Boyle's corpuscular hypothesis and Locke's primary-secondary quality distinction

Philosophical Studies 29 (3):181 - 189 (1976)
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Locke denied that ideas of secondary qualities resemble their causes. It has been suggested that Locke denied this because he accepted a mechanical corpuscular hypothesis about the constitution of objects. This paper shows that this and other usual explanations of Locke's denial are mistaken. Further, it suggests an alternative relationship between the scientific account and Locke's philosophical views, and finally it provides Locke's real justification for his claim that ideas of secondary qualities do not resemble their causes.



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