Is it possible to get by with just one ontological category? We evaluate L.A. Paul's attempt to do so: the mereological bundletheory. The upshot is that Paul's attempt to construct a one category ontology may be challenged with some of her own arguments. In the positive part of the paper we outline a two category ontology with property universals and kind universals. We will also examine Paul's arguments against a version of universal bundletheory that (...) takes spatiotemporal co-location instead of compresence or coinstantiation as the feature by which we can identify genuine bundles. We compare this novel theory, bundletheory with kinds, and Paul's mereological bundletheory and apply them to a case study concerning entangled fermions and co-located bosons. (shrink)
It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundletheory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
In this paper, I explore several versions of the bundletheory and the substratum theory and compare them, with the surprising result that it seems to be true that they are equivalent (in a sense of 'equivalent' to be specified). In order to see whether this is correct or not, I go through several steps : first, I examine different versions of the bundletheory with tropes and compare them to the substratum theory with (...) tropes by going through various standard objections and arguing for a tu quoque in all cases. Emphasizing the theoretical role of the substratum and of the relation of compresence, I defend the claim that these views are equivalent for all theoretical purposes. I then examine two different versions of the bundletheory with universals, and show that one of them is, here again, equivalent to the substratum theory with universals, by examining how both views face the famous objection from Identity of Indiscernibles in a completely parallel way. It is only the second, quite extreme and puzzling, version of the bundletheory with universals that is not be equivalent to any other view; and the diagnosis of why this is so will show just how unpalatable the view is. Similarly, only a not-so-palatable version of the substratum theory is genuinely different from the other views; and here again it's precisely what makes it different that makes it less appealing. (shrink)
1. The BundleTheory I shall discuss is a theory about the nature of substances or concrete particulars, like apples, chairs, atoms, stars and people. The point of the BundleTheory is to avoid undesirable entities like substrata that allegedly constitute particulars. The version of the BundleTheory I shall discuss takes particulars to be entirely constituted by the universals they instantiate.' Thus particulars are said to be just bundles of universals. Together with (...) the claim that it is necessary that particulars have constituents, the fundamental claim of the BundleTheory is: (BT) Necessarily, for every particular x and every entity y, y constitutes x if and only ify is a universal and x instantiates y. 2 The standard and supposedly devastating objection to the BundleTheory is that it entails or is committed to a false version of the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles (Armstrong 1978: 91, Loux 1998: 107), namely: (Pll) Necessarily, for all particulars x and y and every universal z, if z is instantiated by x if and only if z is instantiated byy, then x is numerically identical with y. The most famous counterexample to the Identity of Indiscernibles is that put forward by Max Black, consisting of a world where there are only two iron spheres two miles apart from each other, having the same diameter, temperature, colour, shape, size, etc (Black 1952: 156). Let us from now on think of the properties of the spheres in this world as universals. The possibility of this world, which I shall hereafter refer to as 'Black's world', makes (Pll) false.' And according to common philosophical opinion this means that the BundleTheory is false.. (shrink)
This paper is an articulation and defense of a trope-bundletheory of material objects. After some background remarks about objects and tropes, I start the main defense in Section III by answering a charge frequently made against the bundletheory, namely that it commits a conceptual error by saying that properties are parts of objects. I argue that there’s a general and intuitive sense of “part” in which properties are in fact parts of objects. This leads (...) to the question of qualitative unity: in virtue of what are certain properties unified as parts of an object? In Section IV I defend an account of unity for complex material objects. It turns on the thesis that the properties of such objects are structural properties. After addressing some objections, I turn in Section V to the question of unity for simple material objects. Here a different and more radical account is needed, for simples, since they do not have structural properties, are not subsumed by the account of Section IV. I defend the view that a simple object just is a simple property, so that identity delivers the desired unity. (shrink)
Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundletheory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundletheory faces a variant (...) of the objection. To avoid the problem, the theory must accept the contingency of identity. I show how this can be achieved in a coherent and well-motivated way, a way that isn’t available to traditional bundle theories. (shrink)
Paul (Noûs 36:578–596, 2002; Noûs 40:623–659, 2006, The Handbook of Mereology, forthcoming) has argued for a bundletheory of objects that analyzes the bundling relation between properties and objects in terms of parthood relations. In this paper I argue that any mereological bundletheory with the explanatory power of Paul’s theory will entail the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII). This is problematic, since similar bundle theories seem to fall to Max Black’s two (...) sphere counterexample to (PII). I argue, however, that a fully developed mereological bundletheory provides a new way of interpreting Black’s two sphere universe that dispels the counterexample. I argue that this solution to Black’s puzzle is superior to other solutions on offer, and consequently that mereological bundletheory is an attractive ontological strategy for friends of (PII). (shrink)
The strongest version of the principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles states that of necessity, there are no distinct things with all their universals in common (where such putative haecceities as being Aristotle do not count as universals: I use 'universal' rather than 'property' here and in what follows for the simple reason that 'universal' is the term of art that most safely excludes haecceities from its instances). It is commonly supposed that Max Black's famous paper 'The identity of indiscernibles' (...) (2) refutes this thesis. (Armstong's , chapter 9 is representative here.) Black argues (, p. 156) that it is perfectly possible that there be a world consisting solely of two indiscernible spheres at some distance to each other and that this world constitutes a counterexample to the principle above. The strongest version of the bundletheory of substance claims that of necessity, the substances that make up the world are bundles of universals.1 It is commonly supposed that a consequence of Black's defeat of the principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles is that this bundletheory of substance is mistaken. (Again, Armstong's  is representative.) I shall argue that Black's thought experiment does not defeat the bundletheory and that, as a result, the bundletheory can be used to salvage the principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. (shrink)
My aim in this article is to contribute to the larger project of assessing the relative merits of different theories of substance. An important preliminary step in this project is assessing the explanatory resources of one main theory of substance, the so-called bundletheory. This article works towards such an assessment. I identify and explain three distinct explanatory challenges an adequate bundletheory must meet. Each points to a putative explanatory gap, so I call them (...) the Gap Challenges. I consider three bundle-theoretic strategies for meeting these challenges. I argue that none of them goes very far. The upshot is that, absent other strategies for meeting the challenges, bundletheory involves a significant amount of stipulation. This black box makes bundletheory relatively weak with respect to its explanatory power—unless, of course, rival theories of substance are unable to do better. (shrink)
The present essay provides a new metaphysical interpretation of Relational Quantum Mechanics in terms of mereological bundletheory. The essential idea is to claim that a physical system in RQM can be defined as a mereological fusion of properties whose values may vary for different observers. Abandoning the Aristotelian tradition centered on the notion of substance, I claim that RQM embraces an ontology of properties that finds its roots in the heritage of David Hume. To this regard, defining (...) what kind of concrete physical objects populate the world according to RQM, I argue that this theoretical framework can be made compatible with a property-oriented ontology, in which the notion of object can be easily defined, and moderate structural realism, a philosophical position where relations and relata are both fundamental. Finally, I conclude that under this reading relational quantum mechanics should be included among the full-fledged realist interpretations of quantum theory. (shrink)
Philosophical theories of the nature of concrete particulars come in two basic kinds, those according to which a concrete particular consists of properties and a bearer of those properties (a substratum), and those according to which a concrete particular consists only of its properties, in a relation of compresence or concurrence. Substrata are theoretical entities defined by their explanatory functions. As such, there is not much disagreement about their nature: they are propertyless, unobservable constituents of concrete particulars that are the (...) bearers of properties 1 and the individuators of distinct particulars. The situation is different with respect to properties. Among realists, some think properties are universals, either transcendent (Platonists) or immanent (Aristotelians), and some 2 think they are particulars (“tropes” ). Of the resultant possible positions on the nature of concrete particulars, six have been the focus of recent philosophical attention. These theories variously identify concrete particulars with (i) material substrata bearing transcendent universals, (ii) material substrata bearing immanent universals, (iii) material substrata bearing abstract particulars, (iv) bundles of transcendent universals, (v) bundles of immanent universals, and (vi) bundles of abstract particulars. (shrink)
Bundletheory takes objects to be bundles of properties. Some bundle theorists take objects to be bundles of instantiated universals, and some take objects to be bundles of tropes. Tropes are instances of properties: some take instantiated universals to be tropes, while others deny the existence of universals and take tropes to be ontologically fundamental. Historically, the bundling relation has been taken to be a primitive relation, not analyzable in terms of or ontologically reducible to some other (...) relation, and has been variously characterized as, e.g., “compresence,” “concurrence,” or “consubstantiation.” Bertrand Russell (1940) defends compresence of universals, and Hector-Neri Castañeda (1974) defends consubstantiation of universals. John Bacon (1995) defends concurrent tropes and Keith Campbell (1990) defends compresent tropes. Jonathan Schaffer (2001) bucks this trend, endorsing compresence understood as co-location in spacetime, but this brings with it undesireable consequences such as the impossibility of distinguishing between objects (such as electrons or other microentities) with the same location. Mereological bundletheory improves upon traditional bundletheory by taking the primitive relation of bundling to be the more familiar relation of fusing or composing, such that objects are fusions of properties or fusions of property instances. Hence, mereological bundle theorists endorse a property mereology: a mereology where properties or property instances can be parts of objects. An advantage of the approach derives from the fact that standard mereologies take composition to be primitive or define it using a different primitive mereological notion (such as primitive parthood). Thus, taking the basic primitive of bundletheory to be composition can reduce the need for.. (shrink)
In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundletheory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This (...) move reaps many benefits. Essential bundletheory delivers a simple theory of the essential properties of material objects; an explanation of how object coincidence can arise; an actual-world ground for modal differences between coincident objects; a simple story about intrinsic properties; and a plausible account of certain ubiquitous cases of causal overdetermination. (shrink)
Universal BundleTheory holds that objects are fundamentally identical with bundles of universals. Universals are multiply instantiable properties. One popular objection to UBT concerns the possibility of distinct indiscernibles. There are mainly two replies in the literature, corresponding to two representative UBTs, which I shall call the Identity-View and the Instance-View. Each view faces serious problems. This paper proposes a new version of UBT and argues that it is better than these other two versions.
Universal-BundleTheory is the view that every concrete particular is solely constituted by its universals. This theory is often criticized for not accommodating the possibility of symmetrical universes, such as one that contains two qualitatively identical spheres two meters from each other in otherwise empty space. One universal-bundle theoretic solution to this criticism holds that the fact that the spheres are weakly discernible in that they stand in the irreflexive and symmetric relation *being two meters from* (...) is sufficient for the numerical diversity of the spheres. For this solution to be effective, however, it should be established that weak discernibility not only necessitates but also explains numerical diversity. In this paper, I attempt to support this solution by arguing that the fact that two concrete particulars have a certain distance between them does explain why they are non-identical. (shrink)
The challenge of thick character consists in explaining the apparent fact that one object can be charactered in many ways. If we assume a trope bundletheory, we ought to answer in turn the two following questions: What are the requirements on a trope bundletheory if it is to adequately account for thick-character?; Is a trope bundletheory that meets those requirements preferable to rival theories? In order to address the above questions, the (...) paper proceeds as follows. In the first section I cover two preliminary matters: I introduce the concept of thick-character and distinguish it from other related concepts. Then, I sketch several leading accounts of character and situate bundletheory among them. Also, I pick up and argue that there are three requirements on a trope bundletheory if it is to adequately account for thick-character. Lastly, in the third section I pick up and argue that the requirements spell trouble for trope bundletheory. This trouble, I argue, indicates that trope bundletheory—and hence bundletheory simpliciter—fails to better its chief rival, substance-attribute theory. (shrink)
This paper provides a rational reconstruction of a Platonic trope bundletheory that is a live alternative to contemporary bundle theories. According to the theory, Platonic particulars are composed of what Plato calls images of Forms; contemporary metaphysicians call these tropes. Tropes are dependent on Forms and the Receptacle, while trope bundles are structured by natural kinds using the Phaedo's principles of inclusion and exclusion and the Timaeus’ geometrised elements, as well as by co-location in the (...) Receptacle. Key elements of discussion include persistence and abundance of Plato's tropes. The resulting theory is compared with contemporary trope bundle theories. (shrink)
A and B continue their conversation concerning the Identity of Indiscernibles. Both are aware of recent critiques of the principle that haven’t received replies; B summarizes those critiques, and A offers the replies that are due. B then raises a new worry.
Bundletheory reduces particulars to bundles of properties. Bundle theorists have been working to explain individuation within an ontology of repeatable properties, but the outcomes are not satisfactory. Even the trope approach toward properties is not capable of establishing individuation. This article argues that bundle theorists are wrong in searching for individuators within the bundles of properties. Rather, individuation should be established within ontologically more fundamental level of events. Events, with their spatial and temporal character, enable (...) us to individuate the bundles of properties involved and this is one of the reasons for the superiority of bundletheory to other competitive theories of substance. (shrink)
The challenge of thick character consists in explaining the apparent fact that one object can be charactered in many ways. If we assume a trope bundletheory, we ought to answer in turn the two following questions: What are the requirements on a trope bundletheory if it is to adequately account for thick-character?; Is a trope bundletheory that meets those requirements preferable to rival theories? In order to address the above questions, the (...) paper proceeds as follows. In the first section I cover two preliminary matters: I introduce the concept of thick-character and distinguish it from other related concepts. Then, I sketch several leading accounts of character and situate bundletheory among them. Also, I pick up and argue that there are three requirements on a trope bundletheory if it is to adequately account for thick-character. Lastly, in the third section I pick up and argue that the requirements spell trouble for trope bundletheory. This trouble, I argue, indicates that trope bundletheory—and hence bundletheory simpliciter —fails to better its chief rival, substance-attribute theory. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to make a bundletheory of objects consistentwith a temporal parts theory of object persistence. To that end,I propose that such bundles are made up of tropes includingthe co-instantiation relation.
In this article i defend the claim that an individual is no more and no less than a bundle of instances of properties against the following objections: (1) the concept of an instance of a property presupposes the concept of an individual. i argue that it presupposes only that no instance of a property exists independently of other instances. (2) if a thing were only a bundle of instances of properties, then properties would qualify properties. this objection commits (...) the fallacy of composition. (3) a bundle constituting an individual needs a component which is not a property to individuate it. i argue that such a bundle individuates itself. (4) the bundletheory makes change impossible. i argue against this claim by distinguishing a thing's numerical identity from its "complete" identity. (5) the bundletheory makes all true statements about individuals analytically true. i show that, at least for one interpretation of 'analytically true', this is not so. (shrink)
1 A particular may have other particulars as parts, but according to the bundletheory its ultimate constituents are confined to universals. Parts are different from constituents or components. A part is a type of constituent, but there are constituents that are not parts. Parts belong to the same general category as the whole: if a concrete particular has parts, those parts will themselves be concrete particulars. This is not always the case with constituents: the constituents of a (...) fact do not have to be facts and the constituents (or members) of a set do not have to be sets. The relation of “being a part of” is also transitive, whereas the relation of “being a constituent of” is not always transitive. If a particular has parts, such as atoms, then its constituents include its intrinsic properties, its atoms, and the arrangement relation. If an atom has parts, such as subatomic particles, then the constituents of the atom include its properties, the subatomic particles, and the arrangement universal. If it is like this all the way down without any termination (no bedrock), then the bundletheory says that at each stage there are only universals and ordinary particulars with parts, in other words there are no bare particulars. This approach should also work if there were arbitrary undetached parts that are real entities. The alternative to no bedrock is metaphysical atomism. There are two ways that metaphysical atomism could be true in classical mechanics: (1) if the ultimate constituents of matter are point particles — perhaps electrons are point particles, (2) if matter is continuously divisible and arbitrary undetached parts are not real entities or real parts. But it would be rash to say that these were the only two options for all theories. Point particles are a convenient kind of particular to think about when discussing the bundletheory. There could be just three properties bundled together, a certain mass, a certain charge, and the property of being point like.. (shrink)
If ordinary particulars are bundles of properties, and if properties are said to be universals, then three well-known objections arise : no particular can change, all particulars have all of their properties essentially (even the most insignificant ones), and there cannot be two numerically distinct but qualitatively indiscernible particulars. In this paper, I try to make a little headway on these issues and see how the objections can be met, if one accepts a certain view about persistence through time and (...) across possible worlds – namely, four-dimensionalism and its modal analogue. The paper is especially devoted to the second and third of the three objections. (shrink)
It has been suggested that distinct individuals can have exactly the same properties; thus individuals cannot be individuated by their properties, And so the bundletheory appears to be false. One way to shore up the bundletheory is to introduce impure properties, And I defend this move against some objections by d m armstrong, M loux, And j van cleve.
1 See for example, E. J. Lowe, The Possibility of Metaphysics, pp. 51-3, 210-220, and David Lewis, The Plurality of Worlds on the notion of concrete object. 2 The properties that are constituents of a particular should be intrinsic properties, though it need not be assumed that all its intrinsic properties are constituents. The notion of intrinsic property is easier if a sparse view (as opposed to an abundant view) of properties is assumed. A sparse view requires a criterion for (...) being a property, such as a causal principle (Shoemaker) or the related Eleatic principle (Armstrong). Intrinsic properties should be real properties. Such a criterion should rule out conjunctive properties, disjunctive properties, and negated properties. On the hand, it could be stipulated that these are not intrinsic properties. Those that believe in abundant properties should use the criterion to divide properties into two classes (natural and non-natural); intrinsic properties would then be located in the first class. Extrinsic properties are properties that an object possesses in virtue of other objects, their properties, and relations that involve them. If these other objects were to disappear all intrinsic properties would be unaffected. Intrinsic properties are non-relational in the sense that an object does not possesses them in virtue of other objects, their properties, and relations between them. However, intrinsic properties can be relational when an object possesses a (monadic) property in virtue of relations between its parts. Paradigmatic intrinsic properties are the mass, charge, magnetic moment, and spin of the electron as normally understood. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Jiri Benovsky argues that the bundletheory and the substratum theory, traditionally regarded as ‘deadly enemies’ in the metaphysics literature, are in fact ‘twin brothers’. That is, they turn out to be ‘equivalent for all theoretical purposes’ upon analysis. The only exception, according to Benovsky, is a particular version of the bundletheory whose distinguishing features render unappealing. In the present reply article, I critically analyse these undoubtedly relevant claims, and reject (...) them. (shrink)
ABSTRACTI present a new objection to BundleTheory. The objection rests on the repeatability of universals, and targets every version of BundleTheory that assumes that concrete particulars constituted by the same universals are numerically identical. The only way that bundle theorists can elude this objection is to admit the possibility of distinct bundles constituted by the same universals. If even this view is untenable, then BundleTheory as such is hopeless. Finally, I (...) show how the present inquiry reshapes the dialectical relationship between BundleTheory and the principle of Identity of Indiscernibles. (shrink)
One of the most serious theoretical obstacles to contemporary spacetime substantivalism is Earman and Norton's hole argument. We argue that applying the bundletheory of substance to spacetime points allows spacetime substantivalists to escape the conclusion of this argument. Some philosophers have claimed that the bundletheory cannot be applied to substantival spacetime in this way due to problems in individuating spacetime points in symmetrical spacetimes. We demonstrate that it is possible to overcome these difficulties if (...) spatiotemporal properties are viewed as tropes rather than universals. (shrink)
In this paper i argue that the bundle-theory, the theory that substance is nothing but a collection of qualities, bristles with difficulties. i show that a conjunction of the so-called essential qualities would primarily yield a conception not of an individual substance socrates, for instance, but of a species, i.e., the concept 'man', and that only the addition of some uniquely determining accidental qualities to the essential ones would yield an individual substance. but, then, these accidental qualities (...) and infinite in number and are therefore only potential and unknowable. thus, the "bundle" can never be 'actualized'. nor can the notion of substance be eliminated in favor of descriptions, since these should include negative descriptions which are infinite in number because expressible in terms of the whole universe. since not all descriptions apply to a thing, where they do, they must have been antecedantly 'derived' from that thing. hence, i conclude that there are grounds for at least a limited defense of a substance ontology. (shrink)
According to constitutive reductionism of Derek Parfit, a subject/person is not a separate existing being but his existence consists in the existence of a brain and body, performance of actions, thinking and occurrence of other physical and mental events. The identity of the subject in time comes down only to “Relation R” - mental consistency and/or connectedness – elicited by appropriate reasons. In the following article, I will try, relying on Frank Johnson's Knowledge Argument, to argue in favour of the (...) following conclusions: a person/subject is a “fact”irreducible to body and physical relations with the environment and a subject is something/”fact” non-reducible to mental occurrences. (shrink)
In a series of publications, L. A. Paul has defended a version of the bundletheory according to which material objects are nothing but mereological sums of ‘their’ properties. This ‘mereological’ bundletheory improves in important ways on earlier bundle theories, but here I present a new argument against it. The argument is roughly this: Material objects occupy space; even if properties have spatial characteristics, they do not quite occupy space; on no plausible construal of (...) mereological composition does a mereological sum of non-space-occupying entities occupy space; therefore, material objects are not mereological sums of properties. (shrink)
I argue, First, That the bundletheory is compatible with certain views of mental states as alterations in an underlying substance. Then I distinguish between momentary and enduring experiencers and argue that the bundletheory does not imply the possibility of experiences apart from experiencers, But at most apart from enduring experiencers. Finally, I reject strawson's claim that the bundletheory implies that some particular person's experience might instead have belonged to some other person. (...) Regarding experiences as events rather than peculiar sorts of particulars facilitates each of these points. (shrink)
I want to defend the “bundletheory” of mind from two criticisms which are sometimes levelled against it. The criticisms rest on the claim that particular experiences are “individuated” by the experiencer who has those experiences. One of these criticisms is that while it is logically impossible that there be an experience which is not had by some sentient or cognizant being, acceptance of the bundletheory would entail admission of the possibility of experiences without experiencers. (...) The other criticism is one which has been raised at least with respect to the most plausible form of the bundletheory. It is directed at that view which analyzes the conditions for an experience's membership in a given person's mind in terms of some external relationship between an experience and that particular person's body. The objection is, once again, that the view in question is committed to regarding as logically possible something which is in fact logically impossible. (shrink)
Whether the mind is thought to be physical or non-physical, philosophers generally agree that there is an intimate connection between the mind and the self. Dualists have always maintained that the person is his mind and that he just happens to have a particular body. There has also been support for this in classical and contemporary literature on personal identity in the discussions of numerous hypothetical cases involving the transfer of “mental contents” from one body to another, often in the (...) form of “brain transplants”. In connection with each case the following question was raised: Does mental continuity guarantee that one will be the same person or is spatio-temporal continuity necessary? Most philosophers have thought that spatio-temporal continuity is not necessary, but that mental continuity is. Finally, very recently there has been much interest in two types of abnormal phenomena—the “split-brain” and multiple personalities—which give indications of there being more than one mental stream associated with a single body and, as a result, philosophers discussing these phenomena have thought that there is good reason to think of there being more than one self involved in such cases. (shrink)