Modes, Disturbances, and Spatio-Temporal Location

In Objects and Properties. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
It is a standard assumption in contemporary metaphysics that concrete objects come with a location in space and time. This applies not only to material objects and events, but also modes (such as the roundness of the apple, the softness of the pillow, Socrates' wisdom) and entities that have been called 'disturbances' (e.g. holes, folds, faults, and scratches). Taking the approach of descriptive metaphysics, I will show that modes and disturbances fail to have a spatial location (or at least a bearer-independent spatial location). I will explore, but reject a potential explanation of the lack of a spatial location of modes and disturbances in terms of Fregean abstraction supplemented by truthmaking. A subsidiary point this paper makes is that in their lack of a direct spatial location, modes need to be sharply distinguished from tropes as a category of foundationalist metaphysics that has been at the center of a pursuit of a one-category ontology since Williams (1953).
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First archival date: 2022-08-01
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