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How to Rule Out Disjunctive Properties



Are there disjunctive properties? This question is important for at least two reasons. First, disjunctive properties are invoked in defense of certain philosophical theories, especially in the philosophy of mind. Second, the question raises the prior issue of what counts as a genuine property, a central concern in the metaphysics of properties. I argue here, on the basis of general considerations in the metaphysics of properties, that there are no disjunctive properties. Specifically, I argue that genuine properties must guarantee similarity-in-a-respect among their instances, and must inhere in their bearers (two notions to be clarified). Disjunctive properties would fail both requirements. I compare the case of disjunctive properties with “mere Cambridge properties,” determinable properties, and functional properties, and show how my conception of properties remains compatible with determinables and functional properties while ruling out disjunctive and mere Cambridge properties.