Are (possible) guises internally characterizable?

Acta Analytica 13:65-90 (1998)
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In H-N. Castañeda's ontology, a fundamental Fregean distinction is drawn between unsaturated and saturated entities, the former corresponding to predicative aspects of reality, the latter to individuals, that is, to items which can be referred to by means of singular terms1. Within saturated entities, Castañeda attempts to distinguish between abstract and concrete individuals. Sets and Platonic Forms of the F-ness-type are the typical examples of the former category2. As to the latter category instead, concrete individual guises represent both the bottom layer in a hypothetical ontological hierarchy of individuals which has Platonic Forms at its top, and the first step in the psychological process of world cognition, which moves from the most concrete object to the most abstract3. Among concrete individual guises, moreover, Castañeda draws a further ontological distinction between possible and impossible guises, according to the different behavior guises display with respect to the possibility of existing4. Both kinds of guises, however, share that feature which enables to qualify them as guises, i.e. that of being bundles of properties. Every guise is indeed constituted out of (a certain set of) properties, or better predicative aspects5. The predication to a guise of one of its constitutive properties is taken by Castañeda as the primary sense of predication. He calls it Meinongian, or internal, predication (in symbols: "a(F)", where "a" stands for a guise and "F" for one of its constitutive properties)6. For Castañeda, moreover, the main linguistic tool by means of which a guise is denoted is a definite description, insofar as such a description clearly reveals the properties which a guise internally possesses7. Thus, we can say that "the F- er is F" is a typical expression of an internal predication of a property F to the guise denoted by the definite description "the F". If we take "F" as a metavariable for properties, we can say that the above formulation corresponds to what Routley has called the Characterization Postulate8. Now what we want to scrutinize in this paper is, first, whether the following four theses of Castañeda's Guise Theory are really compatible..



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Alberto Voltolini
Università degli Studi di Torino

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