This Rotman Lecture concerns John Locke’s practical and theoretical interest in measurement. Locke’s fascination with the measurement of weight, distance, time and monetary value is evident throughout his notebooks, journal and correspondence. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that it features in his philosophical reflections as early as Drafts A and B of the Essay concerning Human Understanding (1671) and informs his economic writings. This lecture examines his long-term interest in measurement systems, techniques and instruments as well as the role of measurement in his ideal natural philosophy.

Peter Anstey, University of Sydney