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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

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Why Realists Need Tropes

Markku Keinänen
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Helsinki, PL 24 (Unioninkatu 40 A, 6. krs), 00014 Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki, Finland
  • Email:
/ Jani Hakkarainen
  • School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Philosophy, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
  • Email:
/ Antti Keskinen
  • School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Philosophy, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
  • Email:
Published Online: 2016-03-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0006


We argue that if one wishes to be a realist, one should adopt a realist ontology involving tropes instead of a Russellian ontology of property universals and objects. Either Russellian realists should adopt relata-specific relational tropes of instantiation instead of facts, or, better, convert to Neo-Aristotelian realism with monadic tropes. Regarding Neo-Aristotelian realism, we have two novel points why it fares better than Russellian realism. (1) Instantiation of property universals by tropes, and characterisation or inherence between tropes and objects, are more transparent ontological notions than relational inherence, which is assumed in Russellian realism with the relational tropes of instantiation. (2) Neo-Aristotelian realism makes better sense about abstract universals, which are a more viable option than concrete universals.

Keywords: metaphysics; ontology; realism; universals; tropes


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-03-31

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: Metaphysica, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0006. Export Citation

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