John Locke's Contemporaries' Reaction against the Theory of Substratum in Metaphysics or Modernity? Simon Baumgartner, Thimo Heisenberg and Sebastian Krebs (eds.)

In Thimo Heisenberg and Sebastian Krebs Simon Baumgartner (ed.), Anthology. Bamberg University Press.. pp. 9-28 (2013)
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The goal of this paper is to critically examine the objections of John Locke’s contemporaries against the theory of substance or substratum. Locke argues in Essay that substratum is the bearer of the properties of a particular substance. Locke also claims that we have no knowledge of substratum. But Locke’s claim about our ignorance as to what substratum is, is contentious. That is, if we don’t know what substratum is, then what is the point of proposing it as a bearer of properties? This question underlies the criticism Locke’s contemporaries raise against the notion of substratum. In section I, I lay out the context for Locke’s theory of substratum by pointing out his main motivation in proposing his theory. In section II, I give a brief analysis of the theory of substratum. In section III, I discuss the objections of Locke’s contemporaries against the theory of substratum.1 I focus on Edward Stillingfleet, Lee Henry, G. W. Leibniz and John Sergeant. In section IV, I conclude that there is no warrant to dismiss Locke’s theory of substance.

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Mihretu P. Guta
Biola University


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