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Volume 51 • Number 4

October 2014



Accidents, Modes, Tropes, and Universals

by John Heil

What are properties? Examples are easy. Consider a particular billiard ball. The ball is red, spherical, and has a definite mass. The ball's redness, sphericity, and mass are properties: properties of the ball. Putting it this way invites a distinction between the ball, a bearer of properties, and the ball's properties.

Some philosophers deny that there are properties. To say that the ball is red or spherical, for instance, is just to say that the predicates "is red" and "is spherical" apply truly to the ball. But it is hard not to think that "is red" applies truly to the ball, if it does, because the ball is a particular way, the red way; and "is spherical" applies to the ball because it is a particular way, the spherical way; and the ways in question are distinct ways the ball is. Ways the ball is are, or appear to be, properties of the ball.

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ISSN: 2152-1123