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Bare Particulars and Acquaintance: A Reply to Mr. Trentman

  • Kenneth Barber (a1)

Consider two red disks having the same non-relational properties. That they are two and not one, it is claimed by some philosophers, can only be accounted for by claiming that each disk contains an individuator, i.e., a bare particular, which is merely numerically different from the particular in the other disk. While sucli a claim is clearly dialectical, one need not rest the case for bare particulars solely on the dialectical argument. One can, by giving an accurate phenomenological description of the situation containing the two red disks, also attempt to show that one is in fact acquainted with such entities. This latter possibility, however, has recently been challenged by Trentman on the grounds that one cannot give such a description without presupposing the existence of bare particulars.

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1 See, for example, Bergmann Gustav, ”Synthetic A Priori”, Logic and Reality (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1964, 272301, and also, Allaire Edwin B., ”Bare Particulars”, Philosophical Studies, 14, 1963, 18, reprinted in Allaire Edwin B., et al. Essays in Ontology (Iowa City, 1963), 1421.

2 Trentman John, ”Recognition, Naming and Bare Particulars”, Dialogue, Vol. V (1966) No. 1, 1930.

3 ”Bare Particulars”, p. 19.

4 ”Bare Particulars”, p. 19.

5 If this isn't entirely clear from the passage quoted, see in addition Allaire Edwin B., ”Discussion: Ontology and Acquaintance: A Reply to Clatter-baugh”, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4 (1965), 277280. The central issue, of course, is structural and not textual; one need only show that the position can be so stated as to avoid Trentman's objections.

6 Trentman, pp. 22-24.

7 See “Bare Particulars”, p. 21, and “A Reply to Clatterbaugh”, p. 279.

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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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