Against Conjunctive Properties

Acta Analytica 35 (3):421-437 (2020)
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I put in question in this article the existence of conjunctive properties. In the second section, after having provided a characterization of conjunctive properties, I develop an argument based on the principle of ontological parsimony: if we accept that there are conjunctive properties in the universe then, ceteris paribus, our ontology turns out to be less ontologically parsimonious than if we reject them. Afterwards, in the third section, I distinguish between maximalist and non-maximalist and reductionist and non-reductionist theories of conjunctive properties., as well as between reductionist and non-reductionist theories that reject conjunctive properties. Such distinctions help to clarify the options at hand when accepting or rejecting conjunctive properties. In light of these distinctions, I then tackle two objections against the argument from ontological parsimony. Finally, in the remaining sections, I deal with two arguments defended by D. M. Armstrong for the existence of conjunctive properties: the argument from infinite complexity and the argument from causal powers. I show that there are several ways to resist these arguments and their conclusion.



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Michele Paolini Paoletti
Università di Macerata

Citations of this work

Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Modes.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (2):223-249.
Events and Modes.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2023 - Metaphysica 24 (1):71-99.

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References found in this work

Universals and scientific realism.David Malet Armstrong - 1978 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ockham’s Razors: A User’s Manual.Elliott Sober - 2015 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Physical Realization.Sydney Shoemaker - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
What Not to Multiply Without Necessity.Jonathan Schaffer - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):644-664.
Viciousness and the structure of reality.Ricki Leigh Bliss - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):399-418.

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