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All About Eve by Locke and Leibnitz

But, he maintained, it has to exist in order that goodness can be maximized" (Matson 387). However, if we compare the theories of these two philosophers, we come to a far different view of Eve, evil, and human knowledge. Locke explains Eve's reality as based on her experience and the vouchsafing of the apple by the serpent. Leibnitz, if his theory holds up, proves that evil did not exist until Eve ate the apple. Evil, then, is temptation. Until Eve made her choice, rejecting the alternative, good was already maximized.

It is in the theory of something "extended" that we also see a difference between Leibnitz and Locke. Leibnitz claims that "anything extended is essentially complex and plural; however tiny it is it can in principle be cut into tinier bits" (Matson 389). The apple, therefore, is not a "simple substance". Neither, of course, is Eve. Eve got to the point of reaching for and biting into the apple because, according to Leibnitz, "to believe that only what is actual is possible is to start on the road toward atheism" (Matson 393). She saw, in the extended apple, something beyond the physical appearance of the apple: She saw satisfying her hunger, or her need, or all of the above. Locke places Eve at the point of biting into the extended red apple because her knowledge is limited: "our rational knowledge cannot reach to the whole extent of our ideas" (Cummins 224). To put it simply (and perhaps a little naively) Eve did not think beyond wanting to eat the apple. There was no "what if" in her choice.

The mental even, according to Locke, began with an idea. "The senses at first let in particular ideas" (Cummins 119). In that sense, the extension in this parable "includes no solidity nor resistance to the motion of body, as body does" (Cummins 147). Therefore the mental event preceding the actual motion of the body is what energizes the body's motion. Thought (or ideas) precede motion. Choice precedes activity....

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All About Eve by Locke and Leibnitz. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:07, November 26, 2015, from
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