Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Property: what can be ascribed to an object in order to distinguish it from other objects. In philosophy, there is debate about whether properties exist or whether "bare particulars" exist. Expressions for properties are predicates. Not every predicate will refer to a property. See also quantification over properties, 2nd order logic, HOL, completeness.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

David M. Armstrong on Properties - Dictionary of Arguments

III 12
Properties/Armstrong: properties are always non-local! - E.g. "living in Australia" is not a property. - Relational properties may not be local either! ((s) Cf. >Properties/Chisholm).
III 14
Individuation/Individual/particulars/properties/Armstrong: It is likely that for every particular there is least one individuating conjunction of properties. - E.g. no property: "being one light-second away from proton A". - But: E.g. this is a property: "being one light-second away from a proton" would be correct. ((s) Generality).
III 83
Properties/Armstrong: properties are strictly identical in all different instantiations (universals) - therefore they are not all arbitrary predicates.
Pseudo-property: self-identity (not a universal). - Identity lends no causal or nomic force. >Identity.
III 114f
Properties/Armstrong: the state N(F,G) is also a 1st order relation. - If E.g. "to be a mass" is a property of properties, then "the property of 1 Kg to be a mass" will be a second order state (M(K) and this will, for reasons of symmetry, also be a 1st order property that is applied to 1st order particulars, just like this weight. >Laws/Armstrong, >Natural laws/Armstrong.
VsRealism of Properties/VsProperty realism: there is a risk of duplication and intermediate elements. - Armstrong late: skeptically Vs "property of being a mass".
III 141
Properties/Armstrong: a "property of being a property" is not desirable. - At least it is not a second order Humean regularity, - But it is used by Tooley when he assumes a universal law as second order law about laws. >Tooley.
III 145
Solution/Armstrong: We should rather introduce new properties than new laws.
III 163ff
Properties/Armstrong: if they are essential, then only in relation to a conceptual scheme. >Conceptual schemes.
- - -
II 5
Properties/Armstrong: categorical property = non-dispositional property. - But many properties are actually dispositional, E.g. "hard" as well as "flexible". - But dispositional properties cannot be reduced to categorical properties. >Dispositions/Armstrong.
II (c) 96
Properties/Categorical/Dispositional/Armstrong: there is a asymmetry between categorical/dispositional: dispositional properties require categorical properties in a way, in which categorical properties do not need dispositions. - It is possible that in a possible world things have only categorical properties without dispositional side. - According to Martin that would be a "lazy" world, because there would be no causality.
II (c) 102
MartinVsArmstrong: A world does not have to be so "busy" that every disposition would be manifested. (> 77 II)
II (c) 97
Properties/Nominalism/Martin/Place: properties are individuals! - Therefore there is no strict identity between different manifestations or occurrences of properties. - Instead: "exact similarity" - Causation: principle: "The same causes the same".
ArmstrongVs: 1st that's just a cosmic regularity and thus as a whole a cosmic coincident! >Regularity.
ArmstrongVs: 2md Per universals view: explains why the same property in the same circumstances produces the same effects (not just the same) - principle: "The identical causes the identical".
- - -
Martin III 168
Composition Model/Martin: Thesis: We should assume properties instead of parts. - The complex properties and dispositions and relations of the whole are composed of the simpler properties and relations and dispositions of the parts.
Martin III 169
Properties/Martin: Thesis: whatever the ultimate constituents (properties) of the nature should be, they are no purely qualitative properties or pure acts like any macroscopic or structural properties. ((s) Talking about "whatever" leads to the assumption of "roles", e.g. "causal role", >functional role" etc. Example "whatever plays the causal role of pain...").
Martin: The properties of merely assumed particles must be capable of more than is manifested. ((s) Cf. >Hidden parameters).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Armstrong I
David M. Armstrong
Meaning and Communication, The Philosophical Review 80, 1971, pp. 427-447
Handlung, Kommunikation, Bedeutung, Georg Meggle, Frankfurt/M. 1979

Armstrong II (a)
David M. Armstrong
Dispositions as Categorical States
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Armstrong II (b)
David M. Armstrong
Place’ s and Armstrong’ s Views Compared and Contrasted
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Armstrong II (c)
David M. Armstrong
Reply to Martin
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Armstrong II (d)
David M. Armstrong
Second Reply to Martin London New York 1996

Armstrong III
D. Armstrong
What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge 1983

Martin I
C. B. Martin
Properties and Dispositions
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Martin II
C. B. Martin
Replies to Armstrong and Place
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Martin III
C. B. Martin
Final Replies to Place and Armstrong
Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

Martin IV
C. B. Martin
The Mind in Nature Oxford 2010

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2023-03-29
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