Property is Nothing

Can’t a property that is identified through a thing also be identified through any other thing? How can a property like divisibility that is identified through a thing also be identified through the others, if everything changes? Does everything change? Is a property nothing?

properties are not “things”, but they are also not “nothing”, either.

i think theyre things - what are properties if theyre not things? is a property not equal to itself? or do you not think abstractions are things? probably semantics, i guess …

well, i consider abstractions such as universals or properties to be human concepts, ideas, mental content generated by cognitive functioning and ordering processes. its not to say that properties/universals are not “real”, they are real in the sense that the exist as human evaluations and categorizations of objects of our perceptions/thoughts.

pretty much everything we would call a ‘property’ is a subjectively created mental construct within our minds; as i said, its not to say they arent “real”-- and it is also not to say that they are not somewhat dependent upon existence itself-- but they are just not “out there” “objectively” in the same manner as say the sun or a galaxy or a photon is.

is the thought you have of a unicorn right now, the mental image generated by your mind, a “thing”? is it “real”? sure, it just depends on how you want to define “thing” and “real”: its a real mental image of an imagined thing… it just doesnt exist outside your mind. so the most you could say of such “things” (thoughts/ideas-- i lump properties/universals in here as well) is that they are subjective things subjectively real.

now you could make the case that some properties do have independent or objective existence; its pretty hard to argue that certain properties DONT have these (such as extension or velocity). im not going to make that argument, or refute it, but i will just say that such things as extension or velocity could be seen as not really properties per se, in that they arent “attaching” to “something” because they are inseparable from the thing itself (to attach implies a fundamental separateness or difference between the attacher and the attachee); it makes no more sense to say that extension or velocity or mass are properties of a “thing” than it does to say that a car is a property of the atoms which compose and generate its material structure… but like i said thats really a whole different direction. one that tends to get pretty murky too, if i remember such previous discussions relating to universal/particular or property/thing on ILP…

no major disputes with any of this, except to say that we can use concepts / abstractions in ways that make them real in a practical and therefore objective sense, even if they have their origins in what would traditionally be called the subjective. I don’t see any problem with reifying subjective things into objects as long as we make the essential practical distinction between that which exists only conceptually (unicorns, oases) and that which is an element of empirically verifiable experience (horses, solid trees, the properties of each).

Ultimately, all experience is subjective, and so collective subjectivity is the closest we can ever come to objectivity. If everyone in the world agreed that unicorns where “real”, then for practical purposes they would be, because they would be having very real effects on the behavior and lives of people - even though they exist not as solid objects, but merely as conceptual chimeras. We consider spheres to be “real” after all, even though they are purely conceptual objects (they play an essential role in our realities).

tho the property of “being a car” could be a property of the atoms which compose it in that particular instance (or the property of “being part of a car” in the case of subsets of the atoms which compose it)- so we might be able to say that thinghood is a property of mass, extension and/or velocity (as opposed to the other way around, which, as you point out, makes little sense) - but then what are mass, extension and velocity if not properties? - so yeah, i can see that getting pretty murky …

The main focus of the question is:

How can a property like divisibility that is identified through a thing also be identified through the others, if everything changes?

divisibility is not a property.

of course it is … the having of a certain potential is a property

Properties are identified conceptually and associated with things. They are dependent on the things they are associated with, so if the thing changes the property may change locally but how the property is identified remains the same.
A property such as ‘divisibility’ is identified conceptually before it is associated with things. I don’t know how it would happen, but if something were to change to become indivisible, it would not change the concept of ‘divisibility’.

No, only nothing and people that disagree with me are nothing. :wink: (kidding of course)
And if I’m so far off course that this reply doesn’t make any sense, then rephrase it a bit and I’ll take another stab at it. :slight_smile:

divisibility is a concept, with the meaning “able to be divided”. its a human categorization, a label, a way of saying “that thing has parts that can be separated out from each other”.

this is not a property in the traditional sense. it does not “attach” to something, it is a part of a thing by definition. saying “bachelor” is a property of “unmarried men” is false in the exact same way: to be a “thing” is to be divisible, by definition (i.e. to possess the potential for having properties requires A) to exist, B) to have more than one ‘part’ in order that the property may be distinguishable from the thing itself)— if a “thing” has only one “part” of itself, it can have no properties other than identity (which is technically not a property)… so to be a thing capable of having a property at all, by definition, that thing must be divisible; hence, divisibility is a part of the definition of what a thing is, necessarily, and therefore cannot be considered a property of that thing.

this is of course speaking in the traditional meaning of ‘property’; as i contend, properties are human conceptual creations, psychological categorizations that we invent linguistically (symbolically) by a process of abstraction and extrapolation… but in either case, whether you believe that properties are human fictions of language/perception errors, or you believe that properties are intrinsically real “in reality”, i.e. have their own existence “out there”, is irrelevant: either way, divisibility cannot be considered a property.

i think i disagree - but it’s probably not worth arguing at any length - i would just say you’re probably right with regard to the classical sense of what a philosophical property is - but it’s mainly a question of definition - for instance, i would call “thinghood” a property of anything, even though that is also true by definition - being a car is a property of a car - so it’s probably a question of whether one considers having of properties to be a property in itself - i would, for semantic purposes, since all properties are equally arbitrarily determined by human language, until a thing basically is a sum of its properties - that’s simply is identity - so identity is as much determined by properties as properties are determined by identity, which would make the having of an identity just another property of an identified thing - but it’s not a philosophically problematic difference either way - it’s more just a question of how we speak about things.

Here is another illustration through video.
You may enjoy it.

Title of the video: Invariant Properties and Questions