An examination of the bundle-theory of substance

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 number and are therefore only potential and unknowable. thus, the "bundle" can never be 'actualized'. nor can the notion of substance be eliminated in favor of descriptions, since these should include negative descriptions which are infinite in number because expressible in terms of the whole universe. since not all descriptions apply to a thing, where they do, they must have been antecedantly 'derived' from that thing. hence, i conclude that there are grounds for at least a limited defense of a substance ontology
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DOI 10.2307/2106779
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