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Absolute TimeRifts in Early Modern British Metaphysics$
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Emily Thomas

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807933.001.0001

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Locke as a Steadfast Relationist about Time and Space

Locke as a Steadfast Relationist about Time and Space

Chapter:
(p.125) 7 Locke as a Steadfast Relationist about Time and Space
Source:
Absolute Time
Author(s):

Emily Thomas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198807933.003.0008

In the literature on John Locke’s metaphysics of space and time, there is a near-consensus that his views undergo a radical evolution. In the 1670s, Locke holds relationism, but, by the first, 1690 edition of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke has adopted Newtonian absolutism. This chapter argues for an alternative reading, on which Locke’s Essay is explicitly neutral or non-committal with regard to the ontology of space and time, and yet there is reason to believe that the Essay implicitly preserves Locke’s earlier relationism. As well as challenging the existing scholarship, this chapter excavates another form of pre-Leibnizian relationism, and which may be of interest to twenty-first-century relationists; and provides ammunition to anti-Newtonian readings of Locke more generally.

Keywords:   Locke, space, time, relationism, absolutism, Newtonianism

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