So I've got myself into a tangle with properties. I have quite a strong intuition about something, but a few have told me it's wrong. I'm hoping that either (i) my view is less controversial than they have made it out to be or (ii) it can be modified into something that isn't so controversial. Suppose you notice Craig's eye colour and say:
- Craig is green
This would be intuitively false, because only a bit of Craig is green: his eyes. So perhaps:
- Craig's eyes are green
This seems much better, but still, consider that, zooming in, the white of his eyes isn't green, and his pupil isn't either. So:
- Craig's irises are green
Again better still. But zooming in, Craig's irises display variations of colour; green 19 and green 14 and green N...etc. So we zoom in:
- The upper left quadrant of Craig's iris is green22 (and so on.)
My point is that we should keep doing this until we cease to discover property variations. Only then can we predicate a determinate shade of green, green22. So we'd say that pigment with structure xyz is green22. If we were to go any further, the property would disappear.
This seems eminently obvious to me. Of course we can talk about Craig's eyes as green, but this is strictly shorthand and unaturalistic, arising because we have a concept of green which we can attribute (my concept of green differs, since I'm colour blind).
tl;dr: I have a strong intuition that it's technically incorrect to speak of an apple as being red since only the apple skin is red and the inside might be white. For an object O with parts p,q&r, how can a (natural/reductivist) property P apply to O unless it applies it applies to all p,q,r? If it applies to only q, why not just say it's a property of q? p&r might not even be the sorts of things to which P can be applied.
Some stuff which I don't know much about but which might help:
- Lewis on naturalistic properties?
- Intrinsic vs extrinsic properties?
- Rives' paper on 'genuine' properties?