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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.
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.
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.
This article will mainly emphasize the second of those related questions, though both have spurred scholarly investigation and debate.
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Essay Human Philosophy Science Bach Magnificat Dessay
Locke has been widely hailed for providing an epistemological foundation for the experimental science of his day, articulating the new, probabilistic form of knowledge appropriate to it.
But while he is in important respects a devotee of that new science, there are also significant tensions in his thought.
He stands behind its experimental methods as he targets the earlier, speculative or rationalist philosophies, for methodologies and epistemological expectations unsuited to natural philosophy.
Page numbers referring to the Nidditch edition are also provided.
Locke’s great epistemological contribution to philosophy is a conception of human knowledge suitable for the experimental science of his day, one that in natural philosophy at least will replace the old, Aristotelian conception.