Bare Particulars
Sider (Ted)
Source: Philosophical Perspectives 20 (2006), 387–97
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction (start)

  1. One often hears a complaint about “bare particulars”. This complaint has bugged me for years. I know it bugs others too, but no one seems to have vented in print, so that is what I propose to do. (I hope also to say a few constructive things along the way.)
  2. The complaint is aimed at the substratum theory, which says that particulars are, in a certain sense, separate from their universals1. If universals2 and particulars are separate, connected to each other only by a relation of instantiation, then, it is said, the nature of these particulars becomes mysterious. In themselves, they do not have any properties at all. They are nothing but a pincushion into which universals3 may be poked. They are Locke’s “I know not what” (1689, II, xxiii, §2); they are Plato’s receptacles (Timaeus 48c–53c); they are “bare particulars”.
  3. Against substratum theory there is the bundle theory, according to which particulars are just bundles of universals4.


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