John Locke's Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics: The Problem of Cohesion

John Locke's Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics: The Problem of Cohesion

By: Mashhad Al-Allaf (author), John Sarnecki (preface_author)Hardback

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This study addresses the problem of cohesion in John Locke's philosophy, analyzing his understandings of qualities and substances and explaining his concept of a cohesive power that holds all matter together. This work should appeal to scholars interested in philosophy, metaphysics, science, and Enlightenment thought. Locke's account of the problem of cohesion reflects a serious difficulty in his philosophy because of the way in which he relates it to the problem of substance in his search for something that not only underlies all properties, in the traditional Aristotelian sense, but also holds the constituents of matter together. Contrary to common interpretations, this book argues that Locke did not envision a metaphysical entity underlying all qualities. Rather, he was more inclined to think that there existed something like a cohesive power which functioned as a "bond" holding together not only the qualities of a substance, but its individual corpuscles, and on a deeper level even the parts of the corpuscle.In order to defend this interpretation, the study seeks first to clarify the nature of qualities in Locke's thought; then moves on to address Locke's account of substance in its relation to the concepts of real essence and cohesion; next the problem of cohesion is examined in detail before, finally, an explanation is offered as to why cohesion cannot be described in terms of an act of divine superaddition in Locke's philosophy.

About Author

Dr. Mashhad Al-Allaf is the Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies, as well as Professor in the Department of Philosophy, at the University of Toledo. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.


Preface by John Sarnecki; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Qualities, Powers and Relations; Three Levels of Locke's Agnosticism - Qualities in General - Three Approaches to Qualities - Primary Qualities - Solidity as Problematic - Characteristics of Primary Qualities - The Idea of Power - The Relational Approach to Secondary Qualities - The Reductionist Approach to Secondary Qualities - Texture - Power and Cohesion - Tertiary or the Third kind of Qualities - Conclusion; Power, Substance, and Real Essence; Different Approaches to Locke's Substance in General - Substance in General: Locke's Non-Traditional Treatment - Substance as Support or Substratum of Ideas - The Obscurity of the Idea of Substance - The Real Essence Approach - Real Essence and Nominal Essence - Further Commentary on the Problem of Substance (Mandelbaum - Ayers - Bennett - Bolton - Alexander) - Conclusion; Substance and the Mystery of Cohesion; Introduction - Locke and Stillingfleet: Substance Not Identified with Real Essence - Some Approaches to the Problem of Cohesion - Locke's Response to Prior Approaches - Solidity as the "Substance" of Bodies - Solidity, Hardness, and Cohesion - Cohesion as the "Substance" of Bodies - Appendix: Leibniz on Force - Conclusion; Epilogue: The Mystery of Nature and the Divine; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773454682
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 176
  • ID: 9780773454682
  • ISBN10: 0773454683

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