Ideas of Keith Campbell, by Theme

[Australian, fl. 1990, At Sydney University.]

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5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 6. Relations in Logic
Relations need terms, so they must be second-order entities based on first-order tropes
     Full Idea: Because there cannot be relations without terms, in a meta-physic that makes first-order tropes the terms of all relations, relational tropes must belong to a second, derivative order.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 8)
     A reaction: The admission that there could be a 'derivative order' may lead to trouble for trope theory. Ostrich Nominalists could say that properties themselves are derivative second-order abstractions from indivisible particulars. Russell makes them first-order.
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / c. Reduction of events
Events are trope-sequences, in which tropes replace one another
     Full Idea: Events are widely acknowledged to be particulars, but they are plainly not ordinary concrete particulars. They are best viewed as trope-sequences, in which one condition gives way to another. They are changes in which tropes replace one another.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 3)
     A reaction: If nothing exists except bundles of tropes, it is worth asking WHY one trope would replace another. Some tropes are active (i.e. they are best described as 'powers').
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
Two red cloths are separate instances of redness, because you can dye one of them blue
     Full Idea: If we have two cloths of the very same shade of redness, we can show there are two cloths by burning one and leaving the other unaffected; we show there are two cases of redness in the same way: dye one blue, leaving the other unaffected.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 1)
     A reaction: This has to be one of the basic facts of the problem accepted by everyone. If you dye half of one of the pieces, was the original red therefore one instance or two? Has it become two? How many red tropes are there in a red cloth?
Red could only recur in a variety of objects if it was many, which makes them particulars
     Full Idea: If there are a varied group of red objects, the only element that recurs is the colour. But it must be the colour as a particular (a 'trope') that is involved in the recurrence, for only particulars can be many in the way required for recurrence.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 1)
     A reaction: This claim seems to depend on the presupposition that rednesses are countable things, but it is tricky trying to count the number of blue tropes in the sky.
Tropes solve the Companionship Difficulty, since the resemblance is only between abstract particulars
     Full Idea: The 'companionship difficulty' cannot arise if the members of the resemblance class are tropes rather than whole concrete particulars. The instances of having a heart, as abstract particulars, are quite different from instances of having a kidney.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 6)
     A reaction: The companionship difficulty seems worst if you base your account of properties just on being members of a class. Any talk of resemblance eventually has to talk about 'respects' of resemblance. Is a trope a respect? Is a mode an object?
Tropes solve the Imperfect Community problem, as they can only resemble in one respect
     Full Idea: The 'problem of imperfect community' cannot arise where our resemblance sets are sets of tropes. Tropes, by their very nature and mode of differentiation can only resemble in one respect.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 6)
     A reaction: You arrive at very different accounts of what resemblance means according to how you express the problem verbally. We can only find a solution through thinking which transcends language. Heresy!
Trope theory makes space central to reality, as tropes must have a shape and size
     Full Idea: The metaphysics of abstract particulars gives a central place to space, or space-time, as the frame of the world. ...Tropes are, of their essence, regional, which carries with it the essential presence of shape and size in any trope occurrence.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 7)
     A reaction: Trope theory has a problem with Aristotle's example (Idea 557) of what happens when white is mixed with white. Do two tropes become one trope if you paint on a second coat of white? How can particulars merge? How can abstractions merge?
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
Nominalism has the problem that without humans nothing would resemble anything else
     Full Idea: The objection to nominalism is its consequence that if there were no human race (or other living things), nothing would be like anything else.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 6)
     A reaction: Anti-realists will be unflustered by this difficulty. Personally it strikes me as obvious that some aspects of resemblance are part of reality which we did not contribute. This I take to be a contingent fact, founded on the existence of natural kinds.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Tropes are basic particulars, so concrete particulars are collections of co-located tropes
     Full Idea: If tropes are basic particulars, then concrete particulars count as dependent realities. They are collections of co-located tropes, depending on these tropes as a fleet does upon its component ships.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 2)
     A reaction: If I sail my yacht through a fleet, do I become part of it? Presumably trope theory could avoid a bundle view of objects. A bare substratum could be a magnet which attracts tropes.
Bundles must be unique, so the Identity of Indiscernibles is a necessity - which it isn't!
     Full Idea: Each individual is distinct from each other individual, so the bundle account of objects requires each bundle to be different from every other bundle. So the Identity of Indiscernibles must be a necessary truth, which, unfortunately, it is not.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 5)
     A reaction: Clearly the Identity of Indiscernibles is not a necessary truth (consider just two identical spheres). Location and time must enter into it. Could we not add a further individuation requirement to the necessary existence of a bundle? (Quinton)
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 7. Indiscernible Objects
Two pure spheres in non-absolute space are identical but indiscernible
     Full Idea: The Identity of Indiscernibles is not a necessary truth. It fails in possible worlds where there are two identical spheres in a non-absolute space, or worlds without beginning or end where events are exactly cyclically repeated.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 5)
     A reaction: The principle was always very suspect, and these seem nice counterexamples. As so often, epistemology and ontology had become muddled.
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 3. Abstracta by Ignoring
Abstractions come before the mind by concentrating on a part of what is presented
     Full Idea: An item is abstract if it is got before the mind by an act of abstraction, that is, by concentrating attention on some, but not all, of what is presented.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 1)
     A reaction: I think this point is incredibly important. Pure Fregean semantics tries to leave out the psychological component, and yet all the problems in semantics concern various sorts of abstraction. Imagination is the focus of the whole operation.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
Causal conditions are particular abstract instances of properties, which makes them tropes
     Full Idea: The conditions in causal statements are usually particular cases of properties. A collapse results from the weakness of this cable (not any other). This is specific to a time and place; it is an abstract particular. It is, in short, a trope.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 3)
     A reaction: The fan of universals could counter this by saying that the collapse results from this unique combination of universals. Resemblance nominalist can equally build an account on the coincidence of certain types of concrete particulars.
Davidson can't explain causation entirely by events, because conditions are also involved
     Full Idea: Not all singular causal statements are of Davidson's event-event type. Many involve conditions, so there are condition-event (weakness/collapse), event-condition (explosion/movement), and condition-condition (hot/warming) causal connections.
     From: Keith Campbell (The Metaphysic of Abstract Particulars [1981], 3)
     A reaction: Fans of Davidson need to reduce conditions to events. The problem of individuation keeps raising its head. Davidson makes it depend on description. Kim looks good, because events, and presumably conditions, reduce to something small and precise.