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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Locke on Relations

Locke on Relations

(p.159) 19 Locke on Relations
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Locke follows Boyle's basic strategy of reconciling causal powers and ontological mechanism by treating powers as relations and then offering some version of a reductive account of those relations. But this chapter argues that Locke departs from Boyle in a crucial way: on Locke's view, there is nothing for God to contribute over and above the initial source of motion. Bodies, for Locke, have passive powers to affect one another, and these powers are reducible to sets of their intrinsic qualities. This makes sense, however, only if Locke endorses a kind of conceptual foundationalism about relations, rather than relativism or pure reductivism.

Keywords:   relations, passive powers, conceptual foundationalism, Locke, Boyle, relativism, pure reductivism

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