
Locke's Finely Spun Liberty.Jack D. Davidson - 2003 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):203 - 227.
Locke on the Freedom to Will. Rickless - 2000 - Locke Studies 31:43-68.

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