There Are no Module or Modifier Tropes

Abstract

According to Robert K. Garcia, trope theories divide into two distinct groups based on the type of tropes (module or modifier) assumed. Although left unnoticed by many trope theorists, Garcia claims that the module/modifier distinction has important consequences regarding the ontological merits of the different trope theories. In this article, I argue that Garcia’s distinction between module and modifier tropes fails to provide any correct or informative classification of trope theories: Garcia’s distinction is based on assumptions and primitive notions trope theorists explicitly reject. Trope theories attempt to eliminate the fundamental object-property dichotomy by means of the analysis of inherence (an object having a property). By contrast, Garcia’s module and modifier tropes are different kinds of particular properties, which fundamentally inhere in a property bearer. Therefore, no trope is a module or modifier trope in Garcia’s sense. Finally, there is an ambiguity in Garcia’s use of his term “character making” that makes void his arguments for the module/modifier distinction based on the conception of non-module tropes as “character makers”.

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Markku Keinänen
Tampere University

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2024-06-08

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