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Early Modern PhilosophyMind, Matter, and Metaphysics$
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Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177602

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177606.001.0001

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Locke and the Nature of Matter

Locke and the Nature of Matter

(p.142) Locke and the Nature of Matter
Early Modern Philosophy

Roger S. Woolhouse

Oxford University Press

Descartes's unequivocal statement that the “nature of body consists ... simply in extension” (Principles 2:4) met with some disagreement in Locke's Essay. In the early draft A (1671) of the Essay Locke shows no concern about the possible narrowness of the Cartesian conception. However, in the later draft, draft B, of the same year Locke expresses dissatisfaction with “some [who] have made the whole essence of body to consist in extension”. From draft B of 1671, through draft C of 1685, and on to the 1690 Essay itself, Locke's list of characterizations of matter involve far more than Descartes's. This chapter discusses this list's relation to the other features of matter of which Locke makes it the foundation.

Keywords:   Descartes, Locke, Essay, matter, list

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