•  81
    The problem of how we can know the existence and nature of the world external to our mind is one of the oldest and most difficult in philosophy. The discussion by John Locke (1632-1704) of knowledge of the external world have proved to be some of the most confusing and difficult passages of his entire body of philosophical work.
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    It is here argued that Locke and Newton held very similar views on the nature of our knowledge of substance: our only cognitive access to substances is through their powers to affect our minds and other substances. However, in spite of this shared empiricist foundation, Locke and Newton held divergent views on the unification of powers or qualities into a single substance. While Locke allows that distinct powers can be understood as united in one substance (indeed all substances are collections …Read more
  • John Locke’s _An Essay Concerning Human Understanding_ begins with a clear statement of an epistemological goal: to explain the limits of human knowledge, opinion, and ignorance. The actual text of the _Essay_, in stark contrast, takes a long and seemingly meandering path before returning to that goal at the _Essay_’s end—one with many detours through questions in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of language. Over time, Locke scholarship has come to focus on Locke’s contributions …Read more