The Status of Natural Properties

Barry Taylor

in Models, Truth, and Realism

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780199286690
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604065 | DOI:
 The Status of Natural Properties

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This chapter examines the case for natural properties made by David Lewis. Section 5.1 looks at the role such properties play in Lewis’s system. Section 5.2 sets out his reasons for believing in them: that they are required to accommodate Moorean facts about the similarity of objects; and that they are indispensable to philosophical theorizing. Section 5.3 proposes an alternative to natural properties: these are the T-cosy predicates, defined by the role predicates play in theories. Section 5.4 argues that T-cosy predicates can be used to accommodate the Moorean facts as well as natural properties can do; and section 5.5 that where natural properties have an uncontroversially legitimate role to play in philosophical theory, T-cosy predicates will once again do the job. The conclusion is that natural properties constitute unnecessary metaphysical baggage, to be rejected along with the Eliteness Constraint they underpin.

Keywords: David Lewis; Eliteness Constraint; metalanguage; natural properties; T-cosy predicates

Chapter.  10946 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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