What are Tropes, Fundamentally? A Formal Ontological Account

Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:129-159 (2018)
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Abstract

In this paper, I elaborate on the Strong Nuclear Theory (SNT) of tropes and substances, which I have defended elsewhere, using my metatheory about formal ontology and especially fundamental ontological form. According to my metatheory, for an entity to have an ontological form is for it to be a relatum of a formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. The full fundamental ontological form is generically identical to a simple formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. Regarding generic identity, I follow Fabrice Correia and Alexander Skiles, who consider it a form of generalized identity as distinguished from numerical identity. The SNT states that for any trope to have the full fundamental ontological form is for it to be a strongly rigidly or generically (existentially) dependent individual simple part. Therefore, the common dichotomous set-up of asking whether tropes are fundamentally properties rather than objects or vice versa is a non-starter to me in formal ontological terms. The elaboration of the SNT also supplies me with the resources to respond to the arguments against tropes by Douglas Ehring, Robert K. Garcia and Herbert Hochberg. Finally, I argue that non-fundamentally but necessarily, every trope is a proper part of a substance and is concrete in the SNT. (You may access the published paper via the external link below.)

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Jani Hakkarainen
Tampere University

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