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States of Affairs and the Relation Regress

Chapter in book
Authors Anna-Sofia Maurin
Published in The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy / edited by Gabriele Galluzzo, Michael J. Loux.
Pages 195-214
ISBN 9781107100893
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Place of publication Cambridge
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 195-214
Language en
Keywords Armstrong, States of Affairs, Regress
Subject categories Theoretical philosophy


The following three theses together comprise a view that has been proposed by quite a few contemporary metaphysicians (the foremost of whom is D. M. Armstrong): There are universals and there are substrates. Universals and substrates obey what Armstrong calls the Principle of Instantiation (PI) and the Principle of the Rejection of Bare Particulars (PRB): (PI) A universal, if it exists, must be instantiated in some substrate. (PRB) A substrate, if it exists, must exemplify some universal. When a universal is instantiated in a substrate (when a substrate exemplifies a universal) there exists, besides (yet somehow constituted by) the universal and the substrate, a state of affairs. But why, if there are universals and substrates, and universals and substrates depend generically on one another in the way prescribed by (PI) and (PRB), do we need to posit states of affairs as well? In this chapter, I consider and criticize one influential answer to that question.

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