About this topic
Summary This category deals with metaphysical studies of connections holding between objects and properties, with the exception of the bundle/substratum dispute (see relevant sub-categories).
Key works What is it for a property to be instantiated? For a defence of the supervenience theory of Instantiation, see Armstrong 1978. For a defence of the operator theory of instantiation, see  Forrest 2006. For a defence of Baxter's partial identity theory of instantiation, see Baxter 2001 and Baxter 2013. For an opposite view, see Mantegani 2013. Could a property be instantiated without an instantiating object? For a positive answer see Le Bihan 2016.
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  1. Descartes' Quartum Quid.Pedro Amaral - 1987 - Philosophy Research Archives 13:379-409.
    My goal is to illustrate Descartes’ reliance on two quite different and competing interpretations of objective reality by explaining how each is used in defending his causal axioms. The initial criticism comes from Caterus (and is later taken up by Gassendi) who charges that Descartes makes it appear as if the thought in its objective aspect (the intentional entity) is really distinct from the thought qua modification of the mind (i.e., the thought in its formal aspect). This implies that the (...)
  2. Towards a Theory of Properties: Work in Progress on the Problem of Universals.D. M. Armstrong - 1975 - Philosophy 50 (192):145 - 155.
  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. Should Property-Dualists Be Substance-Hylomorphists?Gordon Barnes - 2001 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:285-299.
    In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in property dualism—the view that some mental properties are neither identical with, nor strongly supervenient on, physical properties. One of the principal objections to this view is that, according to natural science, the physical world is a causally closed system. So if mental properties are really distinct from physical properties, then it would seem that mental properties never really cause anything that happens in the physical world. Thus, dualism threatens to (...)
  7. Russell on Spinoza's Substance Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2012 - Metaphysica 13 (1):27-41.
    Russell’s critique of substance monism is an ideal starting point from which to understand some main concepts in Spinoza’s difficult metaphysics. This paper provides an in-depth examination of Spinoza’s proof that only one substance exists. On this basis, it rejects Russell’s interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of reality as founded upon the logical doctrine that all propositions consist of a predicate and a subject. An alternative interpretation is offered: Spinoza’s substance is not a bearer of properties, as Russell implied, but an (...)
  8. Instantiation as Partial Identity: Replies to Critics. [REVIEW]Donald L. M. Baxter - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (2):291-299.
    One of the advantages of my account in the essay “Instantiation as Partial Identity” was capturing the contingency of instantiation—something David Armstrong gave up in his experiment with a similar view. What made the contingency possible for me was my own non-standard account of identity, complete with the apparatus of counts and aspects. The need remains to lift some obscurity from the account in order to display its virtues to greater advantage. To that end, I propose to respond to those (...)
  9. Instantiation as Partial Identity.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):449 – 464.
    Construing the instantiation of a universal by a particular in terms of my theory of aspects resolves the basic mystery of this "non-relational tie", and gives theoretical unity to the four characteristics of instantiation discerned by Armstrong. Taking aspects as distinct in a way akin to Scotus's formal distinction, I suggest that instantiation is the sharing of an aspect by a universal and a particular--a kind of partial identity. This approach allows me to address Plato's multiple location and One over (...)
  10. Universals and Properties.George Bealer - 1998 - In S. Laurence C. MacDonald (ed.), Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 131.
    This paper summarizes and extends the transmodal argument for the existence of universals (developed in full detail in "Universals"). This argument establishes not only the existence of universals, but also that they exist necessarily, thereby confirming the ante rem view against the post rem and in re views (and also anti-existentialism against existentialism). Once summarized, the argument is extended to refute the trope theory of properties and is also shown to succeed even if possibilism is assumed. A nonreductionist theory of (...)
  11. Endurance and Time Travel.Jiri Benovsky - 2011 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):65-72.
    Suppose that you travel back in time to talk to your younger self in order to tell her that she (you) should have done some things in her (your) life differently. Of course, you will not be able to make this plan work, we know that from the many versions of 'the grandfather paradox' that populate the philosophical literature about time travel. What will be my centre of interest in this paper is the conversation between you and ... you – (...)
  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. On (Not) Being in Two Places at the Same Time: An Argument Against Endurantism.Jiri Benovsky - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):239 - 248.
    Is there an entity such that it can be in two places at the same time ? According to one traditional view, properties can, since they are immanent universals. But what about objects such as a person or a table ? Common sense seems to say that, unlike properties, objects are not multiply locatable. In this paper, I will argue first of all that endurantism entails a consequence that is quite bizarre, namely, that objects are universals, while properties are particulars. (...)
  15. In Defense of an Essentialist Approach to Ontic Structural Realism.Tomasz Bigaj - 2014 - Methode: Analytic Perspective 3 (4):1-24.
    This paper offers a new perspective on the metaphysical doctrine of non-eliminative ontic structural realism by interpreting the relation of ontic dependence in terms of counterfactual identification rather than in terms of numerical identity/distinctness.
  16. The Identity of Indiscernibles.Max Black - 1952 - Mind 61 (242):153-164.
  17. Russell on the Relations of Universals and Particulars.Larry Lee Blackman - 1983 - Philosophy Research Archives 9:265-278.
    In his 1911 paper, “On the Relations of Universals and Particulars,” Bertrand Russell supposes the question whether universals are spatial or non spatial turns on the question of the existence of particulars. If particulars could be shown to exist, then since, according to Russell, they obviously are spatial, the non-spatiality of universals would be established. On the other hand, the denial of the existence of particulars would entail the spatiality of universals.In this paper, I argue that Russell’s claim is plausible (...)
  18. Natural Objects.Joshua D. K. Brown - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-18.
    This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are (...)
  19. Object Theory and Modal Meinongianism.Otávio Bueno & Edward N. Zalta - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
    In this paper, we compare two theories, modal Meinongianism and object theory, with respect to several issues that have been discussed recently in the literature. In particular, we raise some objections for MM, undermine some of the objections that its defenders raise for OT, and we point out some virtues of the latter with respect to the former.
  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. Scotus and Ockham.Colin Connors - 2009 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 83:141-153.
    This paper is a defense of John Duns Scotus’s theory of individuation against one of William of Ockham’s objections. In the Ordinatio II. D.3. P. 1, John Duns Scotus argues for the existence of haecceity, a positive, indivisible distinction which makes an individual an individual rather than a kind of thing. He argues for the existence of haecceity by arguing for a form which is a “real less than numerical unity” and is neither universal nor singular. In the Summa Logicae, (...)
  22. Castles Built on Clouds: Vague Identity and Vague Objects.Benjamin L. Curtis & Harold W. Noonan - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Springer. pp. 305-326.
    Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...)
  23. Tropes.Christopher Daly - 1997 - In D. H. Mellor & A. Oliver (eds.), Properties. Oxford University Press. pp. 140-59.
  24. 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 (...)
  25. The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism? [REVIEW]Mauro Dorato - forthcoming - Metascience:1-9.
    In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
  26. 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 (...)
  27. Existence: Essays in Ontology. By Peter van Inwagen. Cambridge University Press, 2014, Pp. 261, £18.99 ISBN: 9781107625266. [REVIEW]Karl Egerton - 2015 - Philosophy 90 (3):519-524.
  28. Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation.Douglas Ehring - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Properties and objects are everywhere, but remain a philosophical mystery. Douglas Ehring argues that the idea of tropes--properties and relations understood as particulars--provides the best foundation for a metaphysical account of properties and objects. He develops and defends a new theory of trope nominalism.
  29. Property Counterparts and Natural Class Trope Nominalism.Douglas Ehring - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):443 – 463.
    'Natural class' trope nominalism makes a trope's being of a certain sort--its nature--a matter of its membership in a certain natural class of actual tropes. It has been objected that on this theory had even a single member of the class of red tropes not existed, for example, then the type 'being red' would not have been instantiated and nothing would have been red. I argue that natural class trope nominalism can avoid this implication by way of counterpart theory as (...)
  30. The Alleged Supervenience of Everything on Microphysics.Crawford L. Elder - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):87-95.
    Here is a view at least much like Lewis’s “Humean supervenience,” and in any case highly influential—in that some endorse it, and many more worry that it is true. All truths about the world are fixed by the pattern of instantiation, by individual points in space-time, of the “perfectly natural properties” posited by end-of-inquiry physics. In part, this view denies independent variability: the world could not have been different from how it actually is, in the ways depicted by common sense (...)
  31. Essential Properties and Coinciding Objects.Crawford L. Elder - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):317-331.
    Common sense believes in objects which, if real, routinely lose component parts or particles. Statues get chipped, people undergo haircuts and amputations, and ships have planks replaced. Sometimes philosophers argue that in addition to these objects, there are others which could not possibly lose any of their parts or particles, nor have new ones added to them--objects which could not possibly have been bigger or smaller, at any time, than how they actually were.1 (Sometimes the restriction on size is argued (...)
  32. Objects, Discreteness, and Pure Power Theories: George Molnar’s Critique of Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties. [REVIEW]Sharon Ford - 2012 - Metaphysica 13 (2):195-215.
    Sydney Shoemaker’s causal theory of properties is an important starting place for some contemporary metaphysical perspectives concerning the nature of properties. In this paper, I discuss the causal and intrinsic criteria that Shoemaker stipulates for the identity of genuine properties and relations, and address George Molnar’s criticism that holding both criteria presents an unbridgeable hypothesis in the causal theory of properties. The causal criterion requires that properties and relations contribute to the causal powers of objects if they are to be (...)
  33. Objects and Discreteness in Mumford’s Realist Lawlessness.Sharon R. Ford - manuscript
    In this paper, I argue that Mumford's Realist Lawlessness account of powers leads to ontological Holism. Consequently, this calls for a deflated conception of haecceity, intrinsicality and discreteness.
  34. What Fundamental Properties Suffice to Account for the Manifest World? Powerful Structure.Sharon R. Ford - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Queensland
    This Thesis engages with contemporary philosophical controversies about the nature of dispositional properties or powers and the relationship they have to their non-dispositional counterparts. The focus concerns fundamentality. In particular, I seek to answer the question, ‘What fundamental properties suffice to account for the manifest world?’ The answer I defend is that fundamental categorical properties need not be invoked in order to derive a viable explanation for the manifest world. My stance is a field-theoretic view which describes the world as (...)
  35. An Analysis of Properties in John Heil’s "From an Ontological Point of View".Sharon R. Ford - 2007 - In Giacomo Romano (ed.), Symposium on: John Heil, From an Ontological Point of View. Bari: Swif. pp. 45-51.
    In this paper I argue that the requirement for the qualitative is theory-dependent, determined by the fundamental assumptions built into the ontology. John Heil’s qualitative, in its role as individuator of objects and powers, is required only by a theory that posits a world of distinct objects or powers. Does Heil’s ‘deep’ view of the world, such that there is only one powerful object require the qualitative as individuator of objects and powers? The answer depends on whether it is possible (...)
  36. Locke on Substance in General.Gabor Forrai - 2010 - Locke Studies 10 (27):27-59.
    Locke’s conception of substance in general or substratum has two relatively widespread interpretations. According to one, substance in general is the bearer of properties, a pure subject, something which sustains properties but itself has no properties. I will call this interpretation traditional, because it has already been formulated by Leibniz. According to the other interpretation, substance is general is something like real essence: an underlying structure which is responsible for the fact that certain observable properties form stable, recurrent clusters. I (...)
  37. The Operator Theory of Instantiation.Peter Forrest - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):213 – 228.
    Armstrong holds the Supervenience Theory of instantiation, namely that the instantiation of universals by particulars supervenes upon what particulars and what universals there are, where supervenience is stipulated to be explanatory or dependent supervenience. I begin by rejecting the Supervenience Theory of instantiation. Having done so it is then tempting to take instantiation as primitive. This has, however, an awkward consequence, undermining one of the main advantages universals have over tropes. So I examine another account hinted at by Armstrong. This (...)
  38. P. F. Strawson on Predication.Danny Frederick - 2011 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):39-57.
    Strawson offers three accounts of singular predication: a grammatical, a category and a mediating account. I argue that the grammatical and mediating accounts are refuted by a host of counter-examples and that the latter is worse than useless. In later works Strawson defends only the category account. This account entails that singular terms cannot be predicates; it excludes non-denoting singular terms from being logical subjects, except by means of an ad hoc analogy; it depends upon a notion of identification that (...)
  39. Das Manifest für eine neue Ontologie: Metaphysik My 10.Segalerba Gianluigi - 2015 - Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 59 (2).
    This study is dedicated to the chapter Metaphysics My 10, which, in my opinion, represents an example of basic research as regards Aristotle’s ontological investigations. The aim of my analysis is to point out that the chapter constitutes a manifesto for a new ontology: this new ontology is Aristotle’s typological ontology. The main entities of the typological ontology are universals, on the one hand, and instantiations of universals, on the other hand. The ontological levels, to which these two kinds of (...)
  40. Quasi-Supplementation, Plenitudinous Coincidentalism, and Gunk.Cody Gilmore - forthcoming - In Robert Garcia (ed.), Substance: New Essays. Philosophia Verlag.
  41. Universals, Tropes and the Philosophy of Mind.Simone Gozzano & Francesco Orilia (eds.) - 2008 - Ontos Verlag.
    Table of Contents; Introduction by Francesco Orilia and Simone Gozzano; Modes and Mind by John Heil; Does Ontology Matter? by Anna-Sofia Maurin; Basic Ontology, Multiple Realizability and Mental Causation by Francesco Orilia; The “Supervenience Argument”:Kim’s Challenge to Nonreductive Physicalism by Ausonio Marras and Juhani Yli-Vakkuri; Tropes’ Simplicity and Mental Causation by Simone Gozzano; Zombies from Below by David Robb; Tropes and Perception by E. Jonathan Lowe; About the authors.
  42. Substance: Things and Stuffs.Peter Hacker - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):41–63.
    We conceive of the natural world as populated by relatively persistent material things standing in spatio-temporal relations to each other. They come into existence, exist for a time, and then pass away. We locate them relative to landmarks and to other material things in the landscape which they, and we, inhabit. We characterize them as things of a certain kind, and identify and re-identify them accordingly. The expressions we typically use to do so are, in the technical terminology derived from (...)
  43. Introduction to Philosophy and Museums: Essays in the Philosophy of Museums.Victoria S. Harrison, Anna Bergqvist & Gary Kemp - 2016 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 79:1-12.
    Museums and their practices—especially those involving collection, curation and exhibition—generate a host of philosophical questions. Such questions are not limited to the domains of ethics and aesthetics, but go further into the domains of metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of religion. Despite the prominence of museums as public institutions, they have until recently received surprisingly little scrutiny from philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition. By bringing together contributions from philosophers with backgrounds in a range of traditional areas of philosophy, this volume demonstrates (...)
  44. Mereology, Modality and Magic.Katherine Hawley - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):117 – 133.
    If the property _being a methane molecule_ is a universal, then it is a structural universal: objects instantiate _being a methane molecule_ just in case they have the right sorts of proper parts arranged in the right sort of way. Lewis argued that there can be no satisfactory account of structural universals; in this paper I provide a satisfactory account.
  45. A World of Universals.John Hawthorne - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 91:205-219.
  46. 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 (...)
  47. Intensional Logic and the Metaphysics of Intentionality. [REVIEW]A. P. Hazen - 1991 - Philosophical Review 100 (3):474.
  48. The Donkey Problem.Mark Heller - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):83-101.
    The Donkey Problem (as I am calling it) concerns the relationship between more and less fundamental ontologies. I will claim that the moral to draw from the Donkey Problem is that the less fundamental objects are merely conventional. This conventionalism has consequences for the 3D/4D debate. Four-dimensionalism is motivated by a desire to avoid coinciding objects, but once we accept that the non-fundamental ontology is conventional there is no longer any reason to reject coincidence. I therefore encourage 4Dists to become (...)
  49. Substance: Its Nature and Existence.Joshua Hoffman & Gary Rosenkrantz - 1997 - Routledge.
    Substance has been a leading idea in the history of Western philosophy. _Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz_ explain the nature and existence of individual substances, including both living things and inanimate objects. Specifically written for students new to this important and often complex subject, _Substance_ provides both the historical and contemporary overview of the debate. Great Philosophers of the past, such as Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, and Berkeley were profoundly interested in the concept of substance. And, the authors (...)
  50. Substance Among Other Categories.Joshua Hoffman & Gary S. Rosenkrantz - 1994 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book revives a neglected but important topic in philosophy: the nature of substance. The belief that there are individual substances, for example, material objects and persons, is at the core of our common-sense view of the world yet many metaphysicians deny the very coherence of the concept of substance. The authors develop an account of what an individual substance is in terms of independence from other beings. In the process many other important ontological categories are explored: property, event, space, (...)
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