Edinburgh speaker series seminar

Speaker: Jennifer Smalligan Marušić (University of Edinburgh)

Title: Locke on Knowledge of Mathematics

Abstract: In recent years, Locke commentators have argued that Locke’s analysis of knowledge is much more rationalist than one might expect. It has been argued that Locke holds that knowledge is only of necessary truths, only of analytic truths, that all knowledge is a priori, and that knowledge is only of truths that are in some sense ideal. I attempt to resist these readings and reclaim Locke as an empiricist, though by focusing on one place where he might seem most drawn to rationalism, namely his account of mathematical demonstration. I argue that the key to making sense of Locke’s account of mathematical demonstration is the recognition that Locke denies that necessary truths are only knowable a priori. Somewhat more speculatively, I question whether Locke accepts an a priori/a posteriori distinction at all.

Further information

The Edinburgh Speaker Series features talks on all areas of philosophy. For information, or to join the email list for these events, please contact Mahrad Almotahari. All are welcome, including all students (MA, MSc, PhD) and faculty in philosophy.


Mahrad Almotahari

Dec 02 2020 -

Edinburgh speaker series seminar

2020-12-02: Locke on Knowledge of Mathematics

Online via link invitation