The uses of mechanism: Corpuscularianism in drafts a and B of Locke's essay

In William Newman, John Murdoch & Cristoph Lüthy (eds.), Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscularian Matter Theory. E.J. Brill. pp. 515-534 (2001)
  Copy   BIBTEX


That corpuscularianism played a critical role in Locke’s philosophical thought has perhaps now attained the status of a truism. In particular, it is universally acknowledged that the primary/secondary quality distinction and the conception of real essence found in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding cannot be understood apart from the corpuscularian science of Locke’s time.1 When Locke provides lists of the primary qualities of bodies,2 the qualities that “are really in them whether we perceive them or no,” those lists show strong resemblances to Robert Boyle’s views about the “primary affections” of matter, as expressed in such influential programmatic works as On the Origin of Forms and Qualities.3 Moreover, Locke’s conception of the real essences of bodies, the inner constitutions which serve as the causal sources of all their properties, typically appears to be a corpuscularian one.4 Nevertheless, the question of the nature of Locke’s philosophical allegiance to corpuscularianism remains a controversial one.5..



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Locke on primary and secondary qualities.Samuel C. Rickless - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (3):297-319.
The Status of Mechanism in Locke’s Essay.Lisa Downing - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):381-414.
Primary qualities, secondary qualities and Locke's impulse principle.James Hill - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (1):85 – 98.
Locke on human understanding: selected essays.I. C. Tipton (ed.) - 1977 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Primary and Secondary Qualities.Robert A. Wilson - 2016 - In Matthew Stuart (ed.), A Companion to Locke. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Blackwell. pp. 193-211.


Added to PP

376 (#46,861)

6 months
74 (#51,922)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Lisa Downing
Ohio State University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references