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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Locke on Powers: The Geometrical Model

Locke on Powers: The Geometrical Model

Chapter:
(p.170) 20 Locke on Powers: The Geometrical Model
Source:
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy
Author(s):

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.003.0021

Locke's ontology of relations and powers points to an alternative to the occasionalists' cognitive model of causality. So far, though, this is all it has done; it remains to be seen just how Locke proposes to account for the tie between cause and effect. Conceptual foundationalism offers the outlines of a story here: while there is no genuine, mind‐independent relation of cause and effect, there is still an objective ground on the basis of which a suitably disposed mind will (and should) think of this relation. What explains this ground is the geometrical model of causation. This chapter shows how the geometrical model fits with Locke's corpuscularianism and his claim that some geometrical propositions are synthetic and a priori. It also recasts Locke's distinction between primary and secondary qualities in such a way as to reconcile a number of seemingly conflicting texts.

Keywords:   corpuscularianism, geometrical model, primary qualities, secondary qualities

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