|(2010) Inexpressible Properties and Grelling’s Antinomy
Published in Philosophical Studies 148, 169-85.
|Abstract: The paper discusses whether there are strictly inexpressible properties. Three main points are argued for: (i) Two different senses of ‘predicate t expresses property p’ should be distinguished. (ii) The property of being a predicate that does not apply to itself is inexpressible in one of the senses of ‘express’, but not in the other. (iii) Since the said property is related to Grelling’s Antinomy, it is further argued that the antinomy does not imply the non-existence of that property.|
|(2008) Further Remarks on Property Designators and Rigidity
Published in Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (2008), 199-208.
|Abstract: Are all canonical property designators (i.e. nominalizations of predicative phrases) rigid? Dan López de Sa recently criticized the arguments I gave for an affirmative answer to that question (see my ‘Property Designators, Predicates, and Rigidity’, Philosophical Studies 122 (2005), 227–41). The current article rebuts López de Sa’s objections.|
|(2007) The Importance of ‘Being Earnest’
Published in Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2007), 40–55.
|Abstract: Reference to properties is normally achieved by the use of nominalizations of predicative expressions. The article examines the relation between different kinds of such nominalizations: while traditionally, the terms ‘wisdom’ and ‘the property of being wise’ were thought to be coreferential, there are certain contexts in which they do not seem to be interchangeable salva veritate. Based on this observation, Friederike Moltmann recently developed a theory according to which abstract nouns such as ‘wisdom’ do not refer to properties. It is argued that her theory is flawed and that the existence of the problematic contexts should be explained in non-referential terms.|
|(2006) Attributing Properties
Published in American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2006), 315–28.
|Abstract: The paper deals with the semantics and ontology of ordinary discourse about properties. The main focus lies on the following thesis: A simple predication of the form ‘a is F’ is synonymous with the corresponding explicit property-attribution ‘a has F-ness’. An argument against this Synonymy Thesis is put forth which is based on the thesis that simple predications and property-attributions differ in their conditions of understanding. In defending the argument, the paper accounts for the way in which we come to adopt the conceptual framework of properties.|
|(2006) Canonical Property Designators
Published in American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2006), 119–32.
|Abstract: The article scrutinises the semantics of canonical property designators of the forms ‘the property of being F’ and ‘F-ness’. First it is argued that, as their form suggests, the former are definite definitions, albeit of a special sort. Secondly, the prima facie plausible classification of the latter as proper names (which is often met in philosophical writings) is rejected. The semantics of such terms is developed and it is shown how its proper understanding yields important consequences about the concepts expressed by these terms.|
|(2006) Dependence, Substance, Explanation
Published in Philosophical Studies 129 (2006), 393–419.
|Abstract: The paper contains a novel account of ontological dependence. While dependence is often explained in terms of modality and existence, there are relations of dependence that slip through the mesh of such an account. The article develops an account of ontological dependence based on a notion of explanation; on its basis, certain relations of dependence can be established that can not be accounted by the modal-existential account.
The second topic of this paper is the category of substance. On a traditional view, substances can be characterised as independent entities. Before the background of a modal-existential account of dependence, this idea appears problematic. The proposed notion of explanatory dependence is shown to vindicate the traditional approach to substance.
|(2006) Particularised Attributes: An Austrian Tale
Published in M. Textor (2006): The Austrian Contribution to Analytic Philosophy, London: Routledge, 130–58..
|Abstract: Particularised attributes play a role in the ontologies of the Austrian philosophers Bernard Bolzano, Franz Brentano, and Alexius Meinong. The paper examines some of their arguments concerning the existence and the nature of particularised attributes.|
|(2005) Property Designators, Predicates, and Rigidity
Published in Philosophical Studies 122 (2005), 227–41.
|Abstract: The article discusses an idea of how to extend the notion of rigidity to predicates: predicates stand in a certain systematic semantic relation (which I call signification) to properties, such that this relation may hold rigidly or non-rigidly. The relation of signification can be characterised with recourse to canonical property designators that are derived from predicates (or general terms) by means of nominalization: a predicate signifies that property which the derived property designator designates. Whether signification divides into rigid and non-rigid cases will then depend upon whether canonical property designators divide into rigid and non-rigid ones. But, I shall argue, they do not, and so the only notion of rigidity gained this way is trivial. To show this, I first focus on the kind of canonical property designators which could be thought to be non-rigid, canonical designators such as ‘having the colour of ripe tomatoes’, which themselves contain non-rigid property designators. An argument to the effect that such complex canonical designators are non-rigid is rebutted, five arguments to the effect that they are rigid are formulated, and finally an explanation of their rigidity based on the general nature of canonical property designators is presented.|
|(2004) A Note on Bearer-Uniqueness and Particularised Qualities
Published in Ratio 17 (2004), 218–28.
|Abstract: It is often held that particularised qualities characteristically have a unique bearer in which they inhere. But there are apparent counterexamples: an apple’s redness is identical with the redness of its skin, though the apple is distinct from its skin. So it seems that a principle of beareruniqueness has to be modified.
However, I argue that the need of a modification is not a direct consequence of the supposed counterexamples. Their dangerous potential for the principle only arises if one takes the genitive in expressions of the form “a’s F-ness” to signify the relation of inherence. I propose an alternative view: The genitive signifies a relation which is indeed closely related to inherence, but which is, contrary to inherence itself, partitive. It may hold between a particularised quality and another entity because it holds between the quality and a part of the entity. If one regards the ontologically interesting relation of inherence as non-partitive, one can still adhere to an unrestricted principle of bearer-uniqueness.