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The bundle theory construes objects as collections of properties (tropes or universals) tied together by a bundling relation, often called "compresence". It opposes to the substratum theory, the view that objects are substrates instantiating properties or having modes. One can distinguish between two interesting debates.

First, it can be disputed which of the two views should be preferred. A classical objection against the bundle theory is the objection from change advocated by Van Cleve. He argues that a bundle cannot change its members without becoming another bundle, and thus, another individual. Another interesting problem has to do with the bundling relation: what is it? Is it a primitive sui generis relation, or can it be identified with another relation, already present in one's ontology? 
Key works Van Cleve put forward his objection in Van Cleve 1985. Possible answers to the first question include a perdurantist strategy: see Benovsky 2008. But, one can also argue that the bundle theory and the substrate theory are metaphysically equivalent, see Benovsky 2008. Regarding the second problem, O’Leary-Hawthorne and Cover (O'Leary-Hawthorne & Cover 1998) substitute to the bundling relation an ontology of state of affairs, in an armstrongian vein, the connection of properties being then assured not by the existence of a bundling relation but by the unity of the state of affairs. Alternatively, L.A. Paul (2002, 2006, forthcoming) argues that the bundling relation should be identified to a restrictivist relation of composition. 
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  1. The Substantive Center Theory Versus the Bundle Theory.Susan Leigh Anderson - 1978 - The Monist 61 (1):96-108.
  2. Mental Particulars, Mental Events, and the Bundle Theory.Richard E. Aquila - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (March):109-120.
    I argue, First, That the bundle theory is compatible with certain views of mental states as alterations in an underlying substance. Then I distinguish between momentary and enduring experiencers and argue that the bundle theory does not imply the possibility of experiences apart from experiencers, But at most apart from enduring experiencers. Finally, I reject strawson's claim that the bundle theory implies that some particular person's experience might instead have belonged to some other person. Regarding experiences as events rather than (...)
  3. Four Disputes About Properties.David M. Armstrong - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):309-320.
    In considering the nature of properties four controversial decisions must be made. (1) Are properties universals or tropes? (2) Are properties attributes of particulars, or are particulars just bundles of properties? (3) Are properties categorical (qualitative) in nature, or are they powers? (4) If a property attaches to a particular, is this predication contingent, or is it necessary? These choices seem to be in a great degree independent of each other. The author indicates his own choices.
  4. Universals and Scientific Realism: A Theory of Universals Vol. II.David M. Armstrong - 1978 - Cambridge University Press.
  5. Universals and Scientific Realism: Nominalism and Realism Vol. I.David M. Armstrong - 1978 - Cambridge University Press.
  6. Hume on Heaps and Bundles.Annette Baier - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):285 - 295.
  7. No Bare Particulars.Andrew M. Bailey - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):31-41.
    There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a fine place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this paper, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they do not, (...)
  8. Material Objects and Essential Bundle Theory.Stephen Barker & Mark Jago - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):2969-2986.
    In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This move reaps many benefits. Essential bundle theory delivers (...)
  9. The Repeatability Argument and the Non-Extensional Bundle Theory.Matteo Benocci - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):432-446.
    ABSTRACTI present a new objection to Bundle Theory. The objection rests on the repeatability of universals, and targets every version of Bundle Theory that assumes that concrete particulars constituted by the same universals are numerically identical. The only way that bundle theorists can elude this objection is to admit the possibility of distinct bundles constituted by the same universals. If even this view is untenable, then Bundle Theory as such is hopeless. Finally, I show how the present inquiry reshapes the (...)
  10. I Am a Lot of Things: A Pluralistic Account of the Self.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1).
    When I say that I am a lot of things, I mean it literally and metaphysically speaking. The Self, or so I shall argue, is a plurality (notwithstanding the fact that ordinary language takes "the Self" to be a singular term – but, after all, language is only language). It is not a substance or a substratum, and it is not a collection or a bundle. The view I wish to advocate for is a kind of reductionism, in line with (...)
  11. I Am a Lot of Things: A Pluralistic Account of the Self.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - Metaphysica, An International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 15 (1):113-127.
    When I say that I am a lot of things, I mean it literally and metaphysically speaking. The Self, or so I shall argue, is a plurality (notwithstanding the fact that ordinary language takes "the Self" to be a singular term – but, after all, language is only language). It is not a substance or a substratum, and it is not a collection or a bundle. The view I wish to advocate for is a kind of reductionism, in line with (...)
  12. The Relationist and Substantivalist Theories of Time: Foes or Friends?Jiri Benovsky - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):491-506.
    Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’. As (...)
  13. Relational and Substantival Ontologies, and the Nature and the Role of Primitives in Ontological Theories.Jiri Benovsky - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):101-121.
    Several metaphysical debates have typically been modeled as oppositions between a relationist approach and a substantivalist approach. Such debates include the Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory about ordinary material objects, the Bundle (Humean) Theory and the Substance (Cartesian) Theory of the Self, and Relationism and Substantivalism about time. In all three debates, the substantivalist side typically insists that in order to provide a good treatment of the subject-matter of the theory (time, Self, material objects), it is necessary to postulate (...)
  14. The Self : A Humean Bundle and/or a Cartesian Substance ?Jiri Benovsky - 2009 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5 (1):7 - 19.
    Is the self a substance, as Descartes thought, or is it 'only' a bundle of perceptions, as Hume thought ? In this paper I will examine these two views, especially with respect to two central features that have played a central role in the discussion, both of which can be quickly and usefully explained if one puts them as an objection to the bundle view. First, friends of the substance view have insisted that only if one conceives of the self (...)
  15. The Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory: Deadly Enemies or Twin Brothers?Jiri Benovsky - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):175-190.
    In this paper, I explore several versions of the bundle theory and the substratum theory and compare them, with the surprising result that it seems to be true that they are equivalent (in a sense of 'equivalent' to be specified). In order to see whether this is correct or not, I go through several steps : first, I examine different versions of the bundle theory with tropes and compare them to the substratum theory with tropes by going through various standard (...)
  16. A Modal Bundle Theory.Jiri Benovsky - 2006 - Metaphysica 7 (2).
    If ordinary particulars are bundles of properties, and if properties are said to be universals, then three well-known objections arise : no particular can change, all particulars have all of their properties essentially (even the most insignificant ones), and there cannot be two numerically distinct but qualitatively indiscernible particulars. In this paper, I try to make a little headway on these issues and see how the objections can be met, if one accepts a certain view about persistence through time and (...)
  17. The Identity of Indiscernibles.Max Black - 1952 - Mind 61 (242):153-164.
  18. Berkeley, Bundles, and Immediate Perception.Richard Brook - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (3):493-504.
    I argue in this article that, contrary to some recent views, Berkeley’s bundle theory of physical objects is incompatible with the thinking that we immediately perceive such objects. Those who argue the contrary view rightly stress that immediate perception of ideas or objects must be non-conceptual for Berkeley, that is, the concept of the object cannot be made use of in the perception, otherwise it would be mediate perception. After a brief look at the texts, I contrast how a direct (...)
  19. Back to Black.Claudio Calosi & Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Ratio 29 (1):1-10.
    This is a brief sequel to Max Black 's classic dialogue on the Identity of Indiscernibles. Interlocutor A defends the bundle theory by endorsing the view according to which Black 's world does not contain two indiscernible spheres but rather a single, bi-located sphere. His opponent, B, objects that A cannot distinguish such a world from a world with a single, uniquely located sphere, hence that the view in question adds nothing to A's original response to Black 's challenge. A (...)
  20. Fusions and Ordinary Physical Objects.Ben Caplan & Bob Bright - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):61-83.
    In “Tropes and Ordinary Physical Objects”, Kris McDaniel argues that ordinary physical objects are fusions of monadic and polyadic tropes. McDaniel calls his view “TOPO”—for “Theory of Ordinary Physical Objects”. He argues that we should accept TOPO because of the philosophical work that it allows us to do. Among other things, TOPO is supposed to allow endurantists to reply to Mark Heller’s argument for perdurantism. But, we argue in this paper, TOPO does not help endurantists do that; indeed, we argue (...)
  21. Deep Platonism.Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):307-328.
    According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...)
  22. A Fourth Version of the Bundle Theory.Albert Casullo - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 54 (1):125 - 139.
  23. The Bundle Theory of Substance.Ralph W. Clark - 1976 - New Scholasticism 50 (4):490-503.
    In this article i defend the claim that an individual is no more and no less than a bundle of instances of properties against the following objections: (1) the concept of an instance of a property presupposes the concept of an individual. i argue that it presupposes only that no instance of a property exists independently of other instances. (2) if a thing were only a bundle of instances of properties, then properties would qualify properties. this objection commits the fallacy (...)
  24. Upward Collapses and Downward Explosions: The Emergence of the Problem of Individuation in Plato and Aristotle and the Solutions Proposed by Porphyry and Boethius.Andrew David Costa - 2002 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany
    This is a development of Jorge Gracia's Introduction to the Problem of Individuation in the Early Middle Ages. Here I resolve some of the ambiguities that he points out in respect to Porphyry's and Boethius' initial treatments of individuation by examining them in the context of the related problem of universals and both the Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of the individual that they were working with. ;Although Porphyry endorses a bundle theory of individuation, his account is ambiguous as to exactly (...)
  25. A Modal Ontology of Properties for Quantum Mechanics.Newton Costa, Olimpia Lombardi & Mariano Lastiri - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3671-3693.
    Our purpose in this paper is to delineate an ontology for quantum mechanics that results adequate to the formalism of the theory. We will restrict our aim to the search of an ontology that expresses the conceptual content of the recently proposed modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, according to which the domain referred to by non-relativistic quantum mechanics is an ontology of properties. The usual strategy in the literature has been to focus on only one of the interpretive problems of the theory and (...)
  26. The Rumble in the Bundle.Benjamin L. Curtis - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):298-313.
    In 1952, two well-known characters called ‘A’ and ‘B’ met for the first time to argue about the Identity of Indiscernibles (Black, 1952). A argued that the principle is true, and B that it is false. By all accounts A took a bit of a beating and came out worst-off. Forty-three years later John O’Leary-Hawthorne offered a response on behalf of A that looked as if it would work so long as A was willing to accept the universal-bundle theory of (...)
  27. A Modal Ontology of Properties for Quantum Mechanics.Newton da Costa, Olimpia Lombardi & Mariano Lastiri - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3671-3693.
    Our purpose in this paper is to delineate an ontology for quantum mechanics that results adequate to the formalism of the theory. We will restrict our aim to the search of an ontology that expresses the conceptual content of the recently proposed modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, according to which the domain referred to by non-relativistic quantum mechanics is an ontology of properties. The usual strategy in the literature has been to focus on only one of the interpretive problems of the theory and (...)
  28. Individuals: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):35-67.
    We naturally think of the material world as being populated by a large number of individuals . These are things, such as my laptop and the particles that compose it, that we describe as being propertied and related in various ways when we describe the material world around us. In this paper I argue that, fundamentally speaking at least, there are no such things as material individuals. I then propose and defend an individual-less view of the material world I call (...)
  29. Indiscernibility and Bundles in a Structure.Sun Demirli - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):1-18.
    The bundle theory is a theory about the internal constitution of individuals. It asserts that individuals are entirely composed of universals. Typically, bundle theorists augment their theory with a constitutional approach to individuation entailing the thesis ‘identity of constituents is a sufficient ground for numerical identity’ (CIT). But then the bundle theory runs afoul of Black’s duplication case—a world containing two indiscernible spheres. Here I propose and defend a new version of the bundle theory that denies ‘CIT’, and which instead (...)
  30. Bundles, Indiscernibility and Triplication Problem.Sun Demirli - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 17:33-40.
    The bundle theory, supposed as a theory concerning the internal constitution of individuals, is often conjoined with a constitutional approach to individuation entailing the thesis ‘no two individuals can share all their constituents’ (CIT). But then it runs afoul of Black’s duplication case. Here a new bundle theory, takingdistance relations between bundles to be a sufficient ground for their diversity, will be proposed. This version accommodates Black’s world. Nonetheless, there is a possible objection. Consider the ‘triplication case’—a world containing three (...)
  31. On the Compresence of Tropes.Arda Denkel - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):599-606.
    Once we assume that objects are bundles of tropes, we want to know how the latter cohere. Are they held together by a substratum, are they linked by external relations or do they cling to one another by internal relations? This paper begins by exploring the reasons for eliminating the first two suggestions. Defending that the third option can be made plausible, it advances the following thesis: Maintaining that tropes are held in a compresence by appropriately qualified internal relations avoids (...)
  32. Object and Property.Arda Denkel - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    Professor Arda Denkel argues here that objects are nothing more than bundles of properties. From this point of view he tackles some central questions of ontology: how is an object distinct from others; how does it remain the same while it changes through time? A second contention is that properties are particular entities restricted to the objects they inhabit. The appearance that they exist generally, in a multitude of things, is due to the way we conceptualize them. Other problems dealt (...)
  33. Words, Pictures and Ontology: A Commentary on John Heil's From an Ontological Point of View.Heather Dyke - 2007 - SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review 6:31-41.
    The title of John Heil’s book From an Ontological Point of View is, of course, an adaptation of the title of Quine’s influential collection of essays From a Logical Point of View, published fifty years earlier in 1953. Quine’s book marked the beginning of a sea change in philosophy, away from ordinary language, armchair philosophising involving introspective examination of concepts, towards a more rigorous, analytical and scientific approach to answering philosophical questions. Heil’s book will, I think, mark the beginning of (...)
  34. Temporal Parts and Bundle Theory.Douglas Ehring - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 104 (2):163 - 168.
    In this paper, I try to make a bundle theory of objects consistentwith a temporal parts theory of object persistence. To that end,I propose that such bundles are made up of tropes includingthe co-instantiation relation.
  35. Mary Shepherd on Causal Necessity.Jeremy Fantl - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (1):87-108.
    Lady Mary Shepherd’s critique of Hume’s account of causation, his worries about knowledge of matters of fact, and the contention that it is possible for the course of nature to spontaneously change relies primarily on three premises, two of which – that objects are merely bundles of qualities and that the qualities of an object are individuated by the causal powers contributed by those qualities – anticipate contemporary metaphysical views in ways that she should be getting credit for. The remaining (...)
  36. Tropes as Character-Grounders.Robert K. Garcia - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):499-515.
    There is a largely unrecognized ambiguity concerning the nature of a trope. Disambiguation throws into relief two fundamentally different conceptions of a trope and provides two ways to understand and develop each metaphysical theory that put tropes to use. In this paper I consider the relative merits that result from differences concerning a trope’s ability to ground the character of ordinary objects. I argue that on each conception of a trope, there are unique implications and challenges concerning character-grounding.
  37. Two Ways to Particularize a Property.Robert K. Garcia - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):635-652.
    Trope theory is an increasingly prominent contender in contemporary debates about the existence and nature of properties. But it suffers from ambiguity concerning the nature of a trope. Disambiguation reveals two fundamentally different concepts of a trope: modifier tropes and module tropes. These types of tropes are unequally suited for metaphysical work. Modifier tropes have advantages concerning powers, relations, and fundamental determinables, whereas module tropes have advantages concerning perception, causation, character-grounding, and the ontology of substance. Thus, the choice between modifier (...)
  38. Is Trope Theory a Divided House?Robert K. Garcia - 2015 - In Gabriele Galluzzo Michael Loux (ed.), The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 133-155.
    In this paper I explore Michael Loux’s important distinction between “tropes” and “tropers”. First, I argue that the distinction throws into relief an ambiguity and discrepancy in the literature, revealing two fundamentally different versions of trope theory. Second, I argue that the distinction brings into focus unique challenges facing each of the resulting trope theories, thus calling into question an alleged advantage of trope theory—that by uniquely occupying the middle ground between its rivals, trope theory is able to recover and (...)
  39. Bundle Theory's Black Box: Gap Challenges for the Bundle Theory of Substance.Robert K. Garcia - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (1):115-126.
    My aim in this article is to contribute to the larger project of assessing the relative merits of different theories of substance. An important preliminary step in this project is assessing the explanatory resources of one main theory of substance, the so-called bundle theory. This article works towards such an assessment. I identify and explain three distinct explanatory challenges an adequate bundle theory must meet. Each points to a putative explanatory gap, so I call them the Gap Challenges. I consider (...)
  40. La caja negra de la teoría del haz: desafíos explicativos para la teoría de la sustancia como haz de propiedades.Robert K. Garcia - 2014 - Quaderns de Filosofia i Ciència 1 (2):55-72.
  41. Against Zero-Dimensional Material Objects (and Other Bare Particulars).Daniel Giberman - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):305-321.
    A modus tollens against zero-dimensional material objects is presented from the premises (i) that if there are zero-dimensional material objects then there are bare particulars, and (ii) that there are no bare particulars. The argument for the first premise proceeds by elimination. First, bare particular theory and bundle theory are motivated as the most appealing theories of property exemplification. It is then argued that the bundle theorist’s Ockhamism ought to lead her to reject spatiotemporally located zero-dimensional property instances. Finally, it (...)
  42. A Stratified Bundle Theory.M. Glouberman - 1979 - Synthese 42 (3):379 - 410.
  43. The Substance of Bundles.M. Glouberman - 1975 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 56 (1):38.
  44. An Examination of the Bundle-Theory of Substance.Kwame Gyekye - 1973 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 34 (1):51-61.
    In this paper i argue that the bundle-theory, the theory that substance is nothing but a collection of qualities, bristles with difficulties. i show that a conjunction of the so-called essential qualities would primarily yield a conception not of an individual substance socrates, for instance, but of a species, i.e., the concept 'man', and that only the addition of some uniquely determining accidental qualities to the essential ones would yield an individual substance. but, then, these accidental qualities and infinite in (...)
  45. What Are Tropes, Fundamentally? A Formal Ontological Account.Jani Hakkarainen - 2018 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:129-159.
    In this paper, I elaborate on the Strong Nuclear Theory (SNT) of tropes and substances, which I have defended elsewhere, using my metatheory about formal ontology and especially fundamental ontological form. According to my metatheory, for an entity to have an ontological form is for it to be a relatum of a formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. The full fundamental ontological form is generically identical to a simple formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. (...)
  46. The Bundle Theory of Substance and the Identity of Indiscernibles.John Hawthorne - 1995 - Analysis 55 (3):191-196.
  47. Locations.John Hawthorne & Theodore Sider - 2002 - Philosophical Topics 30 (1):53-76.
    Think of “locations” very abstractly, as positions in a space, any space. Temporal locations are positions in time; spatial locations are positions in (physical) space; particulars are locations in quality space. Should we reify locations? Are locations entities? Spatiotemporal relation- alists say there are no such things as spatiotemporal locations; the fundamental spatial and temporal facts involve no locations as objects, only the instantiation of spatial and temporal relations. The denial of locations in quality space is the bundle theory, according (...)
  48. Particulars As Universals.Herbert Hochberg - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:83-111.
    Russell’s elimination of basic particulars, in An lnquiry into Meaning and Truth and Human Knowledge: lts Scope and Limits, by purportedly construing them as “bundles” or “complexes” of universal qualities has been attacked over the years by A. J. Ayer, M. Black, D. M. Armstrong, M. Loux, and others. These criticisms of Russell’s ontological assay of “particularity” have been based on misconstruals of his analysis. The present paper interprets Russell’s analysis, rebuts arguments of his critics, and sets out a different (...)
  49. Bundle Theory From A to B.Christopher Hughes - 1999 - Mind 108 (429):149-156.
  50. Essential Bundle Theory and Modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
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