Locke on 'Masses of Matter'
Ayers (Michael R.)
Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 18, pp. 207-215
Paper - Abstract

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  1. Aristotle’s view of death as loss of substantial form
  2. Boyle - Corpuscularian rejection of substantial form and claim that only God can create or destroy substances; appearances to the contrary are due to our semantics1. Individuals survive death as long as there is a stable corporeal structure.
  3. Locke (and hereafter …)
    → rejected scattered objects;
    → allowed co-location of objects of different kinds (eg. the matter composing a horse);
    → rejected intermittent objects2;
    → rejected change of kind.
  4. Kinds approximate to ideas.
  5. Persistence through change is possible, but only within limits for each substance. Persistence conditions3 are kind-dependent
  6. Spatiotemporal continuity is required for the persistence of finite intelligences as well as bodies
  7. Existence itself is the Principium Individuationis4. There is no need for haecceitas ("thisness5").
  8. The problem of persistence only arises with the change over time of compound substances.
  9. Masses of matter can’t survive change of constituent, but can survive change of shape.
  10. The persistence condition6 for a biological entity is “one common life”.
  11. Mass and quantity are distinct, because for Locke a mass of matter is physically united, whereas a quantity is just a mereological sum that persists when scattered.
… to be continued.

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