Ideas from 'Against Structural Universals' by David Lewis [1986], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology' by Lewis,David [CUP 1999,0-521-58787-5]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas

8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 4. Intrinsic Properties
If you think universals are immanent, you must believe them to be sparse, and not every related predicate
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
I assume there could be natural properties that are not instantiated in our world
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
Tropes are particular properties, which cannot recur, but can be exact duplicates
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Universals are meant to give an account of resemblance
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
We can add a primitive natural/unnatural distinction to class nominalism
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 1. Structure of an Object
The 'magical' view of structural universals says they are atoms, even though they have parts
If 'methane' is an atomic structural universal, it has nothing to connect it to its carbon universals
The 'pictorial' view of structural universals says they are wholes made of universals as parts
The structural universal 'methane' needs the universal 'hydrogen' four times over
Butane and Isobutane have the same atoms, but different structures
Structural universals have a necessary connection to the universals forming its parts
We can't get rid of structural universals if there are no simple universals
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
Composition is not just making new things from old; there are too many counterexamples
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts
Different things (a toy house and toy car) can be made of the same parts at different times
A whole is distinct from its parts, but is not a further addition in ontology
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
Maybe abstraction is just mereological subtraction
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 6. Abstract Concepts / g. Abstracta by equivalence
Mathematicians abstract by equivalence classes, but that doesn't turn a many into one