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
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.