Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Prindergast, Thomas L.

Second Advisor

Star, William

Third Advisor

Harrison, Stanley M.


Though John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a classic of early modem psychology and epistemology, Locke himself valued this work only for the purpose of establishing parameters of divinity studies and ethics, which he considered to be far and away the most important areas of human inquiry. I However, while he gives a clear affirmative answer to the basic question of divinity studies--namely, whether an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient Being exists--he is notoriously vague in his position on what is arguably the greatest question of ethics; specifically, the question of whether human agents are ultimately determined in their actions by factors beyond their control, or whether they possess a genuine ability to overcome external influences and act from pure self-determination (i.e. a ''libertarian freedom") that is not necessitated by external factors. This "libertarian" freedom, and the related concepts of "determinism," "compatibilism," and "incompatibilism," are defined in the third section of the first part of chapter 1...



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