•  79
    Two arguments in Hume’s essay on miracles are reductios ad Catholicism: if you believe in the miracles in the Bible, then you ought to believe in Catholic miracles as well. Hume’s intended readers hated Catholicism and would sooner reject miracles than follow the pope. Hume argues that Jansenist miracle stories meet the standards of trustworthiness as well as any miracles in history. He knows that his Protestant believers don’t believe the stories, and he hopes to persuade his readers to reject …Read more
  • Locke's Treatment of Primary and Secondary Qualities
    Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. 1997.
    My dissertation is an explication of Locke's influential discussion of primary and secondary qualities. I explain the various distinctions that he draws and the reasons that he offers for his various theses, including the famous thesis that secondary qualities are merely powers to produce ideas in us. ;I begin with machinery. Seventeenth century locksmiths and watchmakers appealed to primary qualities to explain the workings of their machine. Locke treats this mechanical reasoning as a model of …Read more
  •  64
  •  184
    Locke and the Visual Array
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1): 69-91. 2012.
    A.D. Smith opens his excellent paper, “Space and Sight,” by remarking, One of the most notable features of both philosophy and psychology throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is the almost universal denial that we are immediately aware through sight of objects arrayed in three-dimensional space. This was not merely a denial of Direct Realism, but a denial that truly visual objects are even phenomenally presented in depth (481). Times have changed. As Smith writes, “It is hard to th…Read more
  •  98
    The Epistemology under Lockes Corpuscularianism
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 84 (2): 161-189. 2002.
    The intelligibility of our artifacts suggests to many seventeenth century thinkers that nature works along analogous lines, that the same principles that explain the operations of artifacts explain the operations of natural bodies.1 We may call this belief ‘corpuscularianism’ when conjoined with the premise that the details of the analogy depend upon the sub-microscopic textures of ordinary bodies and upon the rapidly moving, imperceptibly tiny corpuscles that surround these bodies.2 Locke’s sym…Read more
  •  89
    Locke's Image of the World
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Michael Jacovides provides an engaging account of how the scientific revolution influenced one of the foremost figures of early modern philosophy, John Locke. By placing Locke's thought in its scientific, religious, and anti-scholastic contexts, Jacovides explains not only what Locke believes but also why he believes it.
  •  151
    How Berkeley corrupted his capacity to conceive
    Philosophia 37 (3): 415-429. 2008.
    Berkeley’s capacity to conceive of mind-independent bodies was corrupted by his theory of representation. He thought that representation of things outside the mind depended on resemblance. Since ideas can resemble nothing than ideas, and all ideas are mind dependent, he concluded that we couldn’t form ideas of mind-independent bodies. More generally, he thought that we had no inner resembling proxies for mind-independent bodies, and so we couldn’t even form a notion of such things. Because conce…Read more
  •  81
    Locke on the propria of body
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (3). 2007.
    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 Lo…Read more
  •  101
    Locke’s construction of the idea of power
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (2): 329-350. 2003.
    Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, 34A (2003): 329-50.
  •  130
    Cambridge changes of color
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (2): 142-164. 2000.
    Locke’s porphyry argument at 2.8.19 of the Essay has not been properly appreciated. On my reconstruction, Locke argues from the premise that porphyry undergoes a mere Cambridge change of color in different lighting conditions to the conclusion that porphyry’s colors do not belong to it as it is in itself. I argue that his argument is not quite sound, but it would be if Locke chose a different stone, alexandrite. Examining his argument teaches us something about the relation between explanatory q…Read more
  •  69
    Annotations to the Speech of the Muses (Plato Republic 546b-c)
    with Kathleen McNamee
    Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 144 31-50. 2003.
    Annotations to the Speech of the Muses (Plato Republic 546b-c).
  •  101
    'If a person can think of an F, then that person has come into causal contact with an F in the right way' is a premise in an obvious reconstruction of Putnam's argument that we are not brains in vats. 'If a person can think of an F, then that person has come into causal contact with an F or with something at least as good as an F' is the only controversial premise in Descartes' argument for the existence of God. Putnam's principle entails Descartes', which suggests that we should enquire after b…Read more
  •  281
    Locke’s Resemblance Theses
    Philosophical Review 108 (4): 461-496. 1999.
    Locke asserts that “the Ideas of primary Qualities of Bodies, are Resemblances of them, and their Patterns do really exist in the Bodies themselves; But the Ideas, produced in us by these Secondary Qualities, have no resemblance of them at all.”1 On an unsophisticated way of taking his words, he means that ideas of primary qualities are like the qualities they represent and ideas of secondary qualities are unlike the qualities they represent.2 I will show that if we take his assertions in this u…Read more
  •  244
    in The Cambridge Companion to Locke’s Essay, edited by Lex Newman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  •  103
    Do Experiences Represent?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (1): 87-103. 2010.
    The paper contains four arguments to show that experiences don't represent. The first argument appeals to the fact that an experience can't occur without what the experience is of; the second appeals to the fact we can have an experience without having any awareness of what it is of, the third argument appeals to the fact that long experiences, such as the experience of being kidnapped, don't represent anything; and the fourth appeals to the fact that experiences often leave physical traces. The…Read more
  •  191
    Locke on perception
    In Matthew Stuart (ed.), A companion to Locke, Blackwell. forthcoming.
    Michael Jacovides For Locke, the first step in inquiring into perception should be reflection: “What Perception is, every one will know better by reflecting on what he does himself, when he sees, hears, feels, etc. or thinks, than by any discourse of mine” (2.9.2). As a second step, I say, we may learn from reading him. Locke’s use of the term ‘perception’ is somewhat broad. At one point, he tells us that “having Ideas and Perception” are “the same thing” (2.1.9). Elsewhere, he includes the perc…Read more
  •  104
    Hume's Vicious Regress
    Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 5 247-97. 2010.
  •  40
    Remarks on Smalligan Marusic’s Comments
    Philosophia 37 (3): 437-439. 2009.
    The author defends attributing to Berkeley the thesis that we can't conceive of extension in a mind-independent body against criticism from Smalligan Marusic. The author also specifies the resemblance requirements that Berkeley places on conceivability, concedes that the principle that ideas can only be like other ideas is not, strictly speaking, a premise in the Master Argument, and clarifies his views on the relation between possibility and conceivability.
  •  30
    Lockean fluids
    In Paul Hoffman, David Owen & Gideon Yaffe (eds.), Contemporary Perspectives on Early Modern Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Vere Chappell, Broadview Press. 2008.
    Robert Boyle showed that air “has a Spring that enables it to sustain or resist a pressure” and also it has “an active Spring . . . as when it distends a flaccid or breaks a full-blown Bladder in our exhausted receiver” (Boyle 1999, 6.41-42).1 In this respect, he distinguished between air and other fluids, since liquids such as water are “not sensibly compressible by an ordinary force” (ibid., 5.264). He explained the air’s tendency to resist and to expand by hypothesizing the Air near the Earth…Read more
  •  193
    Experiences as complex events
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (2): 141-159. 2010.
    It is argued that experiences are complex events that befall their subjects. Each experience has a single subject and depends on the state or the event that it is of. The constituents of an experience are its subject, its grounding event or state, and everything that the subject is aware of during that time that's relevant to the telling of the story of how it was to participate in that event or be put in that state. The experience occurs where the person having the experience is. An experience …Read more
  •  53
    Serious philosophical reflection on the nature of experiment began in earnest in the seventeenth century. This paper expounds the most influential philosophy of experiment in seventeenth-century England, the Bacon-Boyle-Hooke view of experiment. It is argued that this can only be understood in the context of the new experimental philosophy practised according to the Baconian theory of natural history. The distinctive typology of experiments of this view is discussed, as well as its account of th…Read more