I am struggling with the intuition behind understanding an antecedent as that part of speech which is 'referred back to' and coferential with a relative pronoun.
In the case 'Tom is kind, so I like him', I have an intuitive sense that both 'Tom' and 'him' are designating an entity, that this entity is identical, and that 'him' in some sense depends upon 'Tom' for its reference. Hence, 'Tom' is the antecedent for the pronoun 'him'.
However, in 'The person whom I like', I take it that I am to view 'The person' as the antecedent for the relative pronoun 'whom'. However, I lack an intuitive sense that 'whom' is actually designating anything. I think partly my lack of intuition here is down to the fact that I cannot directly substitute 'The person' with 'whom' in a sensible way.
On what grounds do we say that 'whom' is actually referential? Is it because the predication (is liked by me) truthfully applies both to 'The person' and 'whom'? Or is there another way to define antecedents for relative pronouns?