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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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Are Body and Extension the Same Thing?

Are Body and Extension the Same Thing?

Locke versus Descartes (versus More)

Chapter:
(p.63) 4 Are Body and Extension the Same Thing?
Source:
Locke and Cartesian Philosophy
Author(s):

Lisa Downing

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198815037.003.0005

This chapter focuses on Locke’s attempts to prove in the Essay II. xiii. 11–14 that we have distinct ideas of body and of extension. The goal is both to evaluate this anti-Cartesian foray, and to use it to reflect on some intriguing and abstruse elements of Descartes’s ontology of body. The chapter shows that Locke’s engagement with Descartes goes surprisingly deep on this issue. It illustrates how many of Locke’s points on space, extension, and solidity are clarified by seeing them as responding to Descartes’s correspondence with More, in which Descartes specifically says that impenetrability results from extension.

Keywords:   Descartes, Henry More, ontology of body, impenetrability, space, extension, solidity

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