Philosophy Colloquium: Patrick Connolly

You are cordially invited to the Department of Philosophy’s Colloquium. (Here is a flyer for the event.)

Department of Philosophy Colloquium

Patrick Connolly (Iowa State University), ‘Locke’s Epistemology and the Metaphysics of Relations’
Monday February 6th 2017, 4:30pm6:00pm in FA1202.

Abstract: Commentators have long claimed that Locke’s treatment of relations is deeply problematic. But there is agreement on one point; all commentators agree that Locke is interested in the metaphysics of relations. I believe this is a mistake. This paper draws on central tenets of Locke’s epistemology to argue against these metaphysical interpretations of Locke on relations. Simply put, I argue that Locke’s epistemology precludes him from taking a stand on the ontological status of relations. Locke is better read as offering an account of the psychological processes underlying relational thinking. I will briefly defend this psychological interpretation on textual grounds. And I will also discuss the usefulness of this psychological approach to relations for Locke’s larger goals in the Essay with special attention to his moral epistemology.