Cambridge changes of color

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (2):142-164 (2000)
Abstract
Locke’s porphyry argument at 2.8.19 of the Essay has not been properly appreciated. On my reconstruction, Locke argues from the premise that porphyry undergoes a mere Cambridge change of color in different lighting conditions to the conclusion that porphyry’s colors do not belong to it as it is in itself. I argue that his argument is not quite sound, but it would be if Locke chose a different stone, alexandrite. Examining his argument teaches us something about the relation between explanatory qualities and real alterations and something about the ways that colors inhere in bodies
Keywords Body  Color  Epistemology  Light  Locke
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