Esser, Frederick: John Locke‘s Investigation into our Knowledge of Bodies



This doctorial thesis is the culmination of my academic education. Not surprisingly therefore, most philosophers who have influenced my philosophical “upbringing“ stand in a close relationship to this thesis and their support was indispensable. First I want to thank Professor Rolf-Peter Horstmann of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, my supervisor. In his seminars I learned in particular hermeneutic principles that are prerequisite for any interpretation doing justice to an author. Moreover, Professor Horstmann gave me what I always enjoyed most, namely both a maximum of freedom and full support whenever being asked for.

I am likewise very grateful to Professor Wolfgang Carl of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, my second supervisor, who was significantly more engaged than I could have expected. Perhaps more importantly, I received my philosophical know-how in his seminars during the studies for my master thesis. Similarly, I want to thank Professor Konrad Cramer who first gave me both an access to and grasp of philosophical questions and the late Professor Lorenz Krüger who sharpened my understanding for philosophical problems in discussions and lectures.

Professor Michael R. Ayers of Oxford University had a very specific and decisive impact on the thesis. In long debates during my one year stay his criticism led not only to the abandonment of some of my views on Locke, but more importantly paved the way for a clarification of the underlying intuition of interpreting Locke. The basis of these fruitful discussions has been an ideal mixture of sharing a common outlook on Locke and of disagreeing on more particular issues.

Moreover, I am very grateful for the financial support without which the thesis would have been impossible. This is especially true for the generous grants of the Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst for my research at Oxford and of the Land Berlin for the last two years. Thanks to my parents who covered part of the tuition fees at the University of Oxford.


I am likewise very grateful to Sibylle Esser, Edward Vines, and Sean McGrath for their proof readings and indispensable corrections. I also want to take the opportunity to thank for the various help and stimulating debates which I received from friends over the years, especially from Carl Hepfer, Olaf Müller, Thomas Sturm, and Ralph Schumacher, to mention just a few. Finally, a big hug and kiss for Elisabeth Patak who had to listen once too often to monologues that clarified my thoughts.
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