Locke on Substance

In Jessica Gordon-Roth & Shelley Weinberg (eds.), The Lockean Mind. New York and London: Routledge. pp. 226-236 (2021)
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In the Essay, Locke refers to the ordinary-sized natural things as ‘particular sorts of Substances’ (2.23), whereas the ‘three sorts of Substances’ (2.27) are more metaphysically laden sorts: God, finite spirits, and fundamental material particles. He posits the much-contested ‘substratum’ in each particular sort of substance but not any of the three sorts. It should also be noted that his list of the particular sorts includes ‘men’. In regard to this nobler sort, he refers to a further classification – viz., ‘the Substance of spirit’ and ‘the Substance of the body’ – only in terms of their nominal essence. A naturalistic, nominalist approach is deeply entrenched in his account of the human-related sorts as well. In this chapter, I shall explore how Locke develops a theory of substance in the Essay that is less metaphysical, more naturalistic, and epistemically humbler than those of his rationalist contemporaries.



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Han-Kyul Kim
Temple University

Citations of this work

The Contours of Locke’s General Substance Dualism.Graham Clay - 2022 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 4 (1):1-20.

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References found in this work

Substance substantiated.C. B. Martin - 1980 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 58 (1):3 – 10.
Locke: Ontology.Michael Ayers - 1991 - New York: Routledge.
Locke's Metaphysics.Matthew Stuart - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Locke: his philosophical thought.Nicholas Jolley - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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