Abstract

One can distinguish two basic competing theories of determinables that address Mellor’s Question, implicitly if not explicitly. On the second-order theory, determinables are second-order properties of determinate properties; on the second-level theory, determinables are first-order properties of the particulars with these determinate properties. Given that ontological parsimony is vital to metaphysics, it is of utmost importance which of the two theories is true. Firstly, the paper argues that the second-level theory offers the best explanation of the explananda (though the race is close), including the important but neglected phenomenon of “intermediate determinables.” Secondly, by paying attention to intermediate determinables and instantiation of higher-order properties, the paper claims that the second-level theory is also more ontologically economical. For these two reasons, this theory is preferable.

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