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Naturalistic Neutralism

ERI 149
Wednesday 9 January 2019 (11:00-12:30)

Philosophy Society Seminar Series 2018/19

  • Title: Naturalistic Neutralism
  • Speaker: Javier Cumpa (Madrid)

For more information please contact the convenor, Dr Nikk Effingham.


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. In this paper 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.

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