Against Instantiation

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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According to traditional universalism, properties are instantiated by objects, where instantiation is a ‘tie’ that binds objects and properties into facts. I offer two arguments against this view. I then develop an alternative higher-order account which holds that properties are primitively predicated of objects yet, unlike traditional nominalism, are nevertheless genuinely real. When it’s a fact that Fo, it’s not because object o instantiates F-ness, but just that Fo – where F still exists. Against orthodox higher-order approaches, however, my arguments against instantiation also serve to support a sparse conception of properties. In developing the view, I introduce an extension of ontological and ideological commitment in the form of syntactic commitment.



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Christopher Frugé
University of Oxford

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Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
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Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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