Locke’s conception of God’s manner of being present everywhere is unclear. He seemed to agree with the Cambridge Platonist Henry More that spirits were present in space not merely operationally – a position which More labelled “nullibism”,– but substantially; however, it is not clear whether he endorsed More’s view of God as an infinitely extended being, filling space with His amplitude of presence, or rather the alternative, scholastic conception, which may be called ‘holenmerianism’ (a term reminiscent of More’s lexicon) and which affirmed that God was substantially present everywhere as a whole in the whole and a whole in each part. The paper attempts to explore this question in detail by focusing on an episode in Locke’s later correspondence, which suggested that he was not committed to holenmerianism. The episode focused on the dispute which Locke had entered into with Johannes Hudde in 1697 on how to prove God’s uniqueness; the “physical” proof he provided to settle the dispute did not rely on a holenmerian conception of God’s presence in space. Locke’s proof was based on a principle he had established in the Essay, which determined the impenetrability of spirits by other spirits; the paper shows that, although More did not accept this principle, he might have agreed with Locke’s proof. Finally, the paper suggests that further evidence coming from the Essay, taking into account Locke’s reading of Newton’s De gravitatione, seems to indicate that he was not committed to holenmerianism.

John Locke and Holenmerianism

Giuliana Di Biase
2019

Abstract

Locke’s conception of God’s manner of being present everywhere is unclear. He seemed to agree with the Cambridge Platonist Henry More that spirits were present in space not merely operationally – a position which More labelled “nullibism”,– but substantially; however, it is not clear whether he endorsed More’s view of God as an infinitely extended being, filling space with His amplitude of presence, or rather the alternative, scholastic conception, which may be called ‘holenmerianism’ (a term reminiscent of More’s lexicon) and which affirmed that God was substantially present everywhere as a whole in the whole and a whole in each part. The paper attempts to explore this question in detail by focusing on an episode in Locke’s later correspondence, which suggested that he was not committed to holenmerianism. The episode focused on the dispute which Locke had entered into with Johannes Hudde in 1697 on how to prove God’s uniqueness; the “physical” proof he provided to settle the dispute did not rely on a holenmerian conception of God’s presence in space. Locke’s proof was based on a principle he had established in the Essay, which determined the impenetrability of spirits by other spirits; the paper shows that, although More did not accept this principle, he might have agreed with Locke’s proof. Finally, the paper suggests that further evidence coming from the Essay, taking into account Locke’s reading of Newton’s De gravitatione, seems to indicate that he was not committed to holenmerianism.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/703134
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