Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 October 2020

Locke's Mechanisms

Locke's Mechanisms

(p.177) 21 Locke's Mechanisms
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The previous chapters establish that Locke is an ontological mechanist. The question remains, however, whether he is also a course‐of‐nature mechanist: does Locke hold that bodies necessarily behave as they do, given their intrinsic natures? Or does he instead collapse into some form of Cartesian or Boylean voluntarism? This chapter argues that any account of Locke's commitment to course‐of‐nature mechanism must respect his views on relations. Since powers are relations, and relations, considered as mind‐independent, are nothing but the intrinsic qualities of bodies, Locke cannot be a voluntarist. The passages that make it appear otherwise are purely epistemic in their intent, and reflect Locke's doubts about the corpuscular version of mechanism, not the ontological or course‐of‐nature mechanisms of which it is a species. Further, this chapter shows that Locke does not take gravity to threaten either of these last two forms of mechanism, and that his thoughts on gravity run precisely counter to Newton's brand of occasionalism.

Keywords:   voluntarism, corpuscularianism, mechanism, Newton, Locke

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .