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

  • 1 Örebro University,, Örebro, Sweden

Abstract

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.

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