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The ontology of haecceities

ZHANG, RUOYU (2019) The ontology of haecceities. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis deals with the Problem of Distinction, i.e. what explains the distinction of two substances, especially when they are qualitatively indiscernible? It argues that the best solution to this problem is an ontology of haecceities, properties like “being identical with X” which is unique for X and responsible for its individuation.

This is achieved in two steps. In the first half of the thesis (Chapters 2 to 5), the nature of the Problem of Distinction is clarified and Principles of Evaluations of the solution to the Problem of Distinction are set out. Then based on these Principles, the thesis argues against the main extant non-haecceity solutions to the Problem of Distinction including the Spacetime Points Solution, Bare Particularism, Trope Theory, and the Universal Bundle Theory.

In the second half of the thesis (Chapters 6 to 9), it develops a novel ontology of haecceities. A Haecceity Mereology with three rules is proposed. According to this ontology, the reality is constituted by two fundamental kinds of properties, universals and haecceities. An individual substance is a special mereological sum of a haecceity and its correspondent universals. Hence, there are two distinct substances because of the distinction of two haecceities. Besides solving the Problem of Distinction, the ontology of haecceities also explains many other things such as the unity of substances. Further, we argue that, although our knowledge of substances is epistemically fallible, the relationship between a haecceity and its correspondent universals is metaphysically necessary.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Haecceities, universal, trope, bundle, bare particular, distinction
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 12:12

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