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How to be a Realist about Similarity: Towards a Theory of Features in Object-Oriented Philosophy

Noah Roderick
Published Online: 2018-11-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2018-0024


This essay calls for an independent theory of features in object-oriented philosophy. Theories of features are in general motivated by at least two interconnected demands: 1) to explain why objects have the characteristics they have, 2) to explain how regular divisions in those characteristics can be intuited. While a theory of universal properties may be the most internally consistent means of addressing these demands, an object-oriented metaphysics needs to address them without a concept of shared features. This means that regular divisions of invariant features and our intuitions of them cannot be explained by the repetition of self-same characteristics or natural laws. They can instead be explained by the immanent repetition of similar features. However, this requires a new, radically aesthetic understanding of what it means to be similar in the first place, one in which similarity is an emergent process rather than a state of affairs existing between resembling particulars.

Keywords: universal properties; tropes; features; object-oriented ontology; similarity; aesthetics; materialism; repetition; Plato; Edmund Husserl; Bertrand Russell; Graham Harman


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About the article

Received: 2018-08-14

Accepted: 2018-10-08

Published Online: 2018-11-20

Published in Print: 2018-11-01

Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 327–341, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2018-0024.

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© by Noah Roderick, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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