I have confronted a philosophical problem related to the definition of the "property of an object."

What I believe is:

The capability of an object (the capability to desire) is the property of an object. However, the action that stems from such capability, or the action itself (the action of desiring) cannot be the property of an object.

For instance, let's look at the example of a quail:

The ability to fly is the property of a quail.

However, the action of flying cannot be the property of a quail.

Can the action of an object be the property of an object? Consequently, can the action of an object be the property of a certain state of an object? Or is the action the state of an object itself?

  • 1
    Those are pretty rare objects that can desire and act. Are you talking about agents or something similar? And while being capable of acting in some way can be a property the action itself is not, see SEP Properties. – Conifold Mar 27 at 3:47
  • Welcome to SE Philosophy! Thanks for your contribution. Please take a quick moment to take the tour or find help. You can perform searches here or seek additional clarification at the meta site. – J D Mar 28 at 11:11

What you're talking about, I think, is the distinction between a categorical property and an instantiation of that property. The category 'quail' has the property 'can fly,' because flying is something that all quail can do. But the quality 'is flying' is something that refers to a specific moment in time for a specific member of the category, and may be true of false.

In bullet points:

  • The proposition "Quails can fly" is always true, because 'can fly' is a property of the category 'quail'
  • The proposition "A quail is flying" may be true or false, depending on context

Keep your mental eye on the distinction between categorical universals and the idiosyncratic dispositions of individual members of a category. "All men are mortal" means that (as a universal principle) all men die; it does not say anything at all about whether you and I (idiosyncratically) are dead.

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