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A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7570-2697
2015 (English)In: Dialectica, ISSN 0012-2017, E-ISSN 1746-8361, Vol. 69, no 1, 10.1111/1746-8361.12086Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

I here defend a theory consisting of four claims about “property” and properties, and argue that they form a coherent whole that can solve various serious problems. The claims are: (1) “property” is defined by the principles (PR): “F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property of x iff F(x)” and (PA): “F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property”; (2) the function of “property” is to increase the expressive power of English, roughly by mimicking quantification into predicate position; (3) property talk should be understood at face value: apparent commitments are real and our apparently literal use of “property” is really literal; (4) there are no properties. In virtue of (1)-(2), this is a deflationist theory and in virtue of (3)-(4), it is an error theory. (1) is fleshed out as a claim about understanding conditions, and it is argued at length, and by going through a number of examples, that it satisfies a crucial constraint on meaning claims: all facts about “property” can be explained, together with auxiliary facts, on its basis. Once claim (2) has been expanded upon, I argue that the combination of (1)-(3) provides the means for handling several problems: (i) they help giving a happy-face solution to what I call the paradox of abstraction (basically that “x has the property of being F” and “x is F” seem equivalent yet different in ontological commitments), (ii) they form part of a plausible account of the correctness of committive sentences, and, most importantly, (iii) they help respond to various indispensability arguments against nominalism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, 2015. Vol. 69, no 1, 10.1111/1746-8361.12086
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145307DOI: 10.1111/1746-8361.12086OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145307DiVA: diva2:1128328
Available from: 2017-07-25 Created: 2017-07-25 Last updated: 2017-07-25

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