Reflections on Locke’s Platonism

  • Victor Nuovo
Part of the International Archives of the History Of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 196)

Although, as my title signifies, what I am about to offer are only reflections and not a comprehensive exposition and argument, I hope to show by these thoughts that the topic, Locke’s Platonism, is neither incoherent nor empty, that in fact Platonic themes are woven into the fabric of Locke’s philosophy, most notably, I think, the basic Neoplatonic theme of procession and return, and that on account of this, it is not only proper to regard Locke as a sort of a Platonist, but pertinent to an understanding his place in the history of philosophy. There are, I think, benefits to be gained from this exercise also, among them, and this is primary, a better understanding of Locke and of his contexts. Beyond these, I suspect there may be some benefit to philosophy, but to show this is not part of my present purpose. Before proceeding, I would make one proviso: I am not suggesting that Locke thought of himself as a Platonist. He probably did not. But no one would deny that it is possible to be a sort of Platonist, and even to have Platonic intentions, without believing it about oneself, and there are moments in his writings, some of which will be noted below, when one can imagine Locke thinking of himself as a friend of Plato.


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© Springer 2008

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  • Victor Nuovo

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