Price begins by describing how things we see in nature share elements. He explains how a tomato, sunset in the sky and a blushing face share nothing more in common than the color. However, some objects have many things in common. These objects group themselves together into Natural Kinds. Price describes a Natural Kind as a group of objects, which have many, perhaps indefinite, features in common. He explains that while this repetition makes things seem dull and monotonous, they are important because they are what makes conceptual cognition possible.
In a world of incessant novelty, where there was no recurrence at all and no tedious repetitions, no concepts could ever be acquired. It would also make difficult the act of thinking because nothing would be recognizable. Price goes on to describe different terms of quality and relation. Quality is a recurrent feature of the world, which presents itself in individual object or events taken singly. Redness and bulginess are examples of this. A relation is a recurrent feature of the world, which presents itself in complexes of objects or events, such as this besides that, or between A and B.
These terms allow us to give a simple analysis of change. Price explains how change has puzzled philosophers since the time of Heraclitus. Understanding objects in terms of quality and relation help us understand the concept of change. Another term that allows us to do so is the term ‘characteristics’. Characteristics are of at least two different types of qualities and relations. For Price, allow of this leads us to Aristotle’s theory of univeralia in rebus, or philosophy of universals. The philosophy of universals agrees that all objects characterized by x resemble one another.
However once must be cautious and note the difference between exact resemblance in a certain aspect, and total or complete resemblance. While some have debated whether complete resemblance can be achieved, the important thing to note is the different intensities of resemblance that exist. Price goes on to list differences between the philosophy of resemblance and the philosophy of universals and deals with classical arguments against them both. Price concludes by saying that one must have a good knowledge of both.
Since both can be misleading at times, when in danger of being misled by one of the theories, then can turn to the other for truth. D. C. Williams, on the other hand, comes out against the philosophy of universals in “The Element of Being. ” He attempts to explain this in his example of the three lollipops. He tires to prove that when one says a is similar to b, one is only saying that a part of a is wholly similar to a part of b. He states that entities or abstract components are the primary constituents of this or any possible world. Many know these to be ‘abstract particulars’.
Williams decides to name these parts tropes. He defines a trope as a particular entity either abstract or consisting of one or more concrete entities in combination with an abstraction. Tropes are connected to each other by way of location and by way of similarity. He goes on to explain and concludes by saying any possible world, and this one, is completely constituted by tropes and their connections of location and similarity. He explains how they would pertain to the notion of abstract and universal by using the example of Socrates (concrete particular), his wisdom (abstract particular/trope), Socratesity (concrete universal) and all of the wisdom (abstract universal).
He goes on to explain how tropes would apply to different areas of philosophy, such as the philosophy of knowledge. He concludes by saying that all the things we see are no universal but consist of parts, tropes, which these things are a part of. Williams differs from Price by stating that objects consist of tropes and they are what create these appearances or similiarties. Price on the other hand states that objects share a certain resemblance in quality, relation and characteristics. Resemblance Theory and Trope Theory Carlos Manuel Jordan PHI 3500 Metaphysics December, 4 2014.
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