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BOOK REVIEWS 559 sceptical, and guarded attitude toward "essences" in philosophical inquiry. Second, his method is "empirical" in the classic sense of observational (though not "empiric" in the seventeenth-century sense of "quackery") and rejects the "romance way" of rationalistic speculation in order to focus attention on direct experience as in medical diagnosis. And third, it is "pragmatic" in that, just as medicine is a practical art seeking cures restoring health, so philosophy inquires into the causes, limits, and effects of knowing in order to seek what limited well-being is accessible to natural man via artifice limited in its range. As Lady Masham had said, no field went unexplored if Locke thought it might yield "useful knowledge"; it. is his emphasis on use which explai.ns ~his third aspect (see especially the long passage from his a668 "Anatomia," 1i if.). In an intriguing 6non-word footnote (192-~o3), Romanell digs in to his sources for Locke's meaning of "historical, plain method." Briefly summarized, he finds it rooted in the sceptic-empiricist Hellenistic school of medicine which included Celsus, Sextus Empiricus, and Theodas of Laodicea inter aba. This school's method of medical inquiry consisted of what Glaucas the Empiric called the "tripod" of "observation, history, and analogy." This same tripod is used when Locke discusses probable judgments in Essay IV_t6. Closer to Locke's own time, Romanell offers a case that Pierre Gassendi's "the innermost natures or properties of things," known only to God, and the "phenomenal or historical" kind of knowing which is within our reach, is a likely source for Locke. But whether or not Locke got ~his usage from Gassendi, "there is no doubt that the [historical] method itself takes its particular name and cue from natural history, whose modern revival came in the sixteenth century" (197). In the fraternal manner of some other primates, a bit of nit-picking might not be taken amiss: citations of Aristotle would be more helpful with Bekker format, and those from locke's Essay with book, chapter and section instead of just the Fraser edition pagination. Page t69, line ~4 should read, a poster/0r/. Professor Romanell is to be thanked for his "new key to Locke"; he presents previously unknown archival material from Locke's own hand in order that we might see just how deeply and seriously Locke considered his medical studies and (albeit sparse) practice. As Descartes had dreamed he could generalize from his dream of analytic geometry to a true method for all sciences, so Locke is here shown to have generalized from the steritities and successes of contemporary medicine to a larger "natural history" of the diseased and healthy judgments of the knowing mind. CRAIG WALTON University of Nevada, Las Vegas Bracken, Harry M. Mind and Language. Essayson Descartesand Chomsky. Publications in Language Sciences, 14. Holland/USA: Forts Publications, 1984. Pp. xiv + 154. Paper, N.P. Bracken's work is an important collection of previously published articles on various themes in the history of ideas. The themes, inspired by Descartes and Chomsky, include privacy, freedom, dualism, rationalism, empiricism, and doctrines of human nature. His primary contention is that the central issue in empiricist/rationalist polemics is 560 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 24:4 OCTOBER 1986 political. Although he finds some legitimate metaphysical or methodological questions in such debates, the issues that animate the discussions are considered to be ideological, to involve "the utility of one or the other model to facilitate control of the mind" (35)Cartesian rationalism is the thesis that innate ideas are required to explain how we acquire knowledge. Bracken contends that empiricism fails to account for our knowledge of the world, fails to explain concept acquisition and facilitates racism and ideologies of oppression. According to Bracken Cartesian rationalism provides a modest conceptual barrier to the formulation of politically oppressive doctrines, asserts the dignity and freedom of the individual, and explains linguistic capabilities. Bracken argues that empiricists find the doctrine of innateness offensive because it stands as a barrier to absolute control of human minds. If the mind is malleable, as empiricists contend, then it is not difficult to charge a group of elite experts with handling...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 559-561
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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