Naturalism and Non-Qualitative Properties

In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Kevin Corcoran (eds.), Common Sense Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of Lynne Rudder Baker. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 209-238 (2020)
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Lynne Baker’s case for the incompatibility of naturalism with the first-person perspective raises a range of questions about the relationship between naturalism and the various properties involved in first-person perspectives. After arguing that non-qualitative properties—most notably, haecceities like being Lynne Baker—are ineliminably tied to first-person perspectives, this paper considers whether naturalism and non-qualitative properties are, in fact, compatible. In doing so, the discussion focus on Shamik Dasupgta’s argument against individuals and, in turn, non-qualitative properties. Several strategies for undermining Dasgupta's argument are considered, drawing on de re laws and haecceitistic possibilities. Finally, an analogy is drawn between naturalism and platonism regarding mathematical entities and naturalism's parallel commitment to individuals. I conclude that naturalists are obliged to posit non-qualitative properties.

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Sam Cowling
Denison University


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