125 (499):643-689 (2016
If I say that Alice is everything Oscar hopes to be, I seem to be quantifying over properties. That suggestion faces an immediate difficulty, however: though Alice may be wise, she surely is not the property of being wise. This problem can be framed in terms of a substitution failure: if a predicate like ‘happy’ denoted a property, we would expect pairs like ‘Oscar is happy’ and ‘Oscar is the property of being happy’ to be equivalent, which they clearly are not. I argue that a Fregean response that draws a distinction between objects and concepts faces serious difficulties, and that a syntactic solution to the substitution problem likewise fails. I propose to account for the substitution failure by instead distinguishing different ways that expressions can stand for properties: whereas ‘the property of being happy’ refers to a property, ‘happy’ expresses or ascribes that property. I go on to compare this view to proposals made by Wright and Liebesman, and end by drawing out a consequence my proposal has for a debate about the ontological commitments of predicatively quantified sentences.