Single Idea 15747

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 3. Instantiated Universals]

Full Idea

It cannot be said that a universal is instantiated by anything that has it as a part, since the relation of part to whole is transitive. If charge is part of a particle, which is part of an atom, then charge is part of the atom, but an atom isn't charged.

Gist of Idea

Universals aren't parts of things, because that relationship is transitive, and universals need not be


David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986], 1.5)

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.65

A Reaction

Given the total mystery involved in 'instantiation', it wouldn't surprise me if someone appealed to the part-whole relation, but all moves to explain instantiation are desperate. Make it a primitive, if you must, then tiptoe away.