Locke, God, and Materialism

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Abstract
This paper investigates Locke’s views about materialism. I focus on the discussion in Essay 4.10. There Locke – after giving a cosmological argument for the existence of God – argues that God could not be material, and that matter alone could never produce thought. I have two main aims. The first is to place Locke’s arguments in a debate. This is partly a matter of identifying the targets of Locke’s arguments. More broadly, however, I wish to show the interaction between Locke and four other philosophers: Hobbes, Spinoza, Descartes, and Cudworth. My second main aim is then to propose a detailed reading of Locke’s arguments. As part of this, I argue for a view about the structure of the chapter and its arguments, and for an interpretation of the important argument of Essay 4.10.10 as being about the causation of perfections. Finally, I extend my interpretation into discussions of superaddition. The reading of 4.10 that I propose is not merely consistent with what Locke said elsewhere about superaddition. It also provides reasons to favour one particular understanding of what superaddition is.
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First archival date: 2017-07-05
Latest version: 1 (2019-02-11)
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Locke's Metaphysics.Stuart, Matthew

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