Locke on Substratum: A Deflationary Interpretation

Locke Studies 10:61-84 (2010)
Abstract
I defend an interpretation of Locke’s remarks on substratum according to which substrata not only have sensible qualities but are just familiar things and stuffs: horses, stones, gold, wax, and snow. The supporting relation that holds between substrata and the qualities that they support is simply the familiar relation of having, or instantiating, which holds between a particular substance and its qualities. I address the obvious objection to the interpretation -- namely, that it cannot be reconciled with Locke’s claim that the idea substratum is an obscure, confused idea of we know not what -- and I identify numerous textual parallels between Locke's discussions of substrata and particular substances which strongly support the deflationary interpretation.
Keywords Locke  substratum
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PhilPapers Archive Daniel Z. Korman, Locke on Substratum: A Deflationary Interpretation
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