This book is a general introduction to the philosophy of John Locke, one of the most influential thinkers in modern times. Nicholas Jolley aims to show the fundamental unity of Locke's thought in his masterpiece, the Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In this work Locke advances a coherent theory of knowledge; as against Descartes he argues that knowledge is possible to the extent that it concerns essences which are constructions of the human mind.
The concept of an "idea" played a central role in 17th-century theories of mind and knowledge, but philosophers were divided over the nature of ideas. This book examines an important, but little-known, debate on this question in the work of Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes. Looking closely at the issues involved, as well as the particular context in which the debate took place, Jolley demonstrates that the debate has serious implications for a number of major topics in 17th-century philosophy.
This is the first modern interpretation of Leibniz's comprehensive critique of Locke, the New Essays on Human Understanding. Arguing that the New Essays is controlled by the overriding purpose of refuting Locke's alleged materialism, Jolley establishes the metaphysical and theological motivation of the work on the basis of unpublished correspondence and manuscript material. He also shows the relevance of Leibniz's views to contemporary debates over innate ideas, personal identity, and natural kinds.
The Light of the Soul examines the debate between Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes on the nature of ideas, which was crucial to the development of early modern thinking about the mind and knowledge. Nicholas Jolley guides the reader through the debate and considers its implications for a broad range of issues, such as innate ideas, self-knowledge, scepticism, the mind-body problem, and the creation of the eternal truths, which are as important to philosophy today as they were in the seventeenth century.
Nicholas Jolley shows that the mind-body problem and the nature of personal immortality are more central to Locke's philosophy than has been realized. He argues that Locke takes up unorthodox positions in both cases, and holds that Locke's criticisms of Descartes were controversial responses to challenging metaphysical and theological issues.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was hailed by Bertrand Russell as 'one of the supreme intellects of all time'. A towering figure in seventeenth-century philosophy, his complex thought has been championed and satirized in equal measure, most famously in Voltaire's _Candide_. In this outstanding introduction to his philosophy, Nicholas Jolley introduces and assesses the whole of Leibniz's philosophy. Beginning with an introduction to Leibniz's life and work, he carefully introduces the core elements of Leibniz's metaphysics: his theories of substance, identity and individuation; (...) monads and space and time; and his important debate over the nature of space and time with Newton's champion, Samuel Clarke. He then introduces Leibniz's theories of mind, knowledge, and innate ideas, showing how Leibniz anticipated the distinction between conscious and unconscious states, before examining his theory of free will and the problem of evil. An important feature of the book is its introduction to Leibniz's moral and political philosophy, an overlooked aspect of his work. The final chapter assesses legacy and the impact of his philosophy on philosophy as a whole, particularly on the work of Immanuel Kant. Throughout, Nicholas Jolley places Leibniz in relation to some of the other great philosophers, such as Descartes, Spinoza and Locke, and discusses Leibniz's key works, such as the _Monadology_ and _Discourse on Metaphysics_. (shrink)
Gottfried Leibniz was a remarkable thinker who made fundamental contributions not only to philosophy, but also to the development of modern mathematics and science. At the centre of Leibniz's philosophy stands his metaphysics, an ambitious attempt to discover the nature of reality through the use of unaided reason. This volume provides a systematic and comprehensive account of the full range of Leibniz's thought, exploring the metaphysics in detail and showing its subtle and complex relationship to his views on logic, language, (...) physics, and theology. Other chapters examine the intellectual context of his thought and its reception in the eighteenth century. New readers and nonspecialists will find this the most accessible and comprehensive guide to Leibniz currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Leibniz. (shrink)
Leibniz est-il devenu phénoménaliste pendant ses années dernières ? Contre Furth et Loeb, ce travail rend une réponse négative à cette question. Quoique Leibniz a caressé les idées phénoménalistes, il ne les a jamais vraiment acceptées ; au contraire, il soutient une autre thèse réductioniste, c'est-à-dire que les corps sont des agrégats des monades. Cependant, cette conclusion entraîne ses propres difficultés, car à certains égards, la doctrine phénoménaliste paraît plus satisfaisante que l'option concurrante. On soutient que la répugnance leibnizienne à (...) accepter le phénoménalisme doit s'expliquer par son dessein de concilier la monadologie et la physique. (shrink)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was hailed by Bertrand Russell as "one of the supreme intellects of all time." A towering figure in Seventeenth century philosophy, his complex thought has been championed and satirized in equal measure, most famously in Voltaire's Candide. In this outstanding introduction to his philosophy, Nicholas Jolley introduces and assesses the whole of Leibniz's philosophy. Beginning with an introduction to Leibniz's life and work, he carefully introduces the core elements of Leibniz's metaphysics: his theories of substance, identity (...) and individuation; monads and space and time; and his important debate over the nature of space and time with Newton's champion, Samuel Clarke. He then introduces Leibniz's theories of mind, knowledge, and innate ideas, showing how Lenin anticipated the distinction between conscious and unconscious states, before examining his theory of free will and the problem of evil. An important feature of the book is its introduction to Leibniz'smoral and political philosophy, an overlooked aspect of his work. The final chapter assesses legacy and the impact of his philosophy on philosophy as a whole, particularly on the work of Immanuel Kant. Throughout, Nicholas Jolley places Lenin in relation to some of the other great philosophers, such as Descartes, Spinoza and Locke, and discusses Leibniz's key works, such as the Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reconstruct an important controversy between leibniz and malebranche over innate ideas. It is argued that this controversy is in some ways more illuminating than the better-Known debate between leibniz and locke, For malebranche's objections to innate ideas raise fundamental questions concerning the status of dispositions and the relationship between logic and psychology. The paper shows that in order to meet malebranche's objections, Leibniz adopts a strategy which is doubly reductionist: ideas are reduced to dispositions to think (...) in certain ways, And these dispositions are in turn reduced to unconscious perceptions. It is suggested that malebranche's platonist commitment to the existence of abstract entities forces leibniz to reveal the extent of his nominalism. (shrink)
One of the hallmarks of Descartes' philosophy is the doctrine that the human mind has a faculty of pure intellect. This doctrine is so central to Descartes' teaching that it is difficult to believe that any of his disciplines would abandon it. Yet this is what happened in the case of Malebranche. This paper argues that in his later philosophy Malebranche adopted a theory of divine illumination which leaves no room for a Cartesian doctrine of pure intellect. It is further (...) argued that Malebranche's abandonment of the Cartesian doctrine left a void in his philosophy which he filled with the theory of efficacious ideas. (shrink)
Because of their vastness and rather fragmentary character, the writings of Leibniz leave the student unusually dependent on secondary literature for guidance. That the literature on Leibniz is exceptionally good is all the more reason to welcome the kind of orientation to the riches of both primary and secondary sources that this Companion aims to provide. Announcing itself as “the most accessible and comprehensive guide to Leibniz currently available” for nonspecialists and “a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of (...) Leibniz” for specialists, it lives up to both aspirations remarkably well. (shrink)
Many years ago, professors used to teach their students that Locke wrote the Two Treatises of Government to refute Hobbes. The demolition of this thesis by Peter Laslett and others had one curious result: scholars ceased to pay much attention to the relationship between the two greatest English philosophers of the seventeenth century. This trend was perhaps reinforced by an understandable suspicion of Leo Strauss’s thesis that Locke was really a closet Hobbesian. It thus came to be accepted that it (...) was somehow intellectually disreputable to suppose that there was any meaningful dialogue between Locke and the author of Leviathan.A serious reassessment of the relationship between the two philosophers is long overdue... (shrink)
Dr. Johnson famously observed that in lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath. This observation applies with equal force to publishers and their advertisements for books. According to the blurb, the present volume “offers essential critical material for both novice and advanced scholars of early modern philosophy.” In fact, it would be a remarkably sophisticated novice who could derive much benefit from this anthology of essays on seventeenth-century Rationalism; not merely do the authors engage with difficult issues of interpretation (...) but they often presuppose a detailed knowledge of the various positions in the exegetical debates. Nonetheless, the volume does live up to the second part of its billing: it offers a great deal for the specialist to get his or her teeth into. Despite the demands they make upon the reader, the contributions are of an almost uniformly high quality. The volume has its origins in a NEH Summer Seminar conducted by Jonathan Bennett, who himself contributes a characteristically elegant and lucid essay on Descartes’s theory of space. Bennett may take a justifiable pride in the accomplishments of the participants in his seminar. (shrink)
In general, seventeenth‐century philosophers seem to have assumed that intentionality is an essential characteristic of our mental life. Malebranche is perhaps the only philosopher in the period who stands out clearly against the prevailing orthodoxy; he is committed to the thesis that there is a large class of mental items ‐ sensations ‐ which have no representational content. In this paper I argue that due attention to this fact makes it possible to mount at least a partial defence of his (...) notorious doctrine of ‘the rainbow‐coloured soul’; Malebranche's doctrine is a striking anticipation of modern adverbial theories of sensation. I then argue that failure to appreciate the non‐intentional character of sensations for Malebranche vitiates one recent attempt to explain why he accepted the Cartesian doctrine of the beastmachine; in contrast to the Radners, I suggest that Malebranche has the philosophical resources to offer an interesting theory of animal consciousness, and that his failure to develop such a theory rests largely on his acceptance of certain theological arguments. The paper ends by speculating about how Malebranche's theological commitments may have encouraged him to adopt the philosophically important thesis that intentionality is not the mark of the mental. (shrink)
Berkeley, Malebranche, and Vision in God NICHOLAS JOLLEY IN THE SECOND of the Three Dialogues Hylas, the materialist, asks Philonous: "But what say you, are not you too of opinion that we see all things in God? If I mistake not, what you advance comes near it."' In the first edition of the Dialogues Philonous's response was a temperate one; he expressed his agree- ment with Malebranche's emphasis on the Scriptural text that in God we live, move, and have our (...) being, and confined his disagreement with Malebranche to pointing out that, for him, the things we perceive are our own ideas. In the third edition, by contrast, Berkeley inserted a lengthy and rather ill-tempered expression of his differences from Malebranche: Few men think, yet all will have opinions. Hence men's opinions are superficial and confused. It is nothing strange that tenets, which in themselves are ever so different, should nevertheless be confounded with each other by those who do not consider them attentively. I shall not therefore be surprised, if some men imagine that I run into the enthusiasm of Malebranche, though in truth I am very remote from it. He builds on the most abstract general ideas, which I entirely disclaim. He asserts an absolute exter- nal world, which I deny. He maintains that we are deceived by our senses, and know not the real natures or the true forms and figures of extended beings; of all which I hold the direct contrary. So that upon the whole there are no. (shrink)
This book presents seventeen of Nicholas Jolley's essays on early modern philosophy. They focus on two main themes: the debate over the nature of causality; and the issues posed by Descartes' innovations in the philosophy of mind. Together, they show that philosophers in the period are systematic critics of their contemporaries and predecessors.
In diesem Aufsatz versuche ich, die innere Kohärenz der Cartesischen Lehre von der Wechselwirkung zwischen Leib und Seele nachzuweisen. Ich versichte jedoch darauf, das Prinzip, daß die Ursache ebenso viel Realität enthalten muß wie die Wirkung, selbst und erst recht Descartes' Anwendung derselben auf die Ideen zu verteidigen. Mein Bemühen um die innere Kohärenz der Cartesischen Position erklärt die ausschließliche Blickrichtung auf nur eine Richtung der Wechselwirkung. Unter der Voraussetzung der Cartesischen Prinzipien kann sich durch die Annahme von durch Wollen (...) verursachter physischer Veränderung kein Problem ergeben; denn hier kommt das Augustinische Prinzip Descartes zur Hilfe. Nach Augustins Prinzip ist nämlich das Geistige vollkommener und daher realer als das Physische. Heutige Philosophen mögen Descartes' Auffassung der willentlichen Bewegungen geheimnisvoll finden, doch geschieht das aus Gründen, die außerhalb des Cartesischen Systems liegen. (shrink)
It is an old charge against Locke that his commitment to a common substratum for the observable qualities of particular objects and his empiricist theory about the origin of ideas are inconsistent with one another. How could we have an idea of something in which observable qualities inhere if all our ideas are constructed from ideas of observable qualities? In this paper, I propose an interpretation of the crucial passages in Locke, according to which the idea of substratum is formed (...) through an elaborate mental process which he calls “supposition.” It is the same process we use when we form the idea of infinity − another problematic idea for an empiricist. In the end, Locke was more liberal than most empiricists in subscribing to the existence of ideas far removed from experience, because he accepted supposition as a legitimate way of constructing new ideas. (shrink)
Diese Arbeit legt den Text einer bisher nicht publizierten Abhandlung aus Leibniz' Spätzeit (Ad Christophori Stegmanni Metaphysicam Unitariorum) zusammen mit einer einfiihrenden Erörterung vor. Diese „unbekannte" Schrift enthält wichtige und überraschende Sätze liber die Grundprinzipien der Leibnizschen Metaphysik: Über das Prinzip des zureichenden Grundes wird behauptet, es folge aus dem Prinzip des Widerspruchs, und die Existenz dieser Welt wird nur erklart mit den Begriffen der „praevalentia" der Essenzen. Diese ÄuBerungen zielen auf Notwendigkeit ab und stehen damit im Konflikt mit Leibniz' (...) ausgesprochenem Ziel, Gottes Weisheit und Gerechtigkeit gegen die materialistische Metaphysik des Sozinianers Christoph Stegmann zu verteidigen. (shrink)
Richard Cumberland, the Anglican divine, concludes his anti-Hobbesian work, Treatise of the Laws of Nature, with the following remarkable observation: ‘Hobbes, whilst he pretends with one hand to bestow gifts upon princes, does with the other treacherously strike a dagger to their hearts.’ This remark sums up a dominant theme of seventeenth-century reactions to Hobbes's political theory; a host of similar complaints could be marshalled from among the ranks of secondary figures such as Clarendon, Filmer and Pufendorf. Today, however, Cumberland's (...) criticism has a relatively unfamiliar ring. Following the lead famously given by John Locke, we are much more likely to be impressed by the totalitarian features of Hobbes's political philosophy than by its subversive character. To preclude initial objections, there is of course a relatively uncontroversial sense in which Hobbes's thought is subversive; in metaphysics, ethics and theology Hobbes's daggers are deliberately aimed at the hearts of the Schoolmen and the Puritans. But Cumberland's concern in the quotation is with Hobbes's theory of sovereignty: the thrust of his criticism is that the theory is top-heavy, and this issue has not received much attention in recent years. One notable exception is David Gauthier who writes that ‘from unlimited individualism only anarchy follows. The theory is a failure.’ Gauthier, however, argues tht Hobbes's presentation of his theory in Leviathan marks a major advance over the earlier De Cive, and if our criterion of success is the strength of the sovereign's position, then this claim seems highly suspect. In the first part of this paper I shall argue that the sovereign of Leviathan is a more vulnerable figure than the sovereign of the earlier De Cive. In the second part of the paper I take up the problem posed by military service for a Hobbesian theory of political obligation. Employing a distinction between act- and rule-prudentialism, I shall argue that here again the position of Leviathan is in some ways less satisfactory than that of the earlier works. (shrink)
Malebranche's Dialogues on Metaphysics and on Religion is in many ways the best introduction to his thought, and provides the most systematic exposition of his philosophy as a whole. In it, he presents clear and comprehensive statements of his two best-known contributions to metaphysics and epistemology, namely, the doctrines of occasionalism and vision in God; he also states his views on such central issues as self-knowledge, the existence of the external world and the problem of theodicy. His skilful handling of (...) the dialogue form enables the reader to see how he responds to objections made to his earlier work The Search after Truth. This edition presents a translation of the text which is clear, readable and more accurate than any of its predecessors, together with an introduction that analyses Malebranche's central teachings and explains the importance of the Dialogues in the context of seventeenth-century philosophy. (shrink)
Nicholas Jolley argues that Locke's three greatest works - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Two Treatises of Government, and Epistola de Tolerantia - are unified by a concern to promote the cause of religious toleration. Toleration and Understanding in Locke shows how Locke draws on the principles of his theory of knowledge to criticize religious persecution. The book also shows how the Two Treatises and Locke's later letters for toleration adopt the same contractualist approach to political theory. Throughout, attention is (...) paid to demonstrating the range of Locke's arguments for toleration and to defending them against recent criticisms. Jolley charts the development of Locke's views about toleration; it also discusses his individualism about knowledge and belief, his critique of religious enthusiasm, his commitment to the minimal creed, and his teachings about natural law. Locke emerges as a rather systematic thinker whose arguments are highly relevant to modern debates about religious toleration. (shrink)