This paper argues for a new understanding of Locke’s view on secondary qualities. While they are commonly discussed with regard to their mind-dependence and contrasted with primary qualities, I will consider Locke’s teleological arguments for their indispensability. Secondary qualities, I submit, should be seen in the teleological framework according to which they are designed with regard to our needs and purposes. Having to account for cross-purposes and relativity to different kinds of beings, secondary qualities will be shown to provide the crucial ingredients of our life-world that make for a suitable and shared environment.

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