John Locke pp 36-41 | Cite as


  • J. D. Mabbott
Part of the Philosophers in Perspective book series


Besides the idea of substance, the other idea which notoriously gives trouble to empiricists is that of cause. Locke discusses this under the heading of ‘power’. But the use of ‘power’ is wider than that of ‘cause’. Fire has a power to melt gold and gold has a power to be melted. ‘Power’ here is equivalent simply to potentiality or, as Locke calls it, ‘faculty’.1 What we call ‘causality’ is for Locke ‘active power’. One of the longest chapters in the Essay (II xxi) is allocated to the idea of power but almost the whole of it concerns free will which is discussed below (chapter 6, p. 65).


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© J. D. Mabbott 1973

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