Locke and the Nature of Matter

Roger S. Woolhouse

in Early Modern Philosophy

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177602
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835553 | DOI:
 Locke and the Nature of Matter

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  10929 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.