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Locke and Cartesian Philosophy$
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Philippe Hamou and Martine Pécharman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198815037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198815037.001.0001

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Locke and Port-Royal on Affirmation, Negation, and Other Postures of the Mind

Locke and Port-Royal on Affirmation, Negation, and Other Postures of the Mind

Chapter:
(p.172) 10 Locke and Port-Royal on Affirmation, Negation, and Other Postures of the Mind
Source:
Locke and Cartesian Philosophy
Author(s):

Laurent Jaffro

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198815037.003.0011

The chapter claims that in order to understand Locke’s doctrine of assent, his philosophy of mind needs to be seen in conjunction with his philosophy of language, which in turn gains from being compared with Port-Royal’s logic and grammar. It points out two conflicting facts in Locke’s account of affirmation and negation in the Essay. First, Locke entrusts affirmation and negation with the task of signifying both the assertion by which we manifest our assent to a proposition and the junction or separation of the ideas constituting the proposition. The other fact is that Locke accepts a great variety of ways of considering a proposition. This diversity of ‘postures’ is poorly expressed by the limited number of syncategorematic terms, ‘particles’. The first fact fosters a one-act view of the assent we give to propositions. The second opens the way to a multiple-act view.

Keywords:   assent, language, Port-Royal, logic, grammar, affirmation, negation, syncategorematic terms

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