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John W. Yolton

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242741

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242741.001.0001

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The Three Hypotheses

The Three Hypotheses

(p.10) 1 The Three Hypotheses

John W. Yolton

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins the reconstruction of the cross-Channel voyage of the British debate over Locke's suggestion, and of those doctrines of Locke's that were seized upon in France as materialist-inclined, by tracing an extended exchange of articles in another journal, the Swiss Journal helvétique, over the relation between mind and body. All accounts of this relation agree on several features: perceptions of the mind correspond to changes in sense organs of the body, all ideas depend on these sense perceptions, and ideas form the basis for reasoning and thinking. These points of agreement apply whether we say that ‘perceptions are carried to the mind by a physical influence on sense organs; or that God excites them in the soul each moment, on the occasion of changes made in sense organs; or that the soul is equipped from its creation with faculties for representing the universe’. Locke as a proponent of the system of physical influence appears in many issues of that journal.

Keywords:   Locke, Journal helvétique, mind and body, physical influence

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