Chapter

From Experimental Philosophy to Empiricism

Stephen Gaukroger

in The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594931
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594931.003.0005
From Experimental Philosophy to Empiricism

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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

Chapter.  19756 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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