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A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties

Båve, Arvid (2015) A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties. Dialectica, 69 (1). pp. 23-59. ISSN 0012-2017. (doi:10.1111/1746-8361.12086) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1111/1746-8361.12086

Abstract

I here defend a theory consisting of four claims about ‘property’ and properties, and argue that they form a coherent whole that can solve various serious problems. The claims are (1): ‘property’ is defined by the principles (PR): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property of x iff F’ and (PA): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property’; (2) the function of ‘property’ is to increase the expressive power of English, roughly by mimicking quantification into predicate position; (3) property talk should be understood at face value: apparent commitments are real and our apparently literal use of ‘property’ is really literal; (4) there are no properties. In virtue of (1)–(2), this is a deflationist theory and in virtue of (3)–(4), it is an error theory. (1) is fleshed out as a claim about understanding conditions, and it is argued at length, and by going through a number of examples, that it satisfies a crucial constraint on meaning claims: all facts about ‘property’ can be explained, together with auxiliary facts, on its basis. Once claim (1) has been expanded upon, I argue that the combination of (1)–(3) provides the means for handling several problems: they help giving a happy-face solution to what I call the paradox of abstraction , they form part of a plausible account of the correctness of committive sentences, and, most importantly, they help respond to various indispensability arguments against nominalism.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1746-8361.12086
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
Depositing User: Arvid Bave
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2020 21:02 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2020 16:07 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/79747 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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