The Bundle Theory is compatible with distinct but indiscernible particulars

Analysis 64 (1):72-81 (2004)
1. The Bundle Theory I shall discuss is a theory about the nature of substances or concrete particulars, like apples, chairs, atoms, stars and people. The point of the Bundle Theory is to avoid undesirable entities like substrata that allegedly constitute particulars. The version of the Bundle Theory I shall discuss takes particulars to be entirely constituted by the universals they instantiate.' Thus particulars are said to be just bundles of universals. Together with the claim that it is necessary that particulars have constituents, the fundamental claim of the Bundle Theory is: (BT) Necessarily, for every particular x and every entity y, y constitutes x if and only ify is a universal and x instantiates y. 2 The standard and supposedly devastating objection to the Bundle Theory is that it entails or is committed to a false version of the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles (Armstrong 1978: 91, Loux 1998: 107), namely: (Pll) Necessarily, for all particulars x and y and every universal z, if z is instantiated by x if and only if z is instantiated byy, then x is numerically identical with y. The most famous counterexample to the Identity of Indiscernibles is that put forward by Max Black, consisting of a world where there are only two iron spheres two miles apart from each other, having the same diameter, temperature, colour, shape, size, etc (Black 1952: 156). Let us from now on think of the properties of the spheres in this world as universals. The possibility of this world, which I shall hereafter refer to as 'Black's world', makes (Pll) false.' And according to common philosophical opinion this means that the Bundle Theory is false..
Keywords Identity of Indiscernibles  Bundle Theory
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DOI 10.1093/analys/64.1.72
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PhilPapers Archive Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, The Bundle Theory is compatible with distinct but indiscernible particulars
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