Locke (Vol 2 - Ontology)
Ayers (Michael R.)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Colour-ConventionsDisclaimerBooks / Papers Citing this BookNotes Citing this Book




Metaphysics; Printed with "Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke (Vol 1 - Epistemology)" - see Vol. 1 for Epistemology

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke (Ontology) - Introduction & Conclusion"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Introduction (pp. 1-14) & Conclusion (pp. 293-295)

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Part I: Substance and Mode"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Part I, pp. 14-130

  1. Introduction to Part I – 15
  2. Substance, essence and accidents before Locke – 18
  3. Our complex ideas of substances and the idea of substance in general – 31
  4. Substance and real essence, matter and spirit, and the obscurity and confusion of the idea of substance – 39
  5. Substance, mode and the argument from language – 51
  6. Species and their names in the corpuscularian world – 65
  7. Are there real species? – 78
  8. Locke on the difference between substances and modes – 91
  9. Reflections on the notion of substance – 110

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Part II: God, Nature and the Law of Nature"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Part II, pp. 131-204

  1. Introduction to Part II – 131
  2. Forms of mechanism before Locke – 135
  3. The form of Locke's mechanism – 142
  4. Reflections on rationalism, empiricism and mechanism – 154
  5. The existence of God – 169
  6. The Law of Nature and human freedom – 184
  7. Reflections on Locke's ethics – 196

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Identity: Introduction"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Introduction to Part III, pp. 205-206

  1. Possibility of immortality, but no need for immortality of the soul.
  2. No immediate consciousness of Cartesian substance; unity of consciousness only a phenomenal unity.
  3. First and Second editions of the Essay contradict.
    • In the first edition, “I” can survive transmutation – can persist through change of colour, shape and loss of reason or even life.
    • In the second edition, life constitutes the animal and consciousness constitutes the self. Maybe at death the individual goes out of existence.
  4. Both editions resist Aristotelian forms.

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke on 'Masses of Matter'"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 18, pp. 207-215

  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 semantics. 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 objects1;
    → rejected change of kind.
  4. Kinds approximate to ideas.
  5. Persistence through change is possible, but only within limits for each substance. Persistence conditions2 are kind-dependent
  6. Spatiotemporal continuity is required for the persistence of finite intelligences as well as bodies
  7. Existence itself is the Principium Individuationis3. There is no need for haecceitas ("thisness4").
  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 condition5 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.

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke on Living Things"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 19, pp. 216-228

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Forms of Material Unity"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 20, pp. 229-238

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Artificial and Other Problematical Objects"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 21, pp. 239-253

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Personal Identity Before the Essay"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 22, pp. 254-259

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke's Theory of Personal Identity"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 23, pp. 260-268

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Contemporary Reactions to Locke's Theory"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 24, pp. 269-277

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

"Ayers (Michael R.) - Neo-Lockean and Anti-Lockean Theories of Personal Identity in Analytic Philosophy"

Source: Ayers - Locke (Vol. 2 - Ontology), 1991, Chapter 25, pp. 278-292

Author’s Introduction (Full Text1)
  1. Whether it is a measure of Locke's continuing influence or of what is perennial in philosophy, the main theories of personal identity currently adopted by analytic philosophers cover roughly the same range as those of the early eighteenth century.
    • Among them, the most important distinction by far holds between those who identify the person with the human animal2 and those who see some sort of psychological unity and continuity as grounds for separating person and animal.
    • Of the latter, the few surviving dualists seem doomed to respond unsatisfactorily to the questions which must be answered if their theory is to have any precise content.
    • To place spirits outside space is unintelligible since without space individuality, or the distinction between numerical and qualitative identity, does not make sense.
    • To locate spirits in space on the other hand, raises insoluble questions as to how they fill it, what effects their filling a particular place has on surrounding, not to speak of coextensive, objects (i.e. what objective difference is made by a spirit's being here rather than there), and how such causal relations together with purely psychological mechanisms and processes; might be supposed to fit into a general physics or account of nature.
    • Such questions are ex hypothesi insoluble because even to hold that there are answers to them which make sense, but of which we are ignorant, is to imply that 'spirits' are in a broad sense material, material enough at any rate for the same distinction between the self and the body to arise all over again.
    • It is a fashionable deduction from ontological liberalism that dualism is to be rejected on merely empirical or pragmatic grounds i.e. just because there is now a potentially more explanatory and predictive theory in the field. It is overwhelmingly more attractive to suppose that dualism is to be rejected because it does not in the end make sense.
  2. For whatever reason, present-day theories which distinguish between the person and the human being are not in general metaphysically dualist, but simply argue that the counting of persons proceeds on a different principle from the counting of human beings.
    • The argument employs two main kinds of example:
      … cases of multiple personality, in which people seem to outnumber biological individuals; and
      … cases of personal survival of biological death.
    • As an example of the first kind, we can imagine a race of two-headed giants: each head of each giant (like Locke's day-man and night-man) has its own discrete consciousness, referring to itself as ‘I’ and to its fellow in the second or third person.
    • A trite example of the second kind is the easily imagined brain-ransplant such that, of the two human beings involved, it is the brain-donor, rather than the brain-recipient, who will look forward to a successful operation as a kind of survival.
    • On the other hand, if the recipient has already suffered 'brain-death', then it may be said that that person has ceased to exist, although the human animal3 remains biologically alive.
  3. The neo-Lockean takes the view that such intuitions as these, concerned as they may seem to be with peripheral and unlikely examples, nevertheless reveal the core of 'our concept' of a person. They demonstrate (it is held) that personal identity is a matter of psychological continuity4', whether that is understood primarily in terms of subjective consciousness and memory (making the person what J. L. Mackie calls a 'system of co-conscious items') or in terms of more general causal and intentional links (involving character, desires, intentions, actions and so forth) such as constitute rational agency. On this basis a number of different accounts of the self have been constructed and, by some writers, conflated.
  4. … [… snip …] …

COMMENT: Part III: Identity

In-Page Footnotes ("Ayers (Michael R.) - Neo-Lockean and Anti-Lockean Theories of Personal Identity in Analytic Philosophy")

Footnote 1: Truncated towards the end of p. 279.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - March 2019. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page