The two touchy subjects treated in this slim volume are the immateriality of thinking substances and existence after the resurrection. Locke's freethinking friend Anthony Collins informed him in 1704 that he was going to publish a book by Samuel Bold on those topics. Locke replies by observing that the topics are “very touchy at this time” and suggesting that Collins hold off on publishing so that Bold wouldn't be “cripled by those who will be sure to be offended” (1). Nicholas Jolley structures his interesting and agreeable book around these two problems. The result is an honorable attempt to vindicate his claim that historians of philosophy will benefit by considering the theological background to the philosophical works they study.

Most of Jolley's attention—five chapters—is devoted to the problem of materialism. He advances one and a half theses on this score. His full-throated thesis is...

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