Second-Order Predication and the Metaphysics of PropertiesThanks to Tyler Doggett, Liz Harman, Sarah McGrath, Jim John, Juan Comesaña, Doug Marshall, Tony Corsentino, Daniel Stoljar, Vann McGee, Alex Byrne, Bob Stalnaker, Steve Yablo, Sally Haslanger, Jeff King, Michael Glanzberg, Laurie Paul, Adam Elga, Michael Smith, John Hawthorne, Adam Sennett, Laura Shroeter, Brian Weatherson, Karen Bennett, and most of all to Ned Hall for discussion, comments, criticisms, suggestions, objections, and guidance.
Problems about the accidental properties of properties motivate us--force us, I think--not to identify properties with the sets of their instances. If we identify them instead with functions from worlds to extensions, we get a theory of properties that is neutral with respect to disputes over counterpart theory, and we avoid a problem for Lewis's theory of events. Similar problems about the temporary properties of properties motivate us--though this time they probably don't force us--to give up this theory as well, and to identify properties with functions from 〈world, time〉 pairs to extensions. Again, the replacement theory is neutral with respect to a metaphysical dispute that the old theory (arguably) forces us to take a stand on--the dispute over whether objects have temporal parts. It also allows us to give a smoother semantics for predication, to better accommodate our intuitions about which objects temporary properties are properties of, and to make temporally self-locating beliefs genuinely self -locating.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 March 2004