Locke's Essay and The Rhetoric of Science

Peter Walmsley

199 pages
ISBN 1611481822
LC 2002151467
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture

This book shows how, in his enormously influential Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), John Locke embraces the new rhetoric of seventeenth-century natural philosophy, adopting the strategies of his scientific contemporaries to create a highly original natural history of the human mind. With the help of Locke's notebooks, letters, and journals, Peter Walmsley reconstructs Locke's scientific career, including his early work with the chemist Robert Boyle and the physician Thomas Sydenham. He demonstrates too how the Essay embodies in its form and language many of the preoccupations of the science of its day, from the emerging discourses of experimentation and empirical taxonomy to developments in embryology and the history of trades. Widely research and lucidly and engagingly written, Locke's Essay and the Rhetoric of Science constitutes an important new reading of Locke, on that shows both his brilliance as a writer and his originality in turning to science to effect a radical re-invention of the study of the mind.

About the author:

Peter Walmsley is an Associate Professor of English at McMaster University. He is the author of The Rhetoric of Berkeley¿s Philosophy (1990) and of essays on Locke, Berkeley, Pope, and Elizabeth Hamilton. He is currently working on the cadaver in the English Enlightenment from Joseph Addison to Ann Radcliffe.


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