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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

Editorial Board: Addis, Laird / Davies, Brian / Hochberg, Herbert / Johansson, Ingvar / Kanzian, Christian / Klima, Gyula / Koons, Robert C / Künne, Wolfgang / Löffler, Winfried / Mulligan, Kevin / Nef, Frederic / Oaklander, Nathan / Oderberg, David / Orilia, Francesco / Plantinga, Alvin / Potrc, Matjaz / Rapp, Christof / Reicher-Marek, Maria Elisabeth / Schantz, Richard / Scholz, Oliver R. / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel

CiteScore 2018: 0.29

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Neutralism, Naturalism and Emergence: A Critical Examination of Cumpa’s Theory of Instantiation

Peter Forrest
Published Online: 2019-10-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2019-2017


In his “Are Properties, Particular, Universal, or Neither?” Javier Cumpa argues that science not metaphysics explains how properties are instantiated. I accept this conclusion provided physics can be stated using rather few primitive predicates. In addition, he uses his scientific theory of instantiation to argue for Neutralism, his thesis that the “tie” between properties and their instances implies neither that properties are particular nor that they are universals. Neutralism, I claim, is a thesis that realist about universals have independent reason to accept and their opponents have reason to reject. So, neutralism is not neutral on the topic of whether properties are universals. Nor is Cumpa’s Theory of Instantiation as naturalistic as he claims. I argue that although compatible with Ontological Naturalism, his theory provides a precedent for the non-naturalistic emergence of mental properties. Finally, I argue that because his theory requires a simple physics it presupposes a more rationalist epistemology than that of Methodological Naturalism.

Keywords: Naturalism; instantiation; Armstrong; universals; emergence; Cumpa


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-10-18

Published in Print: 2019-10-25

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 20, Issue 2, Pages 239–254, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2019-2017.

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