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Locke and Cartesian Philosophy$
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Philippe Hamou and Martine Pécharman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198815037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198815037.001.0001

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Cartesian Logic and Locke’s Critique of Maxims

Cartesian Logic and Locke’s Critique of Maxims

(p.186) 11 Cartesian Logic and Locke’s Critique of Maxims
Locke and Cartesian Philosophy

Andreas Blank

Oxford University Press

This chapter contextualizes Locke’s critique of logical and metaphysical maxims within the framework of the Cartesian critique of the topical tradition. It makes clear that Locke, targeting the Scholastic, proof-theoretic conception of maxims, replicates argumentative patterns found in the work of the Cartesian logicians Johannes Clauberg and Antoine Arnauld, who argued against the topical (Ramist) conception of maxims. Locke also inherits certain weaknesses of this Cartesian critique, which, it is argued, does not adequately capture the view of Petrus Ramus and others in the topical tradition that maxims only make explicit the rules that implicitly govern various areas of discourse.

Keywords:   maxims, Cartesian logic, topical tradition, Ramism, Ramus, Clauberg, Arnauld and Nicole

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