Reid and Priestley on method and the mind

Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):511-525 (2002)
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Abstract

Reid said little in his published writings about his contemporary Joseph Priestley, but his unpublished work is largely devoted to the latter. Much of Priestley's philosophical thought- his materialism, his determinism, his Lockean scientific realism- was as antithetical to Reid's as was Hume's philosophy in a very different way. Neither Reid nor Priestley formulated a full response to the other. Priestley's response to Reid came very early in his career, and is marked by haste and immaturity. In his last decade Reid worried much about Priestley's materialism, but that concern never reached publication. I document Reid's unpublished response to Priestley, and also view Reid's response from Priestley's perspective, as deduced from his published works. Both thinkers attempted to base their arguments on Newtonian method. Reid's position is the more puzzling of the two, since he nowhere makes clear how Newtonian method favours mind-body dualism over materialism, which is the central debate between them

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Author's Profile

Alan Tapper
Curtin University, Western Australia

Citations of this work

Thomas Reid Today.Esther Engels Kroeker - 2015 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (2):95-114.
Scottish Common Sense, association of ideas and free will.Sebastiano Gino - 2020 - Intellectual History Review 30 (1):109-127.

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References found in this work

The Beginnings of Priestley's Materialism.Alan Tapper - 1982 - Enlightenment and Dissent 1 (1):73-81.

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