Properties and objects are everywhere, but remain a philosophical mystery. Douglas Ehring argues that the idea of tropes--properties and relations understood as particulars--provides the best foundation for a metaphysical account of properties and objects. He develops and defends a new theory of trope nominalism.
Are colors relational or non-relational properties of their bearers? Is red a property that is instantiated by all and only the objects with a certain intrinsic (/non-relational) nature? Or does an object with a particular intrinsic (/non-relational) nature count as red only in virtue of standing in certain relations - for example, only when it looks a certain way to a certain perceiver, or only in certain circumstances of observation? In this paper I shall argue for the view that (...) color properties are relational (henceforth, relationalism), and against the view that colors are not relational (henceforth, anti- or non-relationalism). (shrink)
Are properties universal or particular? According to Universalism, properties are universals because there is a certain fundamental tie that makes properties capable of being shareable by more than one thing. On the opposing side, Particularism is the view that properties are particulars due to the existence of a fundamental tie that makes properties incapable of being shared. My aim in this paper is to critically examine the connections between the notions of the fundamental tie and (...) universality and particularity. I argue, first, that universality and particularity can characterize a property if and only if there is a universalist or a particularist fundamental tie, and, second, that it is unclear that these should be the fundamental ties that connect ordinary and scientific properties to their respective bearers. Then I develop an alternative approach to properties and the fundamental tie, which is neutralist because it dispenses with universality and particularity as features of properties, and naturalist because it naturalizes the possession of properties by replacing metaphysical fundamental ties with a scientific one, in particular, a physical process. I show how this approach improves our understanding of properties and instantiation. (shrink)
The property theory of musical works says that each musical work is a property that is instantiated by its occurrences, that is, the work's performances and playings. The property theory provides ontological explanations very similar to those given by its popular cousin, the type/token theory of musical works, but it is both simpler and stronger. However, type/token theorists often dismiss the property theory. In this essay, I formulate a version of the property theory that identifies each type with a unique (...) property. I then scrutinize the arguments offered for thinking that types, including musical works, are distinct from properties. I respond that no such argument is forceful and conclude that the property theory of musical works is superior to the type/token theory. (shrink)
Since the publication of David Lewis's ''New Work for a Theory of Universals,'' the distinction between properties that are fundamental – or perfectly natural – and those that are not has become a staple of mainstream metaphysics. Plausible candidates for perfect naturalness include the quantitative properties posited by fundamental physics. This paper argues for two claims: (1) the most satisfying account of quantitative properties employs higher-order relations, and (2) these relations must be perfectly natural, for otherwise the (...) perfectly natural properties cannot play the roles in metaphysical theorizing as envisaged by Lewis. (shrink)
In discussions of perception and its relation to knowledge, it is common to distinguish what one comes to believe on the basis of perception from the distinctively perceptual basis of one's belief. The distinction can be drawn in terms of propositional contents: there are the contents that a perceiver comes to believe on the basis of her perception, on the one hand; and there are the contents properly attributed to perception itself, on the other. Consider the content.
A framework for representing a specific kind of emergent property instance is given. A solution to a generalized version of the exclusion argument is then provided and it is shown that upwards and downwards causation is unproblematical for that kind of emergence. One real example of this kind of emergence is briefly described and the suggestion made that emergence may be more common than current opinions allow.
All organised bodies are composed of parts, similar to those composing inorganic nature, and which have even themselves existed in an inorganic state; but the phenomena of life, which result from the juxtaposition of those parts in a certain manner, bear no analogy to any of the effects which would be produced by the action of the component substances considered as mere physical agents. To whatever degree we might imagine our knowledge of the properties of the several ingredients of (...) a living body to be extended and perfected, it is certain that no mere summing up of the separate actions of those elements will ever amount to the action of the living body itself. (shrink)
Our prominent definitions of cognition are too vague and lack empirical grounding. They have not kept up with recent developments, and cannot bear the weight placed on them across many different debates. I here articulate and defend a more adequate theory. On this theory, behaviors under the control of cognition tend to display a cluster of characteristic properties, a cluster which tends to be absent from behaviors produced by non-cognitive processes. This cluster is reverse-engineered from the empirical tests that (...) comparative psychologists use to determine whether a behavior was generated by a cognitive or a non-cognitive process. Cognition should be understood as the natural kind of psychological process that non-accidentally exhibits the properties assessed by these tests (as well as others we have not yet discovered). Finally, I review two plausible neural accounts of cognition's underlying mechanisms?one based in localization of function to particular brain regions and another based in the more recent distributed networks approach to neuroscience?which would explain why these properties non-accidentally cluster. While this notion of cognition may be useful for a number of debates, I here focus on its application to a recent crisis over the distinction between cognition and association in comparative psychology. (shrink)
Drawing on empirical evidence from history and anthropology, we aim to demonstrate that there is room for genealogical ideology critique within normative political theory. The test case is some libertarians’ use of folk notions of private property rights in defence of the legitimacy of capitalist states. Our genealogy of the notion of private property shows that asking whether a capitalist state can emerge without violations of self-ownership cannot help settling the question of its legitimacy, because the notion of private property (...) presupposed by that question is a product of the entity it is supposed to help legitimise: the state. We anchor our genealogical critique in recent work on ideology in epistemology and philosophy of language, and in current debates on the methodology of political theory. But, unlike more traditional approaches that aim to debunk whole concepts or even belief systems, we propose a more targeted, argument-specific form of ideology critique. (shrink)
The world is populated with many different objects, to which we often attribute properties: we say, for example, that grass is green, that the earth is spherical, that humans are animals, and that murder is wrong. We also take it that these properties are things in their own right: there is something in which being green, or spherical, or an animal, or wrong, consists, and that certain scientific or normative projects are engaged in uncovering the essences of such (...)properties. In light of this, an important question arises: what kind of things should we take properties themselves to be? -/- In Properties, Douglas Edwards gives an engaging, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the many theories of properties available. Edwards charts the central positions in the debate over properties, including the views that properties are universals, that properties are constructed from tropes, and that properties are classes of objects, and assesses the benefits and disadvantages of each. Attempts to deny the existence of properties are also considered, along with ‘pluralist’ proposals, which aim to accommodate the different kinds of properties that are found in various philosophical debates. -/- Properties is the ideal introduction to this topic and will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students wishing to learn more about the important roles that properties have played, and continue to play, in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
While it is well known that the early Heidegger distinguishes between different ‘kinds of being’ and identifies various ‘structures’ that compose them, there has been little discussion about what these kinds and structures of being are. This paper defends the ‘Property Thesis’, the position that kinds of being (and their structures) are properties of the entities that have them. I give two arguments for this thesis. The first is grounded in the fact that Heidegger refers to kinds and structures (...) of being as ‘characteristics’ and ‘determinations’, which are just two different words for ‘properties’, in the broadest senses of these terms. The second argument is based on the fact that kinds and structures of being play three roles that properties are supposed to play: they are what account for similarities between things, they are what predicates express, and they are what abstract nouns refer to. (shrink)
Two grams mass, three coulombs charge, five inches long – these are examples of quantitative properties. Quantitative properties have certain structural features that other sorts of properties lack. What are the metaphysical underpinnings of quantitative structure? This paper considers several accounts of quantity and assesses the merits of each.
Identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth are fundamental philosophical concerns. Colin McGinn treats them both philosophically and logically, aiming for maximum clarity and minimum pointless formalism. He contends that there are real logical properties that challenge naturalistic metaphysical outlooks. These concepts are not definable, though we can say a good deal about how they work. The aim of Logical Properties is to bring philosophy back to philosophical logic.
Powers are popularly assumed to be distinct from, and dependent upon, inert qualities, mainly because it is believed that qualities have their nature independently of other properties while powers have their nature in virtue of a relation to distinct manifestation property. George Molnar and Alexander Bird, on the other hand, characterize powers as intrinsic and relational. The difficulties of reconciling the characteristics of being intrinsic and at the same time essentially related are illustrated in this paper and it is (...) argued that the reasons for thinking of powers as essentially relational are based on misguided epistemological consideration. Finally, I present a way of thinking of fundamental properties as primitive natures that we can only understand in virtue of what they do but which we should not think of as being ontologically constituted by these doings. According to this view, properties are both qualities and powers. (shrink)
Recent discussions of mental causation have focused on three principles: (1) Mental properties are (sometimes) causally relevant to physical effects; (2) mental properties are not physical properties; (3) every physical event has in its causal history only physical events and physical properties. Since these principles seem to be inconsistent, solutions have focused on rejecting one or more of them. But I argue that, in spite of appearances, (1)–(3) are not inconsistent. The reason is that 'properties' (...) is used in different senses in the principles. In (1) and (3), 'properties' should be read as 'tropes' (properties here are particulars), while in (2) 'properties' should read as 'types' (properties here are universals or classes). Although mental types are distinct from physical types, every mental trope is a physical trope. This allows mental properties to be causally relevant to physical effects without violating the closed character of the physical world. (shrink)
From a pre-publication review by the late Austrian economist, Don Lavoie, of George Mason University: -/- "The book's radical re-interpretation of property and contract is, I think, among the most powerful critiques of mainstream economics ever developed. It undermines the neoclassical way of thinking about property by articulating a theory of inalienable rights, and constructs out of this perspective a "labor theory of property" which is as different from Marx's labor theory of value as it is from neoclassicism. It traces (...) roots of such ideas in some fascinating and largely forgotten strands of the history of economics. It draws attention to the question of "responsibility" which neoclassicism has utterly lost sight of. It is startlingly fresh in its overall approach, and unusually well written in its presentation. ... It constitutes a better case for its economic democracy viewpoint than anything else in the literature." . (shrink)
Two ethical frameworks have dominated the discussion of organ donation for long: that of property rights and that of gift-giving. However, recent years have seen a drastic rise in the number of philosophical analyses of the meaning of giving and generosity, which has been mirrored in ethical debates on organ donation and in critical sociological, anthropological and ethnological work on the gift metaphor in this context. In order to capture the flourishing of this field, this article distinguishes between four frameworks (...) for thinking about bodily exchanges in medicine: those of property rights, heroic gift-giving, sacrifice, and gift-giving as aporia. These frameworks represent four different ways of making sense of donation of organs as well as tissue, gametes and blood, draw on different conceptions of the relations between the self and the other, and bring out different ethical issues as core ones. The article presents these frameworks, argues that all of them run into difficulties when trying to make sense of reciprocity and relational interdependence in donation, and shows how the three gift-giving frameworks (of heroism, sacrifice and aporia) hang together in a critical discussion about what is at stake in organ donation. It also presents and argues in favour of an alternative intercorporeal framework of giving-through-sharing that more thoroughly explicates the gift metaphor in the context of donation, and offers tools for making sense of relational dimensions of live and post mortem donations. (shrink)
It has been maintained by such philosophers as Quine and Goodman that purely ‘extensional’ language suffices for all the purposes of properly formalized scientific discourse. Those entities that were traditionally called ‘universals’ — properties, concepts, forms, etc. — are rejected by these extensionalist philosophers on the ground that ‘the principle of individuation is not clear’. It is conceded that science requires that we allow something tantamount to quantification over non-particulars (or, anyway, over things that are not material objects, not (...) space-time points, not physical fields, etc.), but, the extensionalists contend, quantification over sets serves the purposes nicely. The ‘ontology’ of modern science, at least as Quine formalizes it, comprises material objects (or, alternatively, space-time points), sets of material objects, sets of sets of material objects,... but no properties, concepts,or forms. Let us thus examine the question: Can the principle of individuation for properties ever be made clear? (shrink)
_Property Rights: Philosophic Foundations,_ first published in 1977, comprehensively examines the general justifications for systems of private property rights, and discusses with great clarity the major arguments as to the rights and responsibilities of property ownership. In particular, the arguments that hold that there are natural rights derived from first occupancy, labour, utility, liberty and virtue are considered, as are the standard anti-property arguments based on disutility, virtue and inequality, and the belief that justice in distribution must take precedence over (...) private ownership. Lawrence Becker goes on to contend that there are four sound lines of argument for private property that, together with what is sound in the anti-property arguments, must be co-ordinated to form the foundations of a new theory. He therefore expounds a concise but sophisticated theory of property that is relevant to the modern world, and concludes by indicating some of the implications of his theory. (shrink)
For the last several decades, dispositional properties have been one of the main topics in metaphysics. Still, however, there is little agreement among contemporary metaphysicians on the nature of dispositional properties. Apparently, though, the majority of them have reached the consensus that dispositional ascriptions cannot be analysed in terms of simple counterfactual conditionals. In this paper it will be brought to light that this consensus is wrong. Specifically, I will argue that the simple conditional analysis of dispositions, which (...) is generally thought to be dead, is in fact an adequate analysis of dispositions. I will go on to discuss Mumford’s view of dispositions from the perspective of the simple conditional analysis of dispositions. (shrink)
An intrinsic property, as David Lewis puts it, is a property "which things have in virtue of the way they themselves are", as opposed to an extrinsic property, which things have "in virtue of their relations or lack of relations to other things".1 Having long hair is an intrinsic property; having a long-haired brother is not. Intuitive as this notion is (and valuable in doing philosophy, I might add), it seems to resist analysis. Analysis, that is, to “quasi-logical” notions such (...) as necessity, spatiotemporal location: using stronger tools, Lewis has given an analysis of intrinsicality that I take to be roughly correct. Lewis initially described intrinsic properties in his 1983 paper "Extrinsic Properties" as follows. (shrink)
A theory of property needs to give an account of the whole life-cycle of a property right: how it is initiated, transferred, and terminated. Economics has focused on the transfers in the market and has almost completely neglected the question of the initiation and termination of property in normal production and consumption (not in some original state or in the transition from common to private property). The institutional mechanism for the normal initiation and termination of property is an invisible-hand function (...) of the market, the market mechanism of appropriation. Does this mechanism satisfy an appropriate normative principle? The standard normative juridical principle is to assign or impute legal responsibility according to de facto responsibility. It is given a historical tag of being "Lockean" but the basis is contemporary jurisprudence, not historical exegesis. Then the fundamental theorem of the property mechanism is proven which shows that if "Hume's conditions" (no transfers without consent and all contracts fulfilled) are satisfied, then the market automatically satisfies the Lockean responsibility principle, i.e., "Hume implies Locke." As a major application, the results in their contrapositive form, "Not Locke implies Not Hume," are applied to a market economy based on the employment contract. It is shown the production based on the employment contract violates the Lockean principle (all who work in an employment enterprise are de facto responsible for the positive and negative results) and thus Hume's conditions must also be violated in the marketplace (de facto responsible human action cannot be transferred from one person to another—as is readily recognized when and employer and employee together commit a crime). (shrink)
What is an epiphenomenal property? This question needs to be settled before we can decide whether higher-level properties are epiphenomenal or not. In this paper, I offer an account of what it is for a property to have some causal power. From this, I derive a characterisation of the notion of an epiphenomenal property. I then argue that physically realized higher-level properties are not epiphenomenal because laws of nature impose causal similarities on the bearers of such properties, (...) and these similarities figure as powers in the causal profiles of these properties. (shrink)
Emergence is a notorious philosophical term of art. A variety of theorists have appropriated it for their purposes ever since George Henry Lewes gave it a philosophical sense in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind. We might roughly characterize the shared meaning thus: emergent entities (properties or substances) ‘arise’ out of more fundamental entities and yet are ‘novel’ or ‘irreducible’ with respect to them. (For example, it is sometimes said that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.) (...) Each of the quoted terms is slippery in its own right, and their specifications yield the varied notions of emergence that we discuss below. There has been renewed interest in emergence within discussions of the behavior of complex systems and debates over the reconcilability of mental causation, intentionality, or consciousness with physicalism. (shrink)
The necessitarian solution to the problem of induction involves two claims: first, that necessary connections are justified by an inference to the best explanation; second, that the best theory of necessary connections entails the timeless uniformity of nature. In this paper, I defend the second claim. My arguments are based on considerations from the metaphysics of laws, properties, and fundamentality.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the deepest problems currently exercising philosophers of mind arise from an ill-begotten ontology, in particular, a mistaken ontology of properties. After going through some preliminaries, we identify three doctrines at the heart of this mistaken ontology: (P) For each distinct predicate, “F”, there exists one, and only one, property, F, such that, if “F” is applicable to an object a, then “F” is applicable in virtue of a’s being F. (U) Properties are (...) universals, not particulars. (D) Every property is either categorical or dispositional, but not both. We show how these doctrines influence current philosophical thinking about the mind, suggest and defend an alternative conception of properties, and indicate how this conception provides answers to two puzzles besetting contemporary philosophy of mind: the problem of mental causation and the problem of qualia. (shrink)
Orthodoxy has it that only metaphysically elite properties can be invoked in scientifically elite laws. We argue that this claim does not fit scientific practice. An examination of candidate scientifically elite laws like Newton’s F = ma reveals properties invoked that are irreversibly defined and thus metaphysically non-elite by the lights of the surrounding theory: Newtonian acceleration is irreversibly defined as the second derivative of position, and Newtonian resultant force is irreversibly defined as the sum of the component (...) forces. We think that scientists are happy to invoke metaphysically non-elite properties in scientifically elite laws for reasons of convenience, such as to simplify the equations and to make them more modular. On this basis, we draw a deflationary moral about laws themselves, as being merely convenient summaries. 1 Introduction2 Orthodoxy2.1 Orthodoxy stated2.2 Orthodoxy explained2.3 A worrisome commitment: Term objectivism3 The Loose View3.1 The argument from practice3.2 Finding the scientifically elite equations3.3 Diagnosing the metaphysically non-elite properties3.4 Situating our challenge4 Newtonian Mechanics4.1 Newtonian acceleration4.2 Newtonian resultant force4.3 A metaphysical discovery?5 Objections5.1 Metaphysically elite after all?5.2 Scientifically non-elite after all?5.3 But our world is not Newtonian!6 Consequences6.1 Consequences for the motivations for link6.2 Consequences for metaphysically elite properties6.3 Consequences for lawhood. (shrink)
In this paper, I advance a lesser known counterfactual principle of grounding in a new kind of way by appealing to properties and the work they do. I then show that this new way of arguing for this principle is superior to another way, describe some of the work this principle can do, defend my use of this principle, and conclude with remarks on why principles like it are needed.
Can we employ the property of rationality in establishing what rationality requires? According to a central and formal thesis of John Broome’s work on rational requirements, the answer is ‘no’ – at least if we expect a precise answer. In particular, Broome argues that (i) the property of full rationality (i.e. whether or not you are fully rational) is independent of whether we formulate conditional requirements of rationality as having a wide or a narrow logical scope. That is, (ii) by (...) replacing a wide-scope requirement with a corresponding narrow-scope requirement (or vice versa), we do not alter the situations in which a person is fully rational. As a consequence, (iii) the property of full rationality is unable to guide us in determining whether a rational requirement has a wide or a narrow logical scope. We cannot resolve the wide/narrow scope debate by appealing to a theory of fully rational attitudes. This paper argues that (i), (ii) and (iii) are incorrect. Replacing a wide- with a corresponding narrow-scope requirement (or vice versa) can alter the set of circumstances in which a person is fully rational. The property of full rationality is therefore not independent of whether we formulate conditional requirements of rationality as having a wide or a narrow logical scope. As a consequence, the property of full rationality can guide us in determining what rationality requires – even in cases where we expect a precise answer. (shrink)
It is widely thought that mind–body substance dualism is implausible at best, though mere “property” dualism is defensible and even flourishing. This paper argues that substance dualism is no less plausible than property dualism and even has two advantages over it.
Intentionalism—the view that the phenomenal character of an experience is wholly determined by its representational content—is very attractive. Unfortunately, it’s in conflict with some quite robust intuitions about the possibility of phenomenal spectrum inversion without misrepresentation. Faced with such a problem, there are the usual three options—reject intentionalism, discount the intuitions and deny that spectrum inversion without misrepresentation is possible, or find a way to reconcile the two by dissolving the apparent conflict. Sydney Shoemaker’s (1994) introduction of appearance properties (...) is a particularly ingenious way of pursuing the third strategy, by maintaining that there is a representational difference between the phenomenally spectrum-inverted subjects. In introducing appearance properties, Shoemaker does two things: he identifies a theoretical role for some family of properties to play, and he suggests a family of properties as candidates to play that role. I’ll argue that his proposed candidates do not play the role as well as we would like, suggest some new candidates, and argue that they do a better job of playing the role. The reason for the question mark in the title is that, if I’m right, it turns out that the best candidates to play the appearance property role aren’t properties. (shrink)
Revised and reprinted; originally in Dov Gabbay & Franz Guenthner (eds.), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Volume IV. Kluwer 133-251. -- Two sorts of property theory are distinguished, those dealing with intensional contexts property abstracts (infinitive and gerundive phrases) and proposition abstracts (‘that’-clauses) and those dealing with predication (or instantiation) relations. The first is deemed to be epistemologically more primary, for “the argument from intensional logic” is perhaps the best argument for the existence of properties. This argument is presented in (...) the course of discussing generality, quantifying-in, learnability, referential semantics, nominalism, conceptualism, realism, type-freedom, the first-order/higher-order controversy, names, indexicals, descriptions, Mates’ puzzle, and the paradox of analysis. Two first-order intensional logics are then formulated. Finally, fixed-point type-free theories of predication are discussed, especially their relation to the question whether properties may be identified with propositional functions. (shrink)
Is property-awareness constituted by representation or not? If it were, merely being aware of the qualities of physical objects would involve being in a representational state. This would have considerable implications for a prominent view of the nature of successful perceptual experiences. According to naïve realism, any such experience—or more specifically its character—is fundamentally a relation of awareness to concrete items in the environment. Naïve realists take their view to be a genuine alternative to representationalism, the view on which the (...) character of such experiences is constituted by representation. But naïve realists must admit qualities or property instances as items of awareness if they are to remain wedded to common sense, and the nature of property-awareness may smuggle constitutive representation into the naïve realist account of character. I argue that whether property-awareness involves representation, and consequently whether naïve realism is distinct from representationalism or not, depends on what qualities are fundamentally. On universalist and nominalist accounts, property-awareness turns out to involve representation. Not so under tropism. (shrink)
New developments in biotechnology radically alter our relationship with our bodies. Body tissues can now be used for commercial purposes, while external objects, such as pacemakers, can become part of the body. Property in the Body: Feminist Perspectives transcends the everyday responses to such developments, suggesting that what we most fear is the feminisation of the body. We fear our bodies are becoming objects of property, turning us into things rather than persons. This book evaluates how well-grounded this fear is, (...) and suggests innovative models of regulating what has been called 'the new Gold Rush' in human tissue. This is an up-to-date and wide-ranging synthesis of market developments in body tissue, bringing together bioethics, feminist theory and lessons from countries that have resisted commercialisation of the body, in a theoretically sophisticated and practically significant approach. (shrink)
This paper puts forward the hypothesis that the distinctive features of quantum statistics are exclusively determined by the nature of the properties it describes. In particular, all statistically relevant properties of identical quantum particles in many-particle systems are conjectured to be irreducible, ‘inherent’ properties only belonging to the whole system. This allows one to explain quantum statistics without endorsing the ‘Received View’ that particles are non-individuals, or postulating that quantum systems obey peculiar probability distributions, or assuming that (...) there are primitive restrictions on the range of states accessible to such systems. With this, the need for an unambiguously metaphysical explanation of certain physical facts is acknowledged and satisfied. (shrink)
Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of an experience is wholly determined by its representational content is very attractive. Unfortunately, it is in conflict with some quite robust intuitions about the possibility of phenomenal spectrum inversion without misrepresentation. Faced with such a problem, there are the usual three options: reject intentionalism, discount the intuitions and deny that spectrum inversion without misrepresentation is possible, or find a way to reconcile the two by dissolving the apparent conflict. Sydney Shoemaker's (1994) (...) introduction of appearance properties is a particularly ingenious way of pursuing the third strategy, by maintaining that there is a representational difference between the phenomenally spectrum-inverted subjects.2 In introducing appearance properties, Shoemaker does two things: he identifies a theoretical role for some family of properties to play, and he suggests a family of properties as candidates to play that role. I'll argue that his proposed candidates do not play the role as well as we would like, suggest some new candidates, and argue that they do a better job. (shrink)
Revised and reprinted in Handbook of Philosophical Logic, volume 10, Dov Gabbay and Frans Guenthner (eds.), Dordrecht: Kluwer, (2003). -- Two sorts of property theory are distinguished, those dealing with intensional contexts property abstracts (infinitive and gerundive phrases) and proposition abstracts (‘that’-clauses) and those dealing with predication (or instantiation) relations. The first is deemed to be epistemologically more primary, for “the argument from intensional logic” is perhaps the best argument for the existence of properties. This argument is presented in (...) the course of discussing generality, quantifying-in, learnability, referential semantics, nominalism, conceptualism, realism, type-freedom, the first-order/higher-order controversy, names, indexicals, descriptions, Mates’ puzzle, and the paradox of analysis. Two first-order intensional logics are then formulated. Finally, fixed-point type-free theories of predication are discussed, especially their relation to the question whether properties may be identified with propositional functions. (shrink)
According to Essentialism, an object’s properties divide into those that are essential and those that are accidental. While being human is commonly thought to be essential to Socrates, being a philosopher plausibly is not. We can motivate the distinction by appealing—as we just did—to examples. However, it is not obvious how best to characterize the notion of essential property, nor is it easy to give conclusive arguments for the essentiality of a given property. In this paper, I elaborate on (...) these issues and explore the way in which essential properties behave in relation to other related properties, like sufficient-for-existence properties and individual essences. (shrink)
We investigate the general properties of general Bayesian learning, where “general Bayesian learning” means inferring a state from another that is regarded as evidence, and where the inference is conditionalizing the evidence using the conditional expectation determined by a reference probability measure representing the background subjective degrees of belief of a Bayesian Agent performing the inference. States are linear functionals that encode probability measures by assigning expectation values to random variables via integrating them with respect to the probability measure. (...) If a state can be learned from another this way, then it is said to be Bayes accessible from the evidence. It is shown that the Bayes accessibility relation is reflexive, antisymmetric and non-transitive. If every state is Bayes accessible from some other defined on the same set of random variables, then the set of states is called weakly Bayes connected. It is shown that the set of states is not weakly Bayes connected if the probability space is standard. The set of states is called weakly Bayes connectable if, given any state, the probability space can be extended in such a way that the given state becomes Bayes accessible from some other state in the extended space. It is shown that probability spaces are weakly Bayes connectable. Since conditioning using the theory of conditional expectations includes both Bayes’ rule and Jeffrey conditionalization as special cases, the results presented generalize substantially some results obtained earlier for Jeffrey conditionalization. (shrink)
When we say a certain rose is red, we seem to be attributing a property, redness, to it. But are there really such properties? If so, what are they like, how do we know about them, and how are they related to the objects which have them and the linguistic devices which we use to talk about them? This collection presents these ancient problems in a modern light. In particular, it makes accessible for the first time the most important (...) contributions to the contemporary controversy about the nature of properties. Those new to the subject will find the clearly-written introduction, by two experts in the field, an invaluable guide to the intricacies of this debate. The volume illustrates very well the aims and methods of modern metaphysics and show how a thorough understanding of the metaphysics of properties is crucial to most of analytic philosophy. (shrink)