Graduate studies at Western
In Oxford Studies in Metaphysics (2006)
|Abstract||Everyone working on metaphysical questions about properties or propositions knows the reaction that many non-philosophers, even nonmetaphysicians, have to such questions. Even though they agree that Fido is a dog and thus has the property (or feature or characteristic) of being a dog, it seems weird, suspicious, or confused to them to now ask what that thing, the property of being a dog, is. The same reservations do not carry over to asking what this thing, Fido, is. There is a substantial and legitimate project to find out more about Fido, but is there a similar substantial and legitimate project to find out more about the property of being a dog? Metaphysicians know that there is a straightforward way to motivate such a project, and much of the contemporary debate in the metaphysics of properties is in the ballpark of carrying it out. If we agree that Fido has the property of being a dog, then there is something that is a property and that Fido has. Thus we can ask about what this thing is that he has. How does it relate to Fido? Is it concrete or abstract? Is it fully present in each object that has it? And so on and so forth. Maybe the nonphilosophers are merely not used to asking such questions about unusual entities such as properties, but they are equally legitimate for them as they are for any other thing. However, even metaphysicians sometimes have the nagging feeling that something has gone wrong in the metaphysics of properties, and that a substantial metaphysical investigation into their..|
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