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The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of SensibilityScience and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680-1760$
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Stephen Gaukroger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594931

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594931.001.0001

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From Experimental Philosophy to Empiricism

From Experimental Philosophy to Empiricism

(p.150) 4 From Experimental Philosophy to Empiricism
The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility

Stephen Gaukroger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores the development of the thought of John Locke. It begins with his early medical concerns, showing how these became connected with the issue of the standing of ‘experimental natural philosophy’. The most comprehensive statement of the philosophy to which Locke was opposed was that of Nicolas Malebranche, and Locke's mature views can be seen as a response to Malebranche. The reading offered brings to light an understanding of empiricism as a successor to, and philosophical refinement of, seventeenth‐century ‘experimental’ natural philosophy, something which is intimately tied up with natural‐philosophical practice, and is quite distinct from the speculative epistemology to which it is reduced in the ‘rationalism/empiricism’ debates.

Keywords:   John Locke, Nicolas Malebranche, empiricism, rationalism, experimental natural philosophy

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