Robert Boyle and Locke's "Morbus" Entry: a Reply To J.C. Walmsley

Robert Boyle and Locke's "Morbus" Entry: a Reply To J.C. Walmsley ROBERT BOYLE AND LOCKE'S "MORBUS" ENTRY: A REPLY TO J.C. WALMSLEY PETER R. ANSTEY University of Sydney 1. Introduction In one of Locke's commonplace books, British Library Add. MS 32554, there is a long and very interesting entry in Locke's hand under the title "Morbus." This entry has been discussed at length in a recent article in this journal by J. C. Walmsley, who dates it between September 1666 and April 1667. Walmsley claims that the content of the entry is "vociferous in its criticism of corpuscu- lar theory" and asserts, in the absence of any evidence to the con- trary, that the author of the entry was John Locke.' The implications of these claims are striking and Walmsley is quick to draw them. First, he claims that in the mid-1660s when he claims that this entry was made, Locke was critical of Boyle's corpuscularianism and adopted instead a non-mechanical neo-Helmontian explanation of disease. This runs against the recent trend in Lockean inter- pretation which has emphasised the scope and importance of Locke's appropriation of Boyle's corpuscular philosophy. As Walms- ley claims, "[a]s far as theoretical commitments were concerned, it is evident that this association [with Boyle] did http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early Science and Medicine Brill

Robert Boyle and Locke's "Morbus" Entry: a Reply To J.C. Walmsley

Early Science and Medicine, Volume 7 (4): 358 – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2002 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1383-7427
eISSN
1573-3823
DOI
10.1163/157338202X00234
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ROBERT BOYLE AND LOCKE'S "MORBUS" ENTRY: A REPLY TO J.C. WALMSLEY PETER R. ANSTEY University of Sydney 1. Introduction In one of Locke's commonplace books, British Library Add. MS 32554, there is a long and very interesting entry in Locke's hand under the title "Morbus." This entry has been discussed at length in a recent article in this journal by J. C. Walmsley, who dates it between September 1666 and April 1667. Walmsley claims that the content of the entry is "vociferous in its criticism of corpuscu- lar theory" and asserts, in the absence of any evidence to the con- trary, that the author of the entry was John Locke.' The implications of these claims are striking and Walmsley is quick to draw them. First, he claims that in the mid-1660s when he claims that this entry was made, Locke was critical of Boyle's corpuscularianism and adopted instead a non-mechanical neo-Helmontian explanation of disease. This runs against the recent trend in Lockean inter- pretation which has emphasised the scope and importance of Locke's appropriation of Boyle's corpuscular philosophy. As Walms- ley claims, "[a]s far as theoretical commitments were concerned, it is evident that this association [with Boyle] did

Journal

Early Science and MedicineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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