In his Ontology book, Mario Bunge defines a 'bare individual' as a real thing stripped of all its properties but endowed with the capacity of associating. Then he interprets the totality of bare individuals as a semigroup with a pairwise association. The multiplication table of this operation clearly distinguishes between different bare elements, they are 'named' with numbers. But if a bare element has no properties, how could it be distinguished from another bare element? It seems like a contradiction to me. What am I missing?

  • In Ontology something 'real' does not have properties, which are considered 'adjectival'. Without any properties what this group would share is participation in essential nature, what H F Hallett terms 'communitas'. – user37981 Aug 21 '20 at 3:40
  • It can be distinguished by labeling it with a number. The same way "particles" are distinguished in a statistical model. A real thing stripped of all its properties is just an abstraction. There is no need to "actually" distinguish such things because they are no real things, they are abstractions for the purposes of modeling. – Conifold Aug 21 '20 at 3:42

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