Phillip Bricker

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Phillip Bricker
January 17, 2020
3:30PM - 5:00PM
Location
353 University Hall

Date Range
Add to Calendar 2020-01-17 15:30:00 2020-01-17 17:00:00 Phillip Bricker

Dr. Bricker is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Abstract

Why Quidditism

Quidditism, as I understand it, is the doctrine that there are structurally indiscernible portions of
reality that differ qualitatively. The first order of business is to clarify the doctrine by giving an
account of structural indiscernibility and qualitative difference. I then consider three sorts of
argument for quidditism with respect to properties: (1) from modal intuition; (2) from scientific
theorizing; and (3) from the phenomenology of experience. These arguments support the
existence of quiddistic properties: fundamental properties that have substantial intrinsic natures
in virtue of which they may be cross-identified between distinct portions of reality. Next I ask
whether these sorts of argument also support the existence of quiddistic relations. I argue that
they do not, or at least not clearly. And that is a good thing. For I favor grounding quiddistic
differences in an ontology of tropes, and relational tropes are problematic for a Humean about
modality (such as myself). The rejection of relational tropes allows a Humean who is a
nominalist about structure to endorse an especially simple account of reality: reality is composed
entirely of property tropes (and perhaps bare particulars) occupying places in fundamental
structures.

353 University Hall Department of Philosophy philosophy@osu.edu America/New_York public
Description

Dr. Bricker is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Abstract

Why Quidditism

Quidditism, as I understand it, is the doctrine that there are structurally indiscernible portions of
reality that differ qualitatively. The first order of business is to clarify the doctrine by giving an
account of structural indiscernibility and qualitative difference. I then consider three sorts of
argument for quidditism with respect to properties: (1) from modal intuition; (2) from scientific
theorizing; and (3) from the phenomenology of experience. These arguments support the
existence of quiddistic properties: fundamental properties that have substantial intrinsic natures
in virtue of which they may be cross-identified between distinct portions of reality. Next I ask
whether these sorts of argument also support the existence of quiddistic relations. I argue that
they do not, or at least not clearly. And that is a good thing. For I favor grounding quiddistic
differences in an ontology of tropes, and relational tropes are problematic for a Humean about
modality (such as myself). The rejection of relational tropes allows a Humean who is a
nominalist about structure to endorse an especially simple account of reality: reality is composed
entirely of property tropes (and perhaps bare particulars) occupying places in fundamental
structures.