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The Problem of Free Mass: Must Properties Cluster?

Jonathan Schaffer
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jan., 2003), pp. 125-138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20140517
Page Count: 14
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The Problem of Free Mass: Must Properties Cluster?
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Abstract

Properties come in clusters. It seems impossible, for instance, that a mass could float free, unattached to any other property. David Armstrong takes this as a reductio of the bundle theory and an argument for substrata, while Peter Simons and Arda Denkel reply by supplementing the bundle theory with accounts of property interdependencies. I argue against both views. Virtually all plausible ontologies turn out to be committed to the existence of free masses. I develop and defend the view that the clustering of properties is a mere contingent truth, on grounds that properties can be substracted one-by-one. This opens the door not just to the (unsupplemented) bundle theory, but also to any plausible account of the relation between objects and properties.

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