Locke on individuation and the corpuscular basis of kinds

Abstract

In a well-known paper, Reginald Jackson expresses a sentiment not uncommon among readers of Locke: “Among the merits of Locke’s Essay…not even the friendliest critic would number consistency.”2 This unflattering opinion of Locke is reiterated by Maurice Mandelbaum: “Under no circumstances can [Locke] be counted among the clearest and most consistent of philosophers.”3 The now familiar story is that there are innumerable inconsistencies and internal problems contained in Locke’s Essay. In fact, it is probably safe to say that there is not another canonical, well-respected, and seminal philosopher whose work is so widely thought to be swarming with inconsistencies. I, however, do not think that the common, unflattering view of Locke is accurate as a general view of the Essay. But despite my wishes to the contrary, I do believe that Locke’s chapter ‘Of Identity and Diversity’ (2.27)4 leads to (at least) one intractable problem, a problem that is the subject of this paper.

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Author's Profile

Dan Kaufman
University of Colorado, Boulder

References found in this work

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - London, England: Oxford University Press.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Contingent Identity.Allan Gibbard - 1975 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (2):187-222.

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Citations of this work

Locke on Persons and Personal Identity.Ruth Boeker - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Contours of Locke’s General Substance Dualism.Graham Clay - 2022 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 4 (1):1-20.
Locke on Real Essence.Jan-Erik Jones - 2012 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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