Abstracta and Abstraction in Trope Theory

Philosophical Papers 49 (1):41-67 (2020)
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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 trope qua abstract particular by rejecting arguments that purport to show that tropes should not be understood as abstract and by arguing that the abstractness of tropes plays an indispensable role in one of our more promising trope-theoretic analyses of universals and of concrete objects.

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A. R. J. Fisher
Gonzaga University


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