Section 4 considers the relationship between Locke’s thought and Newton’s.
Section 4 considers the relationship between Locke’s thought and Newton’s.All citations of are indicated by ‘E’, followed by the book and section numbers.
He retains as an ideal the notion that scientific knowledge is demonstrative and certain, an ideal he shares with the two main targets of his , the speculative systems of the Aristotelians and the Cartesians.
The second salient feature is the dominant scientific theory of his day, the new science’s corpuscular hypothesis.
Section 2 addresses questions connected to those changing conceptions.
What does Locke take science ( in natural philosophy is beyond the reach of human beings, and what characterizes the conception of human knowledge in natural philosophy that he develops?
He frequently speaks of particles and powers as if they belonged to established knowledge, and yet in explaining the hypothesis’ flaws, he seems to consider them fatal.
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This article will mainly emphasize the second of those related questions, though both have spurred scholarly investigation and debate.Since Locke’s sympathies are clearly with the atomist version, the term ‘corpuscular hypothesis’ shall refer to that version throughout this article, unless indication is given otherwise.Central theses of the are developed in close conjunction with the corpuscular hypothesis—most notably, the distinction between real and nominal essences, which is developed in connection with the distinction between primary and secondary qualities associated with corpuscular theorists, including Locke’s mentor, Robert Boyle.Section 3 addresses the question provoked by Locke’s apparently conflicting treatments of the corpuscular hypothesis.Does he accept or defend the corpuscular hypothesis?As defined for the purposes of this article, the corpuscular hypothesis (i) takes observable bodies to be composed of material particles or corpuscles, (ii) takes impulse (action by surface impact) to be the primary if not the sole means of communicating motion, and (iii) attempts to reduce qualities at the level of observable bodies, such as color, to the primary, that is, inherent properties of the particles composing those observable bodies.In what may be called its orthodox version (“pure mechanism”, as Ayers (1981, p.Such theorists may speak of particles, but their particles are not atoms, being infinitely or at least indefinitely divisible.Atomist theorists, by contrast, accept the void and take the particles or corpuscles comprising compound bodies to be indivisible, or at least probably so.212) calls it) the corpuscular hypothesis restricts those inherent properties to size, shape, number, and motion, and holds that all other qualities and operations are explicable in terms of that restricted set of properties.The orthodox version thus implies a —that bodies causally interact only locally, by impact, such that unmediated action at a distance is denied.