Instances of Instantiation: Distinguishing between Subjective and Objective Properties
This thesis explores the prospects of a distinction between subjective and objective properties in terms of how they are instantiated. While there are many ways in which the subjective can be separated from the objective, the one that interests me here is the difference between properties instantiated subjectively and properties instantiated objectively. The idea is that in some cases what makes it so that object o has the property p is what a thinking subject thinks of it or how she reacts to it, while in other cases what makes it so that o has p has nothing to do with what the subject thinks or does. In the first kind of case, the instantiation of the property is mind-dependent, or subjective, and in the second kind of case the instantiation is mind-independent, or objective. I examine ways to draw a distinction between subjective and objective properties in this sense and defend the possibility of such a distinction against conceivable threats. I then go on to arguing that instead of sorting properties into two groups, subjective and objective, it is more fruitful to think of them as on a continuum ranging from entirely subjective to entirely objective. While there may be cases of properties that are entirely objective, i.e. instantiated only objectively, finding entirely subjective properties if more difficult. Candidates for subjective properties do not seem to be exclusively subjective; i.e. they are instantiated objectively to some extent. I use color as a paradigm case to argue for my account of properties whose instantiation is partly objective and partly subjective. I then go on to arguing that all sensory properties should be treated as color in this respect.
dissertation or thesis