Quidditism without quiddities
- Dustin Locke
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Structuralism and quidditism are competing views of the metaphysics of property individuation: structuralists claim that properties are individuated by their nomological roles; quidditists claim that they are individuated by something else. This paper (1) refutes what many see as the best reason to accept structuralism over quidditism and (2) offers a methodological argument in favor of a quidditism. The standard charge against quidditism is that it commits us to something ontologically otiose: intrinsic aspects of properties, so-called ‘quiddities’. Here I grant that quiddities are ontologically otiose, but deny that quidditism requires them. According to a view I call ‘austere quidditism’, properties are individuated by bare numerical identity. I argue that, as far as ontological parsimony is concerned, austere quidditism and structuralism are on a par. But is austere quidditism a coherent alternative to structuralism? To see that it is, we must get clear on what exactly we mean by ‘property individuation’. What we discover is that structuralism is a counterpart theory for properties, and that austere quidditism is simply the rejection of counterpart theory. I conclude with a methodological argument to the effect that counterpart theory for properties ought to be rejected. This paper begins by situating the debate between structuralists and quidditists within the context of a debate over the epistemic limits of fundamental science. At the center of this debate is David Lewis’s posthumously published ‘Ramseyan Humility’ (2008). In the appendix I explain the precise role of austere quidditism in Lewis’s argument.
- Armstrong, D. (1989). A combinatorial theory of possibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
- Armstrong, D. (1997). A world of states of affairs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRef
- Bird, A. (2007). Nature’s metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
- Black, R. (2000). Against quidditism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 78, 87–104. CrossRef
- Efird, D., & Stoneham, T. (2008). What is the principle of recombination? Dialectica, 62, 483–494. CrossRef
- Ellis, B., & Lierse, C. (1994). Dispositional essentialism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 72, 27–45. CrossRef
- Gibbard, A. (1975). Contingent identity. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 4, 187–221. CrossRef
- Harré, R., & Madden, E. M. (1975). Causal powers: A theory of natural necessity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
- Hawthorne, J. (2001). Causal structuralism. Philosophical Perspectives, 15, 361–368.
- Kistler, M. (2002). The causal criterion of reality and the necessity of laws of nature. Metaphysica, 3, 57–86.
- Langton, R. (2004). Elusive knowledge of things in themselves. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 82, 129–136. CrossRef
- Lewis, D. (1975). Attitudes De Dicto and De Se. The Philosophical Review, 88, 513–543.
- Lewis, D. (1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd.
- Lewis, D. (2008). Ramseyan Humility. In D. Braddon-Mitchell & R. Nola (Eds.), Conceptual analysis and philosophical naturalism. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Locke, D. (2008). A partial defense of Ramseyan Humility. In D. Braddon-Mitchell & R. Nola (Eds.), Conceptual analysis and philosophical naturalism. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Lowe, E. J. (2010). On the individuation of powers. In A. Marmodoro (Ed.), The metaphysics of powers. New York: Routledge.
- Mellor, D. H. (1974). In defense of dispositions. The Philosophical Review, 83, 157–181. CrossRef
- Mellor, D. H. (1982). Counting corners correctly. Analysis, 42, 96–97. CrossRef
- Molnar, G. (2003). Powers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Ramsey, F. P. (1929). Theories. In R. B. Braithwaite (Ed.), Foundations of mathematics (1931). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
- Robinson, D. (1993). Epiphenomenalism, laws & properties. Philosophical Studies, 69, 1–34. CrossRef
- Schaffer, J. (2005). Quiddistic knowledge. Philosophical Studies, 123, 1–32. CrossRef
- Shoemaker, S. (1984). Causality and properties. In Identity, cause, and mind (pp. 206–233). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Shoemaker, S. (1998). Causal and metaphysical necessity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 79, 59–77. CrossRef
- Swoyer, C. (1982). The nature of natural laws. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 60, 203–223. CrossRef
- Whittle, A. (2006). On an argument for humility. Philosophical Studies, 130, 461–497. CrossRef
- Quidditism without quiddities
Volume 160, Issue 3 , pp 345-363
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Quiddistic skepticism
- Counterpart theory
- Nomological roles
- Dustin Locke (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Philosophy Department, Claremont McKenna College, 850 Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA, 91711, USA