Substance and Attribute

Substance and Attribute : A Study in Ontology

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In this book I address a dichotomy that is as central as any in ontology - that between ordinary objects or substances and the various attributes (Le. , properties, kinds, and relations) we associate with them. My aim is to arrive at the correct philosophical account of each member of the dichotomy. What I shall argue is that the various attempts to understand substances or attri butes in reductive terms fail. Talk about attributes, I shall try to show, is just that - talk about attributes; and, likewise, talk about substances is just tha- talk about substances. The result is what many will find a strange combina tion of views - a Platonistic theory of attributes, where attributes are univer sals or multiply exemplifiable entities whose existence is independent of "the world of flux", and an Aristotelian theory of substance, where substances are basic unities not reducible to metaphysically more fundamental kinds of things. Part One is concerned with the ontology of attributes. After distinguishing three different patterns of metaphysical thinking about attributes, I examine, in turn, the phenomena of predication, resemblance, and higher order quanti fication. I argue that none of these phenomena by itself is sufficient to establish the inescapability of a Platonistic interpretation of attributes. Then, I discuss the phenomenon of abstract reference as it is exhibited in the use of abstract singular terms.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 188 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 18.54mm | 1,030g
  • Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1978 ed.
  • XI, 188 p.
  • 9027709262
  • 9789027709264

Table of contents

One: Attributes.- One/Attribute-Agreement and the Problem of Universals.- I. Attribute-Agreement: Three Interpretations.- II. Attribute-Agreement: The Nature of the Debate.- Two/Predication and Universals.- I. Realism and Predication.- II. Alleged Counter-Examples to (I).- III. The Alleged Circularity of (I).- IV. (I) and Infinite Regresses.- V. The Reference of Predicate-Terms.- VI. The Truth of Subject-Predicate Discourse.- Three/Resemblance and Universals.- I. The Alleged Non-Eliminability of Resemblance.- II. The Alleged Incompleteness of Resemblance-Claims.- III. The Ground of Resemblance.- Four/Abstract Reference and Universals.- I. Higher Level Quantification.- II. Abstract Singular Terms.- III. Extreme Nominalism and Abstract Singular Terms.- IV. Nominalism and Abstract Singular Terms.- V. The Metalinguistic Interpretation of Abstract Singular Terms.- VI. Conclusion.- Five/Towards A Realistic Ontology.- I. The Existence of Universals.- II. Universals as Necessary Beings.- III. More Platonism.- IV. The Identity-Conditions for Universals.- V. How Many Universals Are There?.- VI. Conclusion.- Two: Substances.- Six/Two theories of substance.- I. Bare Substrata.- II. Bundles, Clusters, and Collections.- III. Problems in the Bundle Theory: Bare Substrata Revisited.- Seven/The Bundle Theory.- I. The Contingency of Substance.- II. Identity and Change.- III. Subject-Predicate Discourse.- IV. The Identity of Indiscernibles.- V. Russell's Way Out.- Eight/Bare Substrata.- I. The Introduction of Bare Substrata.- II. Empiricism and Bare Substrata.- III. The Inconsistency of Substratum Ontologies.- IV. Bare Substrata and Essential Properties.- V. Modified Substrata and Individuation.- Nine/Towards A Substance-Theory Of Substance.- I. The Dilemma of Individuation.- II. Substances and Their Kinds.- III. A Substance-Theory of Substance.- IV. Essentialism.- V. Substances and Their Parts.- VI. Genera and Species.- VII. Individual Essences.- Epilogue.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.
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