Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Locke maintains that general terms for substances (like 'gold' or 'tiger') signify nominal essences, whose boundaries are not natural but dependent on human systems of classification. Nevertheless, he also postulates real essences, with boundaries objectively established by nature itself. That creates a problem of interpretation: How should Locke explain the meaning of expressions such as 'real essence of gold'? I propose a Russellian analysis consisting in providing contextual definitions of expressions of that type without ascribing them any denotation. That drives us to some remarkable similarities between Locke's ontology, epistemology and semantics and those of Russell.|
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