Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Property: what can be ascribed to an object in order to distinguish it from other objects. In philosophy, there is debate about whether properties exist or whether "bare particulars" exist. Expressions for properties are predicates. Not every predicate will refer to a property. See also quantification over properties, 2nd order logic, HOL, completeness.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ruth Millikan on Properties - Dictionary of Arguments

I 11
Properties/Kind/Millikan: properties and kind exist only in the actual world (our real world).
I 197
Property/Millikan: Thesis: A property is only a property by virtue of opposing properties - properties that they exclude or are incompatible with them. ((s)> disjunctive property).
I 264
Identity/Sameness/Property/Millikan: how can we describe the identity of a property?
1. we consider only those properties that individuals can have.
I 265
Leibniz Principle/Millikan: we turn around the Leibniz Principle by adding an operator for natural necessity.

(F)(G){[NN(x)Fx equi Gx] equi F = G}.
I 266
Properties/Identity/Millikan: The traditional objection that properties are the same when all their instances are the same is divided into two arguments.
1. Objections from those who believe that properties correspond one-to-one to possible concepts:
"Argument from the meaning"/argument from meaning/Armstrong: (Armstrong not pro):
(Has often confused the problem of universals): If universals are to be meanings, and if a semantic criterion for the identity of predicates is accepted, then it follows that every predicate type corresponds to its own universal. ((s) This can be re-invented newly infinitely many times).
Problem/Millikan/(s): already diversity of linguistic expressions entails difference in the corresponding properties.
Inflationism/Deflationism/Millikan: Realists have interpreted this argument inflationistically, and nominalists have interpreted it deflationistically.
Millikan: for this, however, one has to equate meaning with intension - that is to say, to combine meaning with the concepts that one has of the things that are mapped with the expressions.
Solution/Millikan: we differentiate meaning and intension, therefore, it can have different concepts for one and the same variant in re. Therefore, we can ignore this objection.
For example, the concepts that Hubots and Rubots have (> Terminology/Millikan) of the "square" are different variants in nature, because they are governed by different intensions. This could be misunderstood in that way that for the ancient Hesperus and Phosphorus concepts there would have been concepts of different celestial bodies,...
I 267
...because they were ruled by different intensions.
((s) general problem: there are too many properties in such approaches).
2. Type of objections against the view that properties are the same when their instances coincide: that there are so many counterexamples.
For example, even if it can be that every living creature with a heart is a living being with kidneys, it does not show that having the one property would be equal to having the other property.
Solution: the instances must already coincide with natural necessity.
For example, suppose there is only one single object in the world with a particular green color, and this object would also have a unique form. It would still not follow from this that the property of having this hue would be equal to the property of having this form. Certainly, there are also no principles of natural necessity that link these properties.
Millikan: but not all the counter-arguments against the inverse Leibniz principle are so easy to invalidate. E.g. Properties for materials in general:
e.g. properties that can have gold: a certain spectrum, electrical conductivity, melting point, atomic weight. Suppose each of these properties is only once applicable to gold and therefore identifies the material.
N.B.: then each of these properties necessarily coexists with the others.
Nevertheless, the properties are not identical! But how do we actually know that it is not one and the same property? How do we know that they are not like a form that is once touched and once seen? This is a question of epistemology, not of ontology. But
it cannot be answered without making ontological assumptions.
I 268
General Properties/Material/Millikan: in order e.g. that the particular conductivity of gold and the particular spectrum of gold could be one and the same property, the entire range of possible electrical conductivities would have to be mapped one-to-one to the entire range of possible spectra.
That is, the particular conductivity could not be the same as this particular spectrum, if not other spectra coincided with other conductivities.
Properties/Millikan: Thesis: Properties (one or more digits) that fall into the same domain are characteristics that are opposite to each other.
Of course, one area can also contain a different area. For example, "red" includes "scarlet" instead of excluding it, and "being two centimeters tall plus minus one millimeter" means "2.05 centimeters tall plus minus 1 millimeter" than excluding it.
The assumption that two properties can only be the same when the complete opposite domains from which they come coincide, suggests that the identity of a property or a property domain is tied to the identity of a broader domain from which it comes and is thus tied to the identity of its opposites. Now we are comparing Leibniz's view with that of Aristotle:
Identity/Leibniz/Millikan: all simple properties are intrinsically comparable. However, perhaps not comparable in nature, because God created only the best of possible worlds - but they would be metaphysically comparable.
Complex properties/Leibniz/Millikan: that would be propertes that are not comparable. They also include absences or negations of properties. They have the general form "A and not B".
I 271
Properties/Millikan: properties are not loners like substances.
Self-identity/property: a property is itself, by virtue of the natural necessary comparison to other properties.
Representation/exemplification/Millikan: if an opposite is missing, no property is represented.
E.g "Size is exemplified by John" has no opposite. The negation is not made true by the fact that size would have a property that would be contrary to being exemplified by John. "Being exemplified by John" says of substance John that it has that property.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Millikan I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987

Millikan II
Ruth Millikan
"Varieties of Purposive Behavior", in: Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, R. W. Mitchell, N. S. Thomspon and H. L. Miles (Eds.) Albany 1997, pp. 189-1967
Der Geist der Tiere, D Perler/M. Wild, Frankfurt/M. 2005

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-25
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