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The taste of this particular chunk of fresh pineapple, the one which I am just now eating, is scrumptious. That taste is something the chunk has in common with other such chunks, like the one I had a few seconds ago and the one I will have in a few seconds time. The taste of this pineapple chunk is thus a feature,a property,which this and various otherchunks of pineapple share. Now, intuitively at least, no purely mathematical entity, like a function, is scrumptious. Hence a property, like the taste of this chunk of pineapple, cannot be any such function.

This kind of argument, if sound, would cut a wide swathe through the field of metaphysics. All those theories which attempt to reduce ontologically suspicious types of entities (properties, propositions, persons, medium-sized dry goods) to mathematical entities (like classes or functions) would fall to the blade. This could well help to reduce the impact of contemporary philosophy on the world's dwindling forests. I save contemporary metaphysics by explaining where the argument goes wrong.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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