Universals

Edited by Gabriele Contessa (Carleton University)
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  1. The Metaphysical Significance of the Ugly-Duckling Theorem.Ben Blumson - manuscript
    According to Satosi Watanabe's "theorem of the ugly duckling", the number of predicates satisfied by any two different particulars is a constant, which does not depend on the choice of the two particulars. If the number of predicates satisfied by two particulars is their number of properties in common, and the degree of resemblance between two particulars is a function of their number of properties in common, then it follows that the degree of resemblance between any two different particulars is (...)
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  2. Figure..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
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  3. Qualia and the Problem of Universals.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In this paper I explore the logical relationship between the question of the reality of qualia and the problem of universals. I argue that nominalism is inconsistent with the existence of qualia, and that realism either implies or makes plausible the existence of qualia. Thus, one's position on the existence of qualia is strongly constrained by one's answer to the problem of universals.
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  4. Recognizing Intentions in Infant-Directed Speech: Evidence for Universals.H. Clark Barrett With Bryant & A. G. - manuscript
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  5. Some Questions About the Exemplification Tie Between Universals and Particulars.Jeff Grupp - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 21.
    A connection between things and properties is required to hold things and properties together. Exemplification is such a connection. Exemplification is usually considered primitive, and therefore analysis of exemplification is nearly absent from the literature. I maintain that exemplification might not be primitive; and in giving a description of exemplification, I point out a new problem having to do with the issue of how things are tied to properties.
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  6. Mathematical Structures, Universals, and Singular Terms.Bahram Assadian - forthcoming - In B. Assadian N. Kürbis (ed.), Knowledge, Number, and Reality; Encounters with the Work of Keith Hossack. London, UK: pp. 203-216.
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  7. Predicazione, anafora e proprietà.Francesco F. Calemi - forthcoming - Paradigmi.
    Many realists and nominalists, guided by a specific interpretation of the nature of the debate concerning the existence of properties, agree in holding that predicative sentences of the form «a is F» – whereas the schematic letters «a» and «F» stand for, respectively, a name of a particular and a general term –, taken by themselves alone, don’t commit us to the existence of properties. In this paper I’ll take into account the main versions of realism and nominalism that assume (...)
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  8. The Multi-Location Trilemma.Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    The possibility of multilocation --- of one entity having more than one exact location --- is required by several metaphysical theories such as the immanentist theory of universals and three-dimensionalism about persistence. One of the most pressing challenges for multi-location theorists is that of making sense of exact location --- in that extant definitions of exact location entail a principle called Functionality, according to which nothing can have more than one exact location. Recently in a number of promising papers, Antony (...)
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  9. Musical Works as Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    In the ontology of music the Aristotelian theory of musical works is the view that musical works are immanent universals. The Aristotelian theory is an attractive and serviceable hypothesis. However, it is overlooked as a genuine competitor to the more well-known theories of Musical Platonism and nominalism. Worse still, there is no detailed account in the literature of the nature of the universals that the Aristotelian identifies musical works with. In this paper, I argue that the best version of Musical (...)
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  10. Whole Multiple Location and Universals.Daniel Giberman - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  11. Whole Multiple Location and Universals.Daniel Giberman - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  12. Whole Multiple Location and Universals.Daniel Giberman - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    According to the broadly Aristotelian distinction between universals and particulars, all and only the former are capable of whole multiple location. The present essay defends this distinction against four putative counterexamples. The first two, extended simple material objects and enduring time traveling self-meeters, putatively are wholly multiply locatable, but not universals. The second two, unique properties of point-sized entities and Platonic (i.e. not spatiotemporally located) universals, putatively are universals, but not wholly multiply locatable. The defensive strategy is to resist certain (...)
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  13. Whole Multiple Location and Universals.Daniel Giberman - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  14. The Fundamentality and Non-Fundamentality of Ontological Categories.Jani Hakkarainen - forthcoming - In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Jonathan Lowe and Ontology. Routledge.
    In this paper, I propose a solution to an almost ignored problem in metaphysics and metametaphysics: what is categorial fundamentality and non-fundamentality? My proposal builds on E. J. Lowe’s view on the issue. By means of the newcomer notion of generic identity, I can give an account of something that Lowe did not explicate: the constitution of formal ontolog- ical relations. Formal ontological relations (e.g. instantiation) are internal relations that deter- mine ontological form and category-membership. I argue that categorial fundamentality (...)
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  15. Nominalist Relationalism About Ontological Categories and Forms.Jani Hakkarainen - forthcoming - In Javier Cumpa (ed.), Categorial Ontologies. Routledge.
    In this paper, I first argue for a relational account of the concept of ontological form and its difference from being. The former is explicated by the concepts of character-neutral internal relation and existence or being and that the ontological forms of entities consist in these formal ontological relations in which the entities stand. Secondly, I apply this account to ontological categories and their membership-determination, existence and reality. Here I also defend a relational view that categories are construed as pluralities (...)
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  16. Classifications.Ludger Jansen - forthcoming - Applied Ontology: An Introduction.
    It has long been a standard practice for the natural sciences to classify things. Thus, it is no wonder that, for two and a half millennia, philosophers have been reflecting on classifications, from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary philosophy of science. Some of the results of these reflections will be presented in this chapter. I will start by discussing a parody of a classification, namely: the purportedly ancient Chinese classification of animals described by Jorge Luis Borges. I will show that (...)
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  17. Gersonides and Spinoza on God’s Knowledge of Universals and Particulars.Yitzhak Melamed - forthcoming - In Gad Freudenthal, David Wirmer & Ofer Elior (eds.), Gersonides Through the Ages.
  18. Bill, Bowl, and Ball. A Tale of Disjunctive Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Studium Philosophicum.
    The existence of disjunctive properties has been put in question by many philosophers. In this article, I shall offer an argument for the existence of such properties. I shall show that they are required in order to ground certain objective and unique resemblances between things. In Section 1, I develop the argument by presenting a toy example involving three entities: a red fish (Bill), a glass and round fish bowl (Bowl), and a red ball (Ball). In Section 2, I deal (...)
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  19. A Brighter Shade of Categoricalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-30.
    Categoricalism is a doctrine about properties according to which the dispositional aspects of properties are not essential to them. In opposition to categoricalism, dispositionalism holds that the dispositional aspects of properties are essential to them. In this article, I shall construct a new version of categoricalism that should be favoured over the other existing versions: Semi-Necessitarian Categoricalism. In Section 2 I shall elaborate on the distinction between categoricalism and dispositionalism and single out different ‘shades’ of both doctrines. I shall also (...)
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  20. A Dilemma About Kinds and Kind Terms.T. Parent - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 12):2987-3006.
    'The kind Lion' denotes a kind. Yet many generics are thought to denote kinds also, like the subject-terms in 'The lion has a mane', 'Dinosaurs are extinct', and 'The potato was cultivated in Ireland by the end of the 17th century.' This view may be adequate for the linguist's overall purposes--however, if we limit our attention to the theory of reference, it seems unworkable. The problem is that what is often predicated of kinds is not what is predicated of the (...)
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  21. Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is (...)
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  22. Generality.Nils Kürbis - 2022 - In Nils Kürbis, Jonathan Nassim & Bahram Assadian (eds.), Knowledge, Number and Reality. Encounters with the Work of Keith Hossack. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 161-176.
    Hossack's 'The Metaphysics of Knowledge' develops a theory of facts, entities in which universals are combined with universals or particulars, as the foundation of his metaphysics. While Hossack argues at length that there must be negative facts, facts in which the universal 'negation' is combined with universals or particulars, his conclusion that there are also general facts, facts in which the universal 'generality' is combined with universals, is reached rather more swiftly. In this paper I present Hossack with three arguments (...)
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  23. A Problem for Immanent Universals in States of Affairs.Michael J. Raven - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):1-9.
    This paper raises a problem for the pair of views that universals are immanent in their instantiations and that these instantiations, or states of affairs, are somehow constructed from the instantiated universals. It is argued that the pair is inconsistent. The first view implies that universals are prior to states of affairs, whereas the second view implies that states of affairs are prior to universals. This paper does not attempt to solve this problem, but rather to formulate it precisely. That (...)
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  24. Slot Theory and Slotite Theory.Nikk Effingham - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (1):17-35.
    ‘Instantiation-directed slot theorists’ believe that properties/relations have slots which are filled by their instances/relata e.g., where Abigail is taller than Bronia, there are two slots in the relation Taller Than such that Abigail fills the first slot and Bronia fills the second. This crude statement of the theory runs into ‘The Problem of Filling’, whereby a natural understanding of the relation between slots, filling, and instantiation leads to absurd results. This paper examines a variety of solutions to that problem, one (...)
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  25. Étienne Balibar, On Universals: Constructing and Deconstructing Community.Ekin Erkan - 2021 - Philosophy Today 65 (4):971-978.
    Review of Etienne Balibar's On Universals with an eye towards Balibar's Hegelianism and work on translation.
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  26. Should a Higher-Order Metaphysician Believe in Properties?David Liggins - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10017-10037.
    In this paper I take second order-quantification to be a sui generis form of quantification, irreducible to first-order quantification, and I examine the implications of doing so for the debate over the existence of properties. Nicholas K. Jones has argued that adding sui generis second-order quantification to our ideology is enough to establish that properties exist. I argue that Jones does not settle the question of whether there are properties because—like other ontological questions—it is first-order. Then I examine three of (...)
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  27. Bare Particulars, Modes, and the Varieties of Dependence.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    Within some ontological theories, bare or thin particulars are the “kernel” of ordinary substances and they are supposed to clarify some key features of the latter, including their nature. In this article, I wish to offer a new theory of bare particulars, based on an interpretation of properties as modes and on a new reading of the dependence relations holding among entities in terms of respects of dependence. In Section 1, I shall introduce bare particulars, modes and respects of dependence. (...)
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  28. Universals in Ontological Investigations.Roberto Pinzani - 2021 - Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 2 (2):41-46.
    Universals appear to be as central in today's computational-based ontology as they were in medieval ontological investigations. As the author of a recent work on the history of universals (Pinzani, 2018), I was asked for a commentary on Augusto’s article “Bridging Mainstream and Formal Ontology” (Augusto, 2021), which aims at showing that medieval ontological investigations can be relevant for contemporary ontology engineering. In this commentary, I begin by saying something about my way of reading 12th-century logical literature and then offer (...)
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  29. Tropes, Universals and Visual Phenomenology.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2021 - Theoria 87 (2):435-456.
    Both philosophers of perception and analytic metaphysicians apply the tropes/universals distinction when considering the ontological status of visual properties. One way of arguing in favor of the trope interpretation of visual properties is to claim that the way in which we visually experience properties makes it plausible to characterize them as tropes. In this paper, I argue for a different position, namely that the way in which we visually experience properties provides a serious challenge for the trope interpretation, but not (...)
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  30. Platonism and the Objects of Science.Scott Berman - 2020 - London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.
    What are the objects of science? Are they just the things in our scientific experiments that are located in space and time? Or does science also require that there be additional things that are not located in space and time? Using clear examples, these are just some of the questions that Scott Berman explores as he shows why alternative theories such as Nominalism, Contemporary Aristotelianism, Constructivism, and Classical Aristotelianism, fall short. He demonstrates why the objects of scientific knowledge need to (...)
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  31. COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human.Jack Black - 2020 - Contours: Journal of the SFU Humanities Institute (10):1-10.
    What the COVID-19 pandemic serves to reveal is the inherent limitations and contradictions of a symbolic order that must now be perceived via an “impossible subjectivity”: what this essay will refer to as the “in-human.” (Zizek, 2020). Indeed, this in-human perspective transpires not through our fetishization of the virus, as some form of justification for humanity’s impact on the world, but from a position of impossibility that renders “the whole situation into which we are included.” (Monbiot, 2020; Zizek, 2020). It (...)
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  32. Divine Drama or Divine Disclosure? Hell, Universalism, and a Parting of the Ways.Roberto J. De La Noval - 2020 - Modern Theology 36 (1):201-210.
  33. Mereological Nominalism.Nikk Effingham - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):160-185.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  34. Abstracta and Abstraction in Trope Theory.A. R. J. Fisher - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (1):41-67.
    Trope theory is a leading metaphysical theory in analytic ontology. One of its classic statements is found in the work of Donald C. Williams who argued that tropes qua abstract particulars are the very alphabet of being. The concept of an abstract particular has been repeatedly attacked in the literature. Opponents and proponents of trope theory alike have levelled their criticisms at the abstractness of tropes and the associated act of abstraction. In this paper I defend the concept of a (...)
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  35. D.M. Armstrong: Sydney's Most Distinguished Philosopher: Life and Work.James Franklin - 2020 - Sydney Realist 41:1-6.
    David Armstrong (1926-2014) was much the most internationally successful philosopher to come from Sydney. His life moved from a privileged Empire childhood and student of John Anderson to acclaimed elder statesman of realist philosophy. His philosophy developed from an Andersonian realist inheritance to major contributions on materialist theory of mind and the theory of universals. His views on several other topics such as religion and ethics are surveyed briefly.
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  36. The One Over Many Principle of Republic 596a.José Edgar González-Varela - 2020 - Apeiron 53 (4):339-361.
    Republic 596a introduces a One over Many principle that has traditionally been considered as an argument for the existence of Forms, according to which, one Form should be posited for each like-named plurality. This interpretation was challenged by (Smith, J. A. 1917. “General Relative Clauses in Greek.” Classical Review 31: 69–71.), who interpreted it rather as a statement that each Form is unique and correlated to a plurality of things that have the same name as it. (Sedley, D. 2013. “Plato (...)
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  37. Platonic Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):365-381.
    David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent, laws are relations between universals, and laws govern. Taken together, they form an attractive position, for they promise to explain regularities in nature—one of the most important desiderata for a theory of laws and properties—while remaining compatible with naturalism. However, I argue that the three theses are incompatible. The basic idea is that each thesis makes an explanatory claim, but the three claims can be shown to run in a problematic (...)
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  38. Paraphrasing Away Properties with Pluriverse Counterfactuals.Jack Himelright - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10883-10902.
    In this paper, I argue that for the purposes of ordinary reasoning, sentences about properties of concrete objects can be replaced with sentences concerning how things in our universe would be related to inscriptions were there a pluriverse. Speaking loosely, pluriverses are composites of universes that collectively realize every way a universe could possibly be. As such, pluriverses exhaust all possible meanings that inscriptions could take. Moreover, because universes necessarily do not influence one another, our universe would not be any (...)
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  39. Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    2020 update of the entry "Properties".
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  40. Against Conjunctive Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35:421-437.
    I put in question in this article the existence of conjunctive properties. In the second section, after having provided a characterization of conjunctive properties, I develop an argument based on the principle of ontological parsimony: if we accept that there are conjunctive properties in the universe then, ceteris paribus, our ontology turns out to be less ontologically parsimonious than if we reject them. Afterwards, in the third section, I distinguish between maximalist and non-maximalist and reductionist and non-reductionist theories of conjunctive (...)
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  41. Emergence and Structural Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Synthese (9):1-24.
    I present in this article a new theory of structural properties or, more precisely, of structural kinds, such as being methane. According to this theory, structural kinds are kinds that are both emergent and sustained in their existence. In the first section, I introduce structural properties and four problems that affect the most widely held conception of them, namely, the pictorial conception. In the second section, I introduce some theses about emergence, powers, emergent powers, relations and structures that I have (...)
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  42. Searching for a Universal Ethic: Multidisciplinary, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Responses to the Catholic Natural Law Tradition. Edited by John Berkman and William C. MattisonIII. Pp. Xi, 327. Grand Rapids/Cambridge, Eerdmans, 2014, £23.99/$35.00. [REVIEW]Patrick Riordan - 2020 - Heythrop Journal 61 (2):362-364.
  43. Higher-Order Metaphysics and the Tropes Versus Universals Dispute.Lukas Skiba - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2805-2827.
    Higher-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of higher-order rather than first-order quantifiers. They claim two types of advantages for this way of formulating property realism. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism versus transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved. Second, a further such debate, the tropes versus universals dispute, is taken to be resolved. In this paper I first argue that higher-order realism does not in (...)
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  44. Replies.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiries 1 (8):199-222.
    This paper responds to the contributions by Alexander Bird, Nathan Wildman, David Yates, Jennifer McKitrick, Giacomo Giannini & Matthew Tugby, and Jennifer Wang. I react to their comments on my 2015 book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, and in doing so expands on some of the arguments and ideas of the book.
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  45. Partial Resemblance and Property Immanence.Paul Audi - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):884-903.
  46. An Argument Against Aristotelian Universals.Damiano Costa - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4331-4338.
    I provide an argument against the Aristotelian view of universals, according to which universals depend for their existence on their exemplifiers. The argument consists in a set of five jointly inconsistent assumptions. As such, the argument can be used to argue in favour of other conclusions, such as that exemplification is no relation or that plausible principles concerning ontological dependence or grounding do not hold.
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  47. Nominalism.Ghislain Guigon - 2019 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    ‘Nominalism’ refers to a family of views about what there is. The objects we are familiar with (e.g. hands, laptops, cookies, and trees) can be characterized as concrete and particular. Nominalists agree that there are such things. But one group of nominalists denies that anything is non-particular and another group denies that anything is non-concrete. These two sorts of nominalism, referred to as ‘nominalism about universals’ and ‘nominalism about abstract objects’, have common motivations in contemporary philosophy.
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  48. How to Engage in Practices of Critique? From a Universal Conception of the Good Life to the Contestation of Universals.Annemarije Hagen - 2019 - Krisis 39 (1):2-14.
    Critical social theories examine social arrangements from the point of view of the obstacles that these structures pose to human flourishing, with the purpose of bringing about social change for the better. In this article, I contest the idea that these changes have to be guided by an idea of the good society. I argue that actual struggles are not guided by abstract ethical representations of the good life, but more negatively, by contestation of the limits of articulated universals by (...)
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  49. Bundle Theory with Kinds.Markku Keinänen & Tuomas E. Tahko - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):838-857.
    Is it possible to get by with just one ontological category? We evaluate L.A. Paul's attempt to do so: the mereological bundle theory. 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 bundle theory that takes spatiotemporal co-location instead (...)
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  50. Temporary and Contingent Instantiation as Partial Identity.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (5):763-780.
    ABSTRACT An apparent objection against my theory of instantiation as partial identity is that identity is necessary, yet instantiation is often contingent. To rebut the objection, I show how it can make sense that identity is contingent. I begin by showing how it can make sense that identity is temporary. I rely heavily on Andre Gallois’s formal theory of occasional identity, but argue that there is a gap in his explanation of how his formalisms make sense that needs to be (...)
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