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Lisa Downing [14]Lisa J. Downing [2]Lisa Jeanne Downing [1]
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Lisa Downing
Ohio State University
  1. Siris and the Scope of Berkeley's Instrumentalism.Lisa J. Downing - 1995 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 3 (2):279 – 300.
    I. Introduction Siris, Berkeley's last major work, is undeniably a rather odd book. It could hardly be otherwise, given Berkeley's aims in writing it, which are three-fold: 'to communicate to the public the salutary virtues of tar-water,'1 to provide scientific background supporting the efficacy of tar-water as a medicine, and to lead the mind of the reader, via gradual steps, toward contemplation of God.2 The latter two aims shape Berkeley's extensive use of contemporary natural science in Siris. In particular, Berkeley's (...)
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  2. The Status of Mechanism in Locke’s Essay.Lisa Downing - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):381-414.
    The prominent place 0f corpuscularizm mechanism in L0ckc`s Essay is nowadays universally acknowledged} Certainly, L0ckc’s discussions 0f the primary/secondary quality distinction and 0f real essences cannot be understood without reference to the corpuscularizm science 0f his day, which held that all macroscopic bodily phenomena should bc explained in terms 0f the motions and impacts 0f submicroscopic particles, 0r corpuscles, each of which can bc fully characterized in terms of 21 strictly limited range 0f (primary) properties: size, shape, motion (or mobility), (...)
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  3. Locke's Ontology.Lisa Downing - 2007 - In Lex Newman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press.
    One of the deepest tensions in Locke’s Essay, a work full of profound and productive conflicts, is one between Locke’s metaphysical tendencies—his inclination to presuppose or even to argue for substantive metaphysical positions—and his devout epistemic modesty, which seems to urge agnosticism about major metaphysical issues. Both tendencies are deeply rooted in the Essay. Locke is a theorist of substance, essence, quality. Yet, his favorite conclusions are epistemically pessimistic, even skeptical; when it comes to questions about how the world is (...)
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  4. Locke's Newtonianism and Lockean Newtonianism.Lisa J. Downing - 1997 - Perspectives on Science 5 (3).
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  5. Locke : The Primary and Secondary Quality Distinction.Lisa Downing - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
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  6. Locke’s Metaphysics and Newtonian Metaphysics.Lisa Downing - 2014 - In Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Newton and Empiricism. Oxford University Press. pp. 97-118.
    Locke’s metaphysical commitments are a matter of some controversy. Further controversy attends the issue of whether and how Locke adapts his views in order to accommodate the success of Newton’s Principia. The chapter lays out an interpretation of Locke’s commitments according to which Locke’s response to Newton on gravity does not require the positing of brute powers and is consistent with his core essentialism. The chapter raises the question of how the hypothesis concerning the creation of matter, alluded to at (...)
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  7. Berkeley's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Science.Lisa Downing - 2005 - In Kenneth Winkler (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Berkeley. Cambridge University Press. pp. 230--265.
    Although George Berkeley himself made no major scientific discoveries, nor formulated any novel theories, he was nonetheless actively concerned with the rapidly evolving science of the early eighteenth century. Berkeley's works display his keen interest in natural philosophy and mathematics from his earliest writings (Arithmetica, 1707) to his latest (Siris, 1744). Moreover, much of his philosophy is fundamentally shaped by his engagement with the science of his time. In Berkeley's best-known philosophical works, the Principles and Dialogues, he sets up his (...)
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  8. Mechanism and Essentialism in Locke's Thought.Lisa Downing - 2013 - In Stewart Duncan & Antonia LoLordo (eds.), Debates in Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings and Contemporary Responses. Routledge. pp. 159.
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  9. Berkeley's Case Against Realism About Dynamics.Lisa Downing - 1995 - In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 197--214.
    While De Motu, Berkeley's treatise on the philosophical foundations of mechanics, has frequently been cited for the surprisingly modern ring of certain of its passages, it has not often been taken as seriously as Berkeley hoped it would be. Even A.A. Luce, in his editor's introduction to De Motu, describes it as a modest work, of limited scope. Luce writes: The De Motu is written in good, correct Latin, but in construction and balance the workmanship falls below Berkeley's usual standards. (...)
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  10. Maupertuis on Attraction as an Inherent Property of Matter.Lisa Downing - 2012 - In Janiak Schliesser (ed.), Interpreting Newton.
    Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis’ famous and influential Discours sur les différentes figures des astres, which represented the first public defense of attractionism in the Cartesian stronghold of the Paris Academy, sometimes suggests a metaphysically agnostic defense of gravity as simply a regularity. However, Maupertuis’ considered account in the essay, I argue, is much more subtle. I analyze Maupertuis’ position, showing how it is generated by an extended consideration of the possibility of attraction as an inherent property and fuelled by (...)
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  11. Occasionalism and Strict Mechanism: Malebranche, Berkeley, Fontenelle.Lisa Downing - 2005 - In Christia Mercer (ed.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 206-230.
    The rich connections between metaphysics and natural philosophy in the early modern period have been widely acknowledged and productively mined, thanks in no small part to the work of Margaret Wilson, whose book, Descartes, served as an inspirational example for a generation of scholars. The task of this paper is to investigate one particular such connection, namely, the relation between occasionalist metaphysics and strict mechanism. My focus will be on the work of Nicholas Malebranche, the most influential Cartesian philosopher after (...)
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  12. Sensible Qualities and Material Bodies in Descartes and Boyle.Lisa Downing - 2011 - In Lawrence Nolan (ed.), Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate. Oxford University Press.
    Descartes and Boyle were the most influential proponents of strict mechanist accounts of the physical world, accounts which carried with them a distinction between primary and secondary (or sensible) qualities. For both, the distinction is a piece of natural philosophy. Nevertheless the distinction is quite differently articulated, and, especially, differently grounded in the two thinkers. For Descartes, reasoned reflection reveals to us that bodies must consist in mere extension and its modifications, and that sensible qualities as we conceive of them (...)
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  13. Are Corpuscles Unobservable in Principle for Locke?Lisa Jeanne Downing - 1992 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 30 (1):33-52.
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  14. Malebranche and Berkeley on Efficient Causation.Lisa Downing - 2014 - In Tad Schmaltz (ed.), Efficient Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 198-230.
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  15. Chapter 6. The “Sensible Object” and the “Uncertain Philosophical Cause”.Lisa Downing - 2008 - In Béatrice Longuenesse & Daniel Garber (eds.), Kant and the Early Moderns. Princeton University Press. pp. 100-116.
    Both Immanuel Kant and Paul Guyer have raised important concerns about the limitations of Lockean thought. Following Guyer, I will focus my attention on questions about the proper ambitions and likely achievements of inquiry into the natural/physical world. I will argue that there are at least two important respects, not discussed by Guyer, in which Locke’s account of natural philosophy is much more flexible and accommodating than may be immediately apparent. On my interpretation, however, one crucial source of a too-limited (...)
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  16. Robert Boyle.Lisa Downing - 2002 - In Steven Nadler (ed.), A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 338-353.
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  17. The Uses of Mechanism: Corpuscularianism in Drafts a and B of Locke's Essay.Lisa Downing - 2001 - In William Newman, John Murdoch & Cristoph Lüthy (eds.), Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscularian Matter Theory. E.J. Brill. pp. 515-534.
    That corpuscularianism played a critical role in Locke’s philosophical thought has perhaps now attained the status of a truism. In particular, it is universally acknowledged that the primary/secondary quality distinction and the conception of real essence found in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding cannot be understood apart from the corpuscularian science of Locke’s time.1 When Locke provides lists of the primary qualities of bodies,2 the qualities that “are really in them whether we perceive them or no,” those lists show strong (...)
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