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  1. Catharine Trotter Cockburn.Ruth Boeker - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This Element offers the first detailed study of Catharine Trotter Cockburn's philosophy and covers her contributions to philosophical debates in epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and philosophy of religion. It examines not only Cockburn's view that sensation and reflection are the sources of knowledge, but also how she draws attention to the limitations of human understanding and how she approaches metaphysical debates through this lens. In the area of moral philosophy, this Element argues that it is helpful to take seriously Cockburn's (...)
  2. Locke on Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Ruth Boeker offers a new perspective on Locke’s account of persons and personal identity by considering it within the context of his broader philosophical project and the philosophical debates of his day. Her interpretation emphasizes the importance of the moral and religious dimensions of his view. By taking seriously Locke’s general approach to questions of identity, Boeker shows that we should consider his account of personhood separately from his account of personal identity over time. On this basis, she argues that (...)
  3. Locke on Relations, Identity, Persons, and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Patrick J. Connolly (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of John Locke. New York: Oxford University Press.
    This essay examines Locke’s chapter “Of Identity and Diversity” (Essay 2.27) in the context of the series of chapters on ideas of relations (Essay 2.25–28) that precede and follow it. I begin by introducing Locke’s account of how we acquire ideas of relations. Next, I consider Locke’s general approach to individuation and identity over time before I show how he applies his general account of identity over time to persons and personal identity. I draw attention to Locke’s claim that “person” (...)
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  4. Shaftesbury on Liberty and Self-Mastery.Ruth Boeker - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):731-752.
    The aim of this paper is to show that Shaftesbury’s thinking about liberty is best understood in terms of self-mastery. To examine his understanding of liberty, I turn to a painting that he commissioned on the ancient theme of the choice of Hercules and the notes that he prepared for the artist. Questions of human choice are also present in the so-called story of an amour, which addresses the difficulties of controlling human passions. Jaffro distinguishes three notions of self-control that (...)
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  5. Locke on Being Self to My Self.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - In Patricia Kitcher (ed.), The Self: A History. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 118–144.
    John Locke accepts that every perception gives me immediate and intuitive knowledge of my own existence. However, this knowledge is limited to the present moment when I have the perception. If I want to understand the necessary and sufficient conditions of my continued existence over time, Locke argues that it is important to clarify what ‘I’ refers to. While we often do not distinguish the concept of a person from that of a human being in ordinary language, Locke emphasizes that (...)
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  6. Hutcheson and his Critics and Opponents on the Moral Sense.Ruth Boeker - 2022 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 20 (2):143-161.
    This paper takes a new look at Francis Hutcheson's moral sense theory and examines it in light of the views of his rationalist critics and opponents who claim that there has to be an antecedent moral standard prior to any sense or affections. I examine how Gilbert Burnet, Samuel Clarke, and Catharine Trotter Cockburn each argue for the priority of reason over a moral sense and how Hutcheson responds or could respond to their views. Furthermore, I consider the proposal that (...)
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  7. Locke and Hume on Personal Identity: Moral and Religious Differences.Ruth Boeker - 2015 - Hume Studies 41 (2):105-135.
    Hume’s theory of personal identity is developed in response to Locke’s account of personal identity. Yet it is striking that Hume does not emphasize Locke’s distinction between persons and human beings. It seems even more striking that Hume’s account of the self in Books 2 and 3 of the Treatise has less scope for distinguishing persons from human beings than his account in Book 1. This is puzzling, because Locke originally introduced the distinction in order to answer questions of moral (...)
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  8. Shaftesbury on Persons, Personal Identity, and Character Development.Ruth Boeker - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12471.
    Shaftesbury’s major work Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times was one of the most influential English works in the eighteenth century. This paper focuses on his contributions to debates about persons and personal identity and shows that Shaftesbury regards metaphysical questions of personal identity as closely connected with normative questions of character development. I argue that he is willing to accept that persons are substances and that he takes their continued existence for granted. He sees the need to supplement metaphysical (...)
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  9. Watts and Trotter Cockburn on the Power of Thinking.Ruth Boeker - 2024 - In Sebastian Bender & Dominik Perler (eds.), Powers and Abilities in Early Modern Philosophy. Routledge.
    My chapter examines Isaac Watts’s and Catharine Trotter Cockburn’s views concerning the metaphysics of the mind and their underlying accounts of powers and substances. In Philosophical Essays on Various Subjects Watts criticizes Locke’s account of substances and argues for his own preferred account of substance. Watts argues that there is no need to postulate an unknown substratum, as Locke does. Instead, Watts searches for a better explanation of what substances are. His proposal is that bodily substance just is solid extension (...)
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  10. Francis Hutcheson on Liberty.Ruth Boeker - 2020 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 88:121-142.
    This paper aims to reconstruct Francis Hutcheson's thinking about liberty. Since he does not offer a detailed treatment of philosophical questions concerning liberty in his mature philosophical writings I turn to a textbook on metaphysics. We can assume that he prepared the textbook during the 1720s in Dublin. This textbook deserves more attention. First, it sheds light on Hutcheson's role as a teacher in Ireland and Scotland. Second, Hutcheson's contributions to metaphysical disputes are more original than sometimes assumed. To appreciate (...)
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  11. Locke on Personal Identity: A Response to the Problems of His Predecessors.Ruth Boeker - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (3):407-434.
    john locke argues that personal identity consists in sameness of consciousness, and he maintains that any other theory of personal identity would lead to "great Absurdities".1 This statement intimates that Locke thought carefully about alternative conceptions of personal identity and their problems. In this paper, I argue that, by understanding Locke's account of personal identity in the context of metaphysical and religious debates of his time, especially debates concerning the afterlife and the state of the soul between death and resurrection, (...)
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  12. Locke and William Molyneux.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - In Jessica Gordon-Roth & Shelley Weinberg (eds.), The Lockean Mind. New York, NY: Routledge.
    William Molyneux (1656–1698) was an Irish experimental philosopher and politician, who played a major role in the intellectual life in seventeenth-century Dublin. He became Locke’s friend and correspondent in 1692 and was probably Locke’s philosophically most significant correspondent. Locke approached Molyneux for advice for revising his Essay concerning Human Understanding as he was preparing the second and subsequent editions. Locke made several changes in response to Molyneux’s suggestions; they include major revisions of the chapter ‘Of Power’ (2.21), the addition of (...)
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  13. Catharine Trotter Cockburn against Theological Voluntarism.Ruth Boeker - 2024 - In Sonja Schierbaum & Jörn Müller (eds.), Varieties of Voluntarism in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 251–270.
    Catharine Trotter Cockburn challenges voluntarist views held by British moral philosophers during the first half of the eighteenth century. After introducing her metaphysics of morality, namely, her account of human nature, and her account of moral motivation, which for her is a matter concerning the practice of morality, I analyze her arguments against theological voluntarism. I examine, first, how Cockburn rejects the view that God can by an arbitrary act of will change what is good or evil; second, how she (...)
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  14. Rethinking Early Modern Philosophy.Graham Clay & Ruth Boeker - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (2):105-114.
    This introductory article outlines how this special issue contributes to existing scholarship that calls for a rethinking and re-evaluation of common assumptions about early modern philosophy. One way of challenging existing narratives is by questioning what role systems or systematicity play during this period. Another way of rethinking early modern philosophy is by considering assumptions about the role of philosophy itself and how philosophy can effect change in those who form philosophical beliefs or engage in philosophical argumentation. A further way (...)
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  15. Locke on Education, Persons, and Moral Agency.Ruth Boeker - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (2):1-9.
    In her book Experience Embodied Anik Waldow devotes a chapter to “Locke’s Experimental Persons.” Her chapter aims to show how Locke’s views on persons, personal identity, and moral agency in his Essay concerning Human Understanding build on his esteem-based approach to education that he develops in Some Thoughts concerning Education. After outlining main contributions that Waldow makes in her chapter, I turn to three issues that in my view deserve further consideration. First, I draw attention to the question of how (...)
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  16. The Role of Appropriation in Locke's Account of Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2016 - Locke Studies 16:3–39.
    According to Locke, appropriation is a precondition for moral responsibility and thus we can expect that it plays a distinctive role in his theory. Yet it is rare to find an interpretation of Locke’s account of appropriation that does not associate it with serious problems. To make room for a more satisfying understanding of Locke’s account of appropriation we have to analyse why it was so widely misunderstood. The aim of this paper is fourfold: First, I will show that Mackie’s (...)
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  17. The Active Powers of the Human Mind.Ruth Boeker - 2023 - In Aaron Garrett & James A. Harris (eds.), Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, Volume II: Method, Metaphysics, Mind, Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 255–292.
    This essay traces the development of the philosophical debates concerning active powers and human agency in eighteenth-century Scotland. I examine how and why Scottish philosophers such as Francis Hutcheson, George Turnbull, David Hume, and Henry Home, Lord Kames, depart from John Locke’s and other traditional conceptions of the will and how Thomas Reid and Dugald Stewart reinstate Locke’s distinction between volition and desire. Moreover, I examine what role desires, passions, and motives play in the writings of these and other Scottish (...)
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  18. The Moral Dimension in Locke's Account of Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2014 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (3):229-247.
    I offer an interpretation of John Locke’s account of persons and personal identity that gives full credit to Locke’s claim that “person” is a forensic term, sheds new light on the relation between Locke’s characterizations of a person in sections 9 and 26, and explains how Locke links his moral and legal account of personhood to his account of personal identity in terms of sameness of consciousness. I show that Locke’s claim that sameness of consciousness is necessary for personal identity (...)
     
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  19. Locke's Moral Psychology.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - In Jessica Gordon-Roth & Shelley Weinberg (eds.), The Lockean Mind. New York, NY: Routledge.
    In this chapter, I discuss Locke’s contributions to moral psychology. I begin by examining how we acquire moral ideas, according to Locke. Next, I ask what explains why we act morally. I address this question by showing how Locke reconciles hedonist views concerning moral motivation with his commitment to divine law theory. Then I turn to Shaftesbury’s criticism that Locke’s moral view is a self-interested moral theory that undermines virtue. In response to the criticism I draw attention to Locke’s Christian (...)
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  20. Teaching & Learning Guide for: Shaftesbury on Persons, Personal Identity and Character Development.Ruth Boeker - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8):e12698.
  21. Thomas Reid on Promises and Social Operations of the Human Mind.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (2):350-371.
    My paper offers a new interpretation of Reid’s account of social operations of the mind. I argue that it is important to acknowledge the counterpart structure of social operations. By this I mean that for Reid every social operation is paired with a counterpart operation. On the view that I ascribe to Reid, at least two intelligent beings take part in a social operation and the social operation does not come into existence until both the social operation and its counterpart (...)
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  22. Character Development in Shaftesbury’s and Hume’s Approaches to Self.Ruth Boeker - 2022 - In Dan O'Brien (ed.), Hume on the Self and Personal Identity. Palgrave.
    This essay examines the relation between philosophical questions concerning personal identity and character development in Shaftesbury’s and Hume’s philosophy. Shaftesbury combines a metaphysical account of personal identity with a normative approach to character development. By contrasting Shaftesbury’s and Hume’s views on these issues, I examine whether character development presupposes specific metaphysical views about personal identity, and in particular whether it presupposes the continued existence of a substance, as Shaftesbury assumes. I show that Hume’s philosophy offers at least two alternatives. Moreover, (...)
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  23. John Locke: Identity, Persons, and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2013 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    John Locke offered a very rich and influential account of persons and personal identity in “Of Identity and Diversity,” which is chapter 27 of Book 2 of his An Essay concerning Human Understanding. He added it to the second edition in 1694 upon the recommendation of his friend William Molyneux. Locke’s theory was soon after its publication discussed by his contemporaries and has influenced many present-day discussions of personal identity. Distinctive about Locke’s theory is that he argues that the notion (...)
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  24.  78
    New Perspectives on Agency in Early Modern Philosophy.Ruth Boeker - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):625-630.
    This introductory article outlines the themes and aims of this special issue, which offers new perspectives on early modern debates about agency in two ways: First, it recovers writings on agency and liberty that have been widely neglected or that have received insufficient attention, including writings by Anne Conway, Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, William King, Gabrielle Suchon, Elizabeth Berkeley Burnet, Mary Astell, and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury. Second, it reveals the richness of early modern debates about (...)
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  25.  85
    John Locke on persons and personal identity.Ruth Boeker - unknown
    John Locke claims both that ‘person’ is a forensic term and that personal identity consists in sameness of consciousness. The aim of my dissertation is to explain and critically assess how Locke links his moral and legal account of personhood to his account of personal identity in terms of sameness of consciousness. My interpretation of Locke’s account of persons and personal identity is embedded in Locke’s sortal-dependent account of identity. Locke’s sortal-dependent account of identity provides an important theoretical framework for (...)
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  26. Materialism from Hobbes to Locke: by Stewart Duncan, New York, Oxford University Press, 2022, pp. 240, £ 56.00 (hb), ISBN 9780197613009. [REVIEW]Ruth Boeker - 2024 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 32 (1):231-237.
    Stewart Duncan’s excellent book Materialism from Hobbes to Locke offers an insightful study of the debates concerning materialism during the seventeenth century. When we hear the expression ‘materialism’, we often associate with it the question of whether the human mind is an entirely material entity. Although the question of whether the human mind is material plays an important role throughout the seventeenth-century debates examined in this book, Duncan offers a broader understanding of materialism that is not restricted to the human (...)
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  27.  72
    Gill, Michael B. A Philosophy of Beauty: Shaftesbury on Nature, Virtue, and Art. Princeton: Princeton University Press 2022, 238 pp. [REVIEW]Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    Michael B. Gill’s A Philosophy of Beauty: Shaftesbury on Nature, Virtue, and Art focuses on Shaftesbury’s thinking about nature, religion, morality, and art. This beautifully and engagingly written book is insightful for scholars and general readers alike, and invites readers to explore the philosophical issues that arise from Shaftesbury’s philosophy. Gill not only shows how Shaftesbury’s ideas were revolutionary at the turn of the eighteenth century but also how they remain relevant today. Shaftesbury’s major work, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, (...)
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  28.  64
    Consciousness in Locke by Shelley Weinberg. [REVIEW]Ruth Boeker - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):164-165.
    Shelley Weinberg’s Consciousness in Locke builds on her previous journal articles and makes significant contributions to John Locke scholarship by offering the first systematic study of consciousness throughout Locke’s Essay. According to Weinberg, consciousness for Locke is self-referential, non-evaluative awareness internal to every thought or perception. She argues that once we realize the complexity of any perception—namely that every perception involves, “at the very least, an act of perception, an idea perceived, and consciousness ” —we can see that Locke’s conception (...)
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  29.  90
    Locke on Personal Identity: Consciousness and Concernment. [REVIEW]Ruth Boeker - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):803-6.