Mind 125 (499):643-689 (2016)

Michael Rieppel
Syracuse University
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.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzv173
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Against Cumulative Type Theory.Tim Button & Robert Trueman - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-43.
The Linguistic Approach to Ontology.Lee Walters - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
Denoting and Disquoting.Michael Rieppel - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):548-561.

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