An approach to property-talk for property nominalists (Brad Armour-Garb)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on October 30th from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) in-person at the Graduate Center (Room 4419) for a talk by Brad Armour-Garb (SUNY Albany).

Title: An approach to property-talk for property nominalists

Abstract: Properties, understood as immanent universals that are repeatable entities which distinct objects can each have at the same time and in different places, are weird, so weird, in fact, that if we could do without them, we probably should do so. An alternative to an approach that sanctions properties might suggest a deflationary view of property-talk according to which the raison d’être of our use of ‘property’ is that it serves a quasi-logical function that is akin to what alethic deflationists claim about truth-talk. Deflationists about property-talk normally subscribe to a form of property nominalism, which rejects the sort of property realism that takes properties to be immanent universals. In this talk, after highlighting some of the weirdness of, or worries for, property realism and explaining why certain forms of property nominalism should not be abided, I highlight the expressive role of property-talk and go on to explain how property-talk performs its roles by introducing what I call “adjectival predicate-variable deflationism” (“APVD”). As I will show, by incorporating APVD into a version of what I have called a “semantic-pretense involving fictionalism” (“SPIF”), we capture the full range of property-talk instances without compromising property nominalism. Time permitting, I will also highlight a virtue of my view, which another form of property nominalism cannot accommodate. If property nominalism is correct, then we should endorse the SPIF account of property-talk that I will develop in this talk.

Note: This is joint work with James A. Woodbridge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *