Higher-order metaphysics and the tropes versus universals dispute

Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2805-2827 (2021)
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Higher-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of higher-order rather than first-order quantifiers. They claim two types of advantages for this way of formulating property realism. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism versus transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved. Second, a further such debate, the tropes versus universals dispute, is taken to be resolved. In this paper I first argue that higher-order realism does not in fact resolve the tropes versus universals dispute. In a constructive spirit, I then develop higher-order realism in a way that leads to a dissolution, rather than a resolution, of this dispute too.

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Lukas Skiba
University of Bergen


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