Partial Resemblance and Property Immanence

Noûs (forthcoming)
Authors
Paul R. Audi
University of Rochester
Abstract
Objects partially resemble when they are alike in some way but not entirely alike. Partial resemblance, then, involves similarity in a respect. It has been observed that talk of “respects” appears to be thinly-veiled talk of properties. So some theorists take similarity in a respect to require property realism. I will go a step further and argue that similarity in intrinsic respects requires properties to be immanent in objects. For a property to be immanent in an object is roughly for it to be wholly present in that object. If two objects are intrinsically similar in one way but not another, there must be a difference between the two ways. And if the similarity is between the objects as they are in themselves, then this difference, too, must be within the objects. Partial intrinsic resemblance thus requires internal structure. Without it, there can be no distinctions between ways in which things are intrinsically alike and ways in which they aren't. I will argue, further, that distinctions between properties that transcend objects fail to account for the possibility of partial intrinsic resemblance.
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DOI 10.1111/nous.12244
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