‘Archetypes without Patterns’: Locke on Relations and Mixed Modes

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 99 (3):300-325 (2017)
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John Locke’s claims about relations (such as cause and effect) and mixed modes (such as beauty and murder) have been controversial since the publication of the Essay. His earliest critics read him as a thoroughgoing anti-realist who denies that such things exist. More charitable readers have sought to read Locke’s claims away. Against both, I argue that Locke is making ontological claims, but that his views do not have the absurd consequences his defenders fear. By examining Locke’s texts, as well as the intellectual context in which they were written, I show that Locke’s position is at once radical and thoroughly traditional.

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Walter Ott
University of Virginia


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