A World of Tropes?

In Robrecht Vanderbeeken & Bart D'Hooghe (eds.), Worldviews, Science, and Us: Studies of Analytic Metaphysics. World Scientific Publishers (2010)


The revisionary metaphysician seemingly faces a seriously unfortunate dilemma where she is forced to choose between the Scylla of too little regimentation and the Charbydes of too much. Many take this to be an impossible dilemma, and regard it as a reductio against the revisionary framework itself. In this paper, I argue that the dilemma is not necessarily impossible. To be justified, ontological theorising must be regimented just enough. To escape the dilemma, therefore, the revisionary metaphysician must, to be able to answer the question: Why should one hold that the world is a world of tropes? first answer another question: Can revisionary theorising be regimented just enough? I will address both these questions in the order here indicated. I will suggest that the now popular truthmaker theory might, if added to a revisionary framework, offer the resources necessary to obtain just the right amount of regimentation for its revisionary ontological conclusions to be justified. The world is a world of tropes if (minimally) tropes can fulfil their truthmaking function. That tropes can fulfil their truthmaking function only tells us that the world could be a world of tropes, it does not tell us why we should prefer a theory of tropes as truthmakers to a theory of, say, states of affairs, however. I therefore end the paper with a discussion of the limits of theory comparison in revisionary ontology.

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Anna-Sofia Maurin
University of Gothenburg

References found in this work

Truth-Makers.Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons & Barry Smith - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 44 (3):287-321.
Truth­-Makers.Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons & Barry Smith - 2009 - Swiss Philosophical Preprints.
Particulars in Particular Clothing: Three Trope Theories of Substance.Peter Simons - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (3):553-575.

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