Two Ways to Particularize a Property

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):635-652 (2015)
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Trope theory is an increasingly prominent contender in contemporary debates about the existence and nature of properties. But it suffers from ambiguity concerning the nature of a trope. Disambiguation reveals two fundamentally different concepts of a trope: modifier tropes and module tropes. These types of tropes are unequally suited for metaphysical work. Modifier tropes have advantages concerning powers, relations, and fundamental determinables, whereas module tropes have advantages concerning perception, causation, character-grounding, and the ontology of substance. Thus, the choice between modifier tropes and module tropes is significant and divides the advantages of trope theory simpliciter. In addition, each resulting trope theory is unstable: modifier trope theory threatens to collapse into realism and module trope theory threatens to collapse into austere nominalism. This invites reflection on the stability of trope theory in general.

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Robert K. Garcia
Baylor University


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