On substances, accidents and universals: In defence of a constituent ontology

Philosophical Papers 26 (1):105-127 (1997)
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The essay constructs an ontological theory designed to capture the categories instantiated in those portions or levels of reality which are captured in our common sense conceptual scheme. It takes as its starting point an Aristotelian ontology of “substances” and “accidents”, which are treated via the instruments of mereology and topology. The theory recognizes not only individual parts of substances and accidents, including the internal and external boundaries of these, but also universal parts, such as the “humanity” which is an essential part of both Tom and Dick, and also “individual relations”, such as Tom’s promise to Dick, or their current handshake.

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Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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